The first nuns of the Order of Preachers were a group of women converts from Albigensianism whom St Dominic gathered in a monastery at Prouille, near Toulouse, in 1207. They formed the nucleus of the Dominican Order of which they are an integral part, sharing - then as now - the call to all Dominicans to bring God to the world and the world to God in various ways by the contemplation and preaching of divine truth.
A post-Reformation English community was founded in 1659 in Belgium - because of the penal laws. In 1794, the nuns came to England as refugees from the French Revolution, moving in 1866 to a purpose-built monastery on the Isle of Wight.
Like all nuns, the work of their lives is prayer: liturgical prayer, as when they meet in chapel for their central act of worship, the community Mass, or to sing the various 'Hours' of the Prayer of the Church that punctuate the day; but above all that inward personal 'prayer of the heart' that goes on wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
Sadly the Isle of Wight monastery had to close in 1990 but those interested in the Dominican way of life can contact:
The English Dominican Nuns
93 Elstree Road
Or write to Sister Mary John Ronayne O.P. who now lives at their monastery in Lisbon, Portugal - as follows:
Sister Mary John Ronayne O.P.
Mosteiro De Santa Maria
Quinta Do Frade (A.P.R.R.D. Filipa)