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Our Lady of the Rosary

As I noted yesterday, I received my Dominican breviaries. I have decided to ease myself in by using “The Dominican Sisters Office Book” and then graduating at some point in the future to the Breviarium S. O. P. (Breviarium juxta Sacri Ordinis Praedicatorum)

Having used the Benedictine (Monastic) Breviary for a long time, transitioning was not difficult for me. In many ways, learning to use any breviary is like learning to ride a bicycle. After one has mastered the basics and the rubrics, then one is ready to ride down the road. When switching bicycles, one merely has to re-examine the bike for its own particular peculiarities and the rest is taken care of.

The Dominican Sisters Office Book is one of a series of short breviaries that were published throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and the United States. Geared towards Dominican teaching and nursing sisters, in particular, the Office Book consists of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as numerous other prayers and devotions (the Ordinary of the Mass, the Most Holy Rosary, litanies in honor of Dominican saints, etc.).

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this breviary is similar to what one would find in the Baronius Press edition. However, there are some variations. For example, the Baronius Press Little Office is divided into three different seasons (Advent, Christmas, and Purification to Advent) and includes full Lauds and Vespers for these season. The Office Book does not go to such great lengths. The editors have only included the proper prayers and antiphons for those particular season.

Another difference is that the Dominican Divine Office is generally longer than what would find in the Baronius Press edition. The reason for this is that the Dominican Order adapted many things from the Praemonstratensians, Benedictines, and monastic communities that were active at the time St. Dominic founded them. One example of this is a series of prayers that are read immediately after Lauds and Vespers.  In the main they ask for the intercession of St. Dominic, the Dominican saints and blesseds, and for Our Lord to grant us peace.

Another difference is to be found at the end of Compline where the final antiphons would be. The Dominicans only recite the Salve Regina and that in a procession.

Also, the distribution of the psalms is different as is the wording of certain hymns. However, I view these as variations on a theme and not strictly as departures from what the original Little Office. After all, it has been adapted by all kinds of congregations for their own specific needs over the centuries beginning with the Carthusians.

One of the best things about the Office Book is that it has a calendar of Dominican saints and blesseds as well as their proper antiphons and prayers which one adds after the proper prayers of Lauds and Vespers. I find that this will be a useful tool for me as I learn about the great heroes and heroines of St. Dominic’s family.

The Dominican Sisters Office Book is an exceedingly rare publication. It appears on ebay from time to time, but it is not generally available and can go for extremely steep prices depending on its condition. I found mine in a dusty box at a former seminary library, but that was more luck than anything else.