For Students: Learn How to Embrace Our Dominican Tradition

St. Agnes Academy
Learn what it is like to embrace the Dominican tradition in a Catholic school today! Read more for a look into the St. Agnes culture. Find out
First things first, when thinking about the Dominican tradition, confirm you are thinking of the correct Dominicans. Concerning a catholic person or institution, it is most likely the Dominican Order and not the country in the Caribbean. Now that we are all on the same page, we can learn more about the history and vibe of Catholic Dominicans.

The Dominican Order, founded by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216, is best known for its commitment to holistic education and the pursuit of truth (Veritas). The global Dominican family of religious women, men, and laity are called to be preachers, spreading the Gospel through words and actions and living by the four pillars of Dominican life: study, prayer, community, and preaching.

If considering attending a Dominican Catholic school, keep reading to understand how our students embrace the Dominican tradition.

Embracing the Dominican Tradition at St. Agnes

The four pillars of Dominican life are the foundation of our spirituality and charism at St. Agnes. See how the pillars are actively embraced by students daily at our school. 

1. Prayer

At St. Agnes, education and faith should be intertwined to help young students develop a complete understanding of truth (or veritas). St. Agnes students are encouraged to draw their minds toward their faith, incorporate prayer into their daily lives, and assume the responsibility to act on behalf of social justice in light of the Gospel. 

Besides morning prayer and weekly Mass in the chapel, students, faculty, and staff can often celebrate Mass as a community and are given various prayer opportunities to foster and nourish their faith. Each grade level attends a retreat together each year as a community. No surprise here; each retreat focuses on one of the four pillars and allows the class to connect with God and one another.

Because of our Dominican heritage, we also recognize many forms of prayer. Our students individually define and relate to God: some read their Bibles in Spanish or study the Torah after school, others meditate in Peace class, take yoga in the afternoons, or visit the Prayer Garden for moments of solitude. No matter her path, we encourage each student to pause and connect within herself.

2. Study

St. Agnes graduates often say they study with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Teachers are meant to cultivate the discipline of study and the love of learning in each student. The objective is to teach their students not what to think but how to think.

Former Head of School at St. Agnes Academy, Sr. Jane Meyer, O.P., said, "We want our students to be informed and critical in their thinking. Our classrooms are places for open, healthy dialogue. We all know we are in a critically historical time in our country, and our faculty are ready to address issues or tensions that arise. We always come from a position of listening to one another, learning from and with one another, and respecting one another."

Teachers in a Dominican Catholic school are to challenge students to look at all sides of an issue, make decisions based on gospel values, and view study as a lifelong process. Private schools such as St. Agnes seek to challenge young minds, encouraging them to strive for answers at the college preparatory level. Our students understand that their academic futures are essential. Fortunately, St. Agnes offers valuable support and encouragement, allowing our students to reach their full potential. 

3. Community

The friendships formed in the classroom or on the field carry students through their four years and beyond. No explanation is needed when referencing the "sisterhood" a student experiences in an all-girl school.

While no high school is immune to pop culture trends, St. Agnes students form friendships and hold meaningful dialogue based on more solid foundations such as religious or political beliefs. In-class conversations, inspiring all-school assemblies, or even conversations in the hallways promote engagement between our students who may or may not share similar interests.

With few common distractions that may be present in a larger school setting, St. Agnes students encourage each other to do their best in the classroom and on the field or court. Through constructive dialogue, students learn how to communicate with their peers and form meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.

4. Preaching

One of the mottos of the Dominican Sisters of Houston is "to praise, to bless, and to preach." St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach always, and if necessary, use words."

True to our heritage as the order of preachers, at St. Agnes, we preach often and only, if necessary, use words. Preaching at St. Agnes puts living veritas—our truth—before giving lectures.

Our students learn to demonstrate radical hospitality and respect for all people. They advocate for the marginalized, their communities, and their planet. And they continue to do so long after they graduate. Through their lives and throughout their lives, Academy women take action, inspire change, and boldly demonstrate love and compassion.

St. Agnes students regularly participate in some form of service or transformational experience that benefits those in need. The lessons learned and friendships made within these experiences take a lot of work to come by in other school settings. Students are encouraged to reach the highest level of academic achievement, grow in their faith, make lifelong friendships, experience the power of service to others, and become academically and personally prepared for their next steps.

Be a Part of the Dominican Tradition at St. Agnes!

We at St. Agnes believe that following traditional Dominican values can lead to strong personal ethics and a life of joy, honesty, and productive curiosity. We provide our students with transformational experiences so our graduates can enter the world with integrity and a commitment to social justice.

Every St. Agnes student, alumna, and guardian(s) can name the advantages of attending an all-girl school without missing a beat.

St. Agnes students are equipped to become independent thinkers. Pursuing truth, compassion, and social justice encourages our students to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

We create a safe environment for learning so that students are comfortable asking questions, seeking knowledge, and celebrating life in a joyful, optimistic, and productive way. Our diverse student body comprises students from all educational, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

- For non-St. Agnes students: are you convinced? Learn more about our school's Admissions process.

- For current St. Agnes students: need support embracing our school culture or just want to learn more about our school traditions? Reach out to The Wellness Center to receive personal support.