Dr. Elaine Papandrea LeBlanc O. P. (Lanie) and Mr. J. Scott Farris O.P. (Scott) are permanently promised members of the Lay Dominicans of the Holy Cross (LDHC) in Atlanta, Georgia and thus part of the Southern Dominican Lay Province, U.S.A. Although there were several informal attempts to begin a Dominican Laity group in Atlanta, Lanie is credited as the founder of the formal group which became officially affiliated with the Southern Dominican Province in 1995. She was its first moderator/local president and held that office with special permission for ten years, from 1995 through 2005. At the time of its inception, there was no formal formation program in the lay province or local Dominican mentor to assist in formation of the new group so Lanie researched, designed, and implemented a program for Inquiry and Candidacy. Scott joined the group in 1999 and immediately became active in the development of the group and its continual formation. Scott was elected as local moderator/president in 2005 and continued to guide the group through two terms of office as dictated by the Rule.
In addition to their instrumental roles at the local level, both Lanie and Scott became active at the Provincial level beginning with the Lay Provincial Council (LPC) meeting held in January of 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana. At that meeting, Lanie was elected as the Lay Provincial Secretary, an office that she held through 2008. Her personal family situation dictated an out of the province relocation at that time. She applied for and was granted permission to remain connected to her local group and to the Southern Dominican Lay Province since there were no active Dominican Laity groups where she lived. Lanie was appointed as the Provincial Promoter for Lay Formation in 2009. Scott was appointed to the position of Provincial Promoter for Peace and Justice, Care of Creation at the 2002 LPC meeting, a position he continues to hold. At the 2008 LPC meeting, Scott was elected as the Provincial Vice-Moderator/Vice-President for the lay province and served in that capacity until 2011.
For over a dozen years, Scott and Lanie have worked supportively and collaboratively to live their personal vocations as members of the Dominican Laity in addition to helping others discern their personal suitability for joining the Dominican Family. The formation of Inquirers and Candidates as well as the on-going formation for those temporarily or permanently promised has been and will remain a serious commitment and a critical component of their lives. Lanie’s God-graced abilities as a professional educator and published writer are complemented by Scott’s God-graced abilities as a communicator par excellence and technology savvy innovator. Together they have researched, designed, implemented, field-tested, revised, and produced Why Dominican? Discerning a Vocation within the Dominican Laity.
We would like to acknowledge Dr. Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr., Lanie’s husband. His patience and objectivity prevented many a wrong step as this project unfolded. His expertise as an educator, administrator, author, and computer scientist provided expert advice at several decision-making junctures.
There are many people in the Dominican Family who have graced us with their kindnesses and insights through informal conversations in person, by telephone, and via e-mail correspondence. They range from those Dominicans well-known world-wide to those known only within their small Dominican Community. Their positive lifestyles demonstrated the kind of role models Dominicans ought to become, sooner rather than later. They fueled this project by living the Dominican mottos and traditions they hold so dear.
These materials are offered for use after much prayer. They are also offered with the sincere hope that anyone who imparts on this journey of discernment will be encouraged to live joyfully by those who support their efforts and strengthened to live the Dominican life authentically as a consequence of overcoming obstacles that they may find along the way. May the Lord continue to send abundant blessings to us all!