Henri Dominique Lacordaire, who around the middle of the 19th century restored the Dominican Order in France, wrote: "People will perhaps ask us why we preferred to re-establish an old order rather than found a new one. We answer first, that the grace of being the founder of an order is a very great one, and rarely given by God, and we have not received it. Secondly, if God did give us the power of creating a new order, we are sure that, after much reflection, we would discover nothing more up-to-date, nothing better adapted to our times and their needs, than the Order of St. Dominic."
This is true today as it was in the middle of the 19th century. In our modern world of truly marvellous technological achievement, people are nonetheless apprehensive toward their own inventions, and mental confusion, doubt, and frustration are widespread. People are reaching out for something more than the latest gadget: they are grasping for Truth.
History clearly shows that for eight centuries the Dominicans have been in the front line, propagating and defending Truth. In giving them St. Thomas Aquinas, Divine Providence indicated what is to be expected of them. As heirs to a rich intellectual tradition, we have a passion for the truth that drives beyond the security of received answers; a drive that draws near to the mystery of divine truth which is beyond words.
In giving official status to St. Thomas's teaching, the Church has shown her confidence in the Preachers, and has recognised them as duly qualified to conduct the battle of ideas for the victory of Truth. Like their predecessors, the Dominicans of today are deeply conscious of their mission to be the beggars of wisdom and the teachers of truth. This mission of preaching is extended to the apostolate carried out through the medium of the written word and to the formation of other apostles in the lecture theatre and the classroom. Of all the mendicant Orders that entered the field of university teaching in the 13th century, the Friars Preachers were most justified in doing so by their special purpose, and best qualified by the prominence of study in their way of life.
The Church places great trust in the Order with regard to the completeness, sincerity and purity of its teaching. Several of the greater offices of the Roman Curia, which are charged with the work of sacred teaching, are traditionally entrusted to a Friar Preacher. The Master of the Sacred Palace, who is always a Dominican, is the special theologian of the Holy Father himself, and of his Secretariat of State. His position also makes him the first consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to which pertains the care of faith and morals of the whole Church. The Master, in this regard unique amongst all superior generals, is by his very office a consultor of this same congregation. By these and other signs, the Church demonstrates the trust given to the Order in the field of sacred teaching. The reason for this trust lies in the Church's experience of the unfailing fidelity of the theologians of the Order to the teaching of the Church and to the See of Peter.
Dominicans of the Assumption Province assume the task of sacred teaching by ministering as lecturers and chaplains in schools, seminaries, colleges and universities. A particular emphasis is given to the value of the university chaplaincy apostolate. Academics in the Province have published scholarly books and articles in such areas as philosophy, scripture, patristics, theology, history, bioethics, education and sociology. In Australia, we have also founded Blackfriars Priory School in Adelaide. Established in 1953 for the education of youth, the School’s mission of imparting the waters of wisdom extends from the Early Learning Centre right up to Year 12. The School is under the patronage of St. Albert the Great, the patron saint of scientists.