When in September 2011 I received the document through which the Master of the Dominican Order established “The Center of Institutional Studies for the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Convent of St Dominic, Macau in China” I realized that we were writing history. Something extraordinary was there: A Dominican Center of Studies [Studium Generale] in Macau! A dream many of our former missionaries would have longed to hear. We are privileged to witness it and hopefully appreciate its implications.
What is a Center of Studies? A Center of Studies is basically a community of learning and formation. These kinds of Centers enjoy their own personality, and great importance is attached to them in the Dominican tradition. To the point that our legislation states that “each Province shall have its own Center of institutional studies.” (LCO 233 §I)
We, the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary are not an exception: we have always had one; furthermore, even more than one at a given time in history, in different parts of the world, depending on where our House of Studies was. The latest was in Madrid, San Pedro Mártir, which for 50 years fulfilled a splendid mission in the formation of this present generation of missionaries. But today the situation has changed and our provincial Student is here in Macau. And since new situations require new solutions, our Center of Institutional Studies is here in Macau, too.
What is the specific significance of this Centre for our Province? It is a great one for us Dominicans and for the Church:
- In the first place, it addresses our academic needs at this moment in history, bound as we are to provide our numerous students with the required philosophical-theological formation in accordance with the Dominican tradition.
- In the second place, this Centre is called to become a reference point for the Province in this part of the world in fulfilling the important tasks of promoting scientific learning and of keeping us in touch with other academic institutions and with the university world of the region. And
- Finally, this Center has also for us a practical significance, as an internal coordinating platform for the studies of those students of ours who are taking their institutional courses in other nearby places, as well as an important aid in facilitating transcript of records, accreditation of studies, needed documents for visa purposes, etc. The establishment of this Centre is a much-needed institution and quite timely at this point in history.
In closing, I just simply say that if the establishment of this St Dominic Center of Studies is history, our current presence here is history, too.
May our Brother St Thomas Aquinas, known for his holiness and learning, help us to grow in wisdom by his teaching and in holiness by imitating his faith. Amen.
Fr Javier González, OP