Category Archives: Dominican saints & blesseds

Saint Dominic

The 8Dominic on the horseth day of August finds us honoring the person of Saint Dominic de Guzman, the Spanish founder of the Order of Preachers of the 13th century. We are at 800 years since the founding of the Order. One of the most intriguing stories of Dominic is his commitment to teaching the truth to a man in need of knowing the Truth. The Church rejoices in this great son whose only desire was to sharing the fruits of his contemplation.

Here in Connecticut there are several Dominican locations: Saint Mary’s Priory & Church (New Haven), Our Lady of Grace Monastery (N. Guilford), the Sisters of Peace (New Haven), Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima (Hartford) and the Vietnamese Dominican Sisters (Hartford). AND the Fraternity of Saint Dominic (the Laity)! May Dominic lead all to Christ.

Benedict XVI tells us:

St Dominic reminds us that prayer, personal contact with God is at the root of the witness to faith which every Christian must bear at home, at work, in social commitments and even in moments of relaxation; only this real relationship with God gives us the strength to live through every event with intensity, especially the moments of greatest anguish. This Saint also reminds us of the importance of physical positions in our prayer. Kneeling, standing before the Lord, fixing our gaze on the Crucifix, silent recollection — these are not of secondary importance but help us to put our whole selves inwardly in touch with God. I would like to recall once again the need, for our spiritual life, to find time everyday for quiet prayer; we must make this time for ourselves, especially during the holidays, to have a little time to talk with God. It will also be a way to help those who are close to us enter into the radiant light of God’s presence which brings the peace and love we all need.

Saint Dominic

St Dominic and the DevilIn case you are wondering, this is “St. Dominic and the Devil” (c. 1630) by Pietro della Vecchia, from the collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In relates one of my favorite stories of St. Dominic (not least because it involves a monkey!): “The story of the Devil’s appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and singed his fingers.” (…/st-dominic-and-devil-pietro…)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Blessed feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas!

Aquinas prayer

Saint Dominic

St Dominic receiving the rosary from BVMOne of the great saints is liturgically recalled today with the feast of Saint Dominic de Guzman. The founder of the Order of Preachers, who ws once a canon and a close collaborator with his bishop cared for the whole person in front of him with great humanity. The spiritual sons and daughters of Dominic carry with them the charism of being loving preachers, merciful confessors and engaging defenders of the Faith.

Tradition tells us that Our Lady gave the rosary to Saint Dominic to promote and to live. In the living of the mysteries of the rosary one lives the Paschal Mystery of Jesus; remaining close to devotion prevents sin and error   and thus maintaining the authentic Christian faith.

Here in CT we have several Dominican works: St Mary’s Priory & Church, Albertus Magnus College and the Springs Learning Center in New Haven; nearby in North Guilford there is Our Lady of Grace Monastery. There is a vibrant Third Dominican group

The photo shows the mosaic panel of St Dominic being presented with the Rosary by Our Lady in the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.

From the Office of Readings for today:

“Wherever [Dominic] went he showed himself in word and deed to be a man of the Gospel. During the ay no one was more community-minded or pleasant toward his brothers and associates. During the night hours no one was more persistent in every kind of vigil and supplication. He seldom spoke unless it was with God, that is, in prayer, or about God, and in this matter he instructed his brothers. Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would deign to grant him a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So, for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident planning, he founded the Order of Friars Preachers.”

Saint Dominic, pray for us.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Today, the Dominican family rightly rejoices in their brother Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor. Thomas is one of Holy Church’s greatest theological minds. One can speak of all the things Aquinas has given us, and we can speak of the need to have Thomism as a way to begin to come to understand Divine Mystery; we’re not there yet. Aquinas would certainly agree: you can know it all but unless you live the Christian faith you really have nothing.

The opening prayer for Mass today speaks of Aquinas’ zeal for holiness as the first premise; understanding and imitating the accomplishments is secondary. The Prayer after Communion speaks of Christ the teacher, Christ the living bread, truth and the need to express all these things in works of charity.

Works of charity are an expression of the Good News given to us by the Lord.

The priest at Mass today reminded us of a fact that I tend to fall into errors that are all-too-common: on the one hand we can say, “I know it all” and on the other hand we can say, “I don’t know enough, I can never measure up.” One attitude is arrogant, keeping the faith as an idea, with very little attention to the heart. The other attitude is simplistic, silly and rooted in a false humility and laziness. Both are straw, grass clippings as Aquinas would state. What both have in common is a the theological virtue of charity. Charity connects us with the Divine Mystery.

Most certainly, Thomas would tell us to know the faith well, but allow the faith to be a point of encounter with the Lord in a contemporary way. No good Catholic would hold to knowing nothing of the content of Divine Revelation. Jesus, indeed, is contemporary with our daily existence.

What Thomas Aquinas has given us is a map by which we come to understand the Divine Mystery through charity. Charity is key to the Dominican charism for the Church and for our daily living of our Catholic faith. No charity, no real belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah. There is no via media here. The point: don’t confuse the map for the road on which to walk.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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