The Genesis of Itinerant Preaching

Friar Brian Guadalupe Walker, OP

St. Dominic de Guzmán

The 13th century saw the movements of the population from feudal (rural) Europe to the birth of large cities.  The many social needs of such times caused the founding of religious orders.

Preaching was in crisis.  Church law at the time allowed only bishops to preach, therefore seldom did people hear the WORD because of the heavy administrative burdens on the episcopacy.  The teachings among the faithful were ladened with doctrinal errors that needed to be refuted.  To address this preaching crisis, Dominic de Guzmán founded the Order of Preachers (OP).  Dominic first founded the nuns to pray for the preachers.  This was followed by the lay brothers to assist the traveling preachers.  Dominican Friars filled the cities and countryside with preachers and teachers.  The chairs of the great universities were filled with friars such as St. Albert the Great (1206-1280), St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and Meister Eckhart (1260-1327).  The Order produced great mystics such as St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), one of three Doctors of the Church.  St. Rose of Lima, (1586-1617) was the first saint of the “new World.”

Today the Dominican family is alive and well world wide.  Men and women of the Order by the hundreds have been declared saints and blesseds.  The preached WORD is the naming of grace in our times.  All of us by baptism are itinerant preachers of the Good News of Jesus Christ.