A Perth 23-year-old recently took the first steps to becoming a Dominican priest. Matthew Biddle interviewed Br Reginal Mary for The Record and filed this report.
David Chua took the first major step towards becoming a Dominican priest recently, receiving the Order's habit and taking on the name of Br Reginald Mary.
He joined the Dominicans in Adelaide last year as a novice, and received the habit and religious name on June 27, the feast of the Sacred Heart.
Br Reginald told The Record the knowledge that he is living the daily life of a religious gives him great peace and joy.
'One thing I've found constant joy in is wearing the habit,' he said.
'The black and white of the habit symbolise penance and purity, and are a constant reminder to me that I ought to be striving for holiness through those means.'
His choice of religious name was based on the inspiration of three role models – Blessed Reginald of Orleans, a close friend of St Dominic, Our Lady, and Fr Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, a 20th century Dominican theologian and Thomistic philosopher.
'Fr Reginald Marie's example as an academically-leaning Dominican who subordinated his academic work to contemplation and devotion to Jesus and Mary was especially inspiring for me, because I was interested in an academic career before entering,' Br Reginald said.
Along with two other Australian novices and 11 international novices, Br Reginald is now completing his novitiate at the Dominican province in Hong Kong.
'We all come from very different backgrounds but I already feel a strong sense of brotherhood among us,' Br Reginald said.
The daily life for the novices includes recitation of the Divine Office and the Rosary, Mass, mental prayer, periods of silence, recreation, and several hours of formative classes.
Br Reginald, who was studying for a Master of Philosophy at Sydney University prior to entering, was initially drawn to the Order through the witness of the Dominican priests at the university.
'I attended many Masses celebrated by the fathers and one thing that became clear to me was that these men were very liturgically oriented – they believed that the Eucharist was the summit of Christian life and that Christ was truly present, and they expressed this in their reverence and devotion,' he said.
'But at the end of the day it was the fact that everything in the Dominican life seemed oriented to union with God, especially the habit, the community life and the religious vows.
"I became convinced, and still am, that it would help me strive for sainthood better than any means I can find in the world."
Full story: Dominicans the perfect fit for budding philosopher (The Record)
Image of Br Reginald Mary and his parents supplied to The Record.