"Seeking truth within an unfolding and living tradition flourishes when minds and hearts are free to dialogue, willing to risk certainty and give questions a full explanation."
---Ruth Poochigian, ed., Meeting the Charism Again /For the First Time, Dominican Values, "Building Community"
For Dominicans the purpose of study is to assist one's neighbor. Dominicans readily incorporated what we now consider the new technique of "experiential learning" into their study. We can see this in the work of St. Albert the Great (1206-1280), who built the foundations of scholastic philosophy and systematic theology as well as writing more than 30 volumes on the natural sciences. In the 16th and 17th centuries, St. Martin de Porres used his apprenticeship as a barber-surgeon and his research with medicinal herbs to assist impoverished and sick people in Lima, Peru.
Study may impact one person, a local community, or the global community. Study is always undertaken with a sense of living the gospel through service to others. Dominicans today serve as lawyers, nurses, doctors, administrators, educators, biologists, and writers, as well as preachers and liturgists. They run ecological farms, paint, consult with U.N. representatives, invest, and design chapels. Work and the study that grounds it are undertaken with a desire to assist others.