|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation deals with the Roman Catholic Order founded by Saint Dominic
in 1215. The Order encompasses Friar Preachers, Christian Brothers, Active
Religious Sisters, Contemplative Sisters and the Lay Dominicans.
Saint Dominic was instrumental in defeating heresy in southern France, which had
been brought about by former Christians alienated from the Church and its
teachings. During this period, Saint Dominic and his helpers were threatened and
abused for challenging heresy and for reconverting former heretics to Christianity.
In 1207, Saint Dominic and his helpers met a group of ladies and converted them
back to their former ascetic lives as Catholic nuns. The land and shelter acquired
for them adjacent to the Church of Saint Mary of Prouille was to become the first
established convent for Dominican nuns.
Saint Dominic continued his preaching and teaching as the Dominican Order
developed, the first English Priory being established in Oxford on 15th August
1221. Within a century, fifty Priories had been set up in the United Kingdom alone.
Prior to his death in 1221, Saint Dominic had been instrumental in the
establishment of the Rule and Constitution of the Order, which covered liturgy
and asceticism and dealt with aspects concerning the government of the Order.
The Rule and Constitution of the Order still applies in today. However, the last
three decades have seen the Order facing a crisis with continuing falling numbers
of entrants from the western World. This dissertation examines the possible causes
and effects of such a decline, along with the impact this has had on its present and
future continuation as seen by the Dominicans themselves. The author also
explores a possible solution to relieve the crisis.||