Category Archives: Dominican saints & blesseds

Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and Doctor of the Church

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The love of God has been poured into our hearts, alleluia, by His spirit living in us, alleluia.

God of wisdom, You made Saint Catherine burn with divine love in contemplating the Lord’s passion and in serving Your Church. With the help of her prayers may Your people, united in the mystery of Christ, rejoice forever in the revelation of His glory.

Ordination season is upon us. That is, you’ll may be hearing of or attending episcopal, priestly and diaconal ordination ceremonies. If you get the opportunity please attend an ordination ceremony. In reading Saint Catherine of Siena’s Dialogues, I thought her dialogue “The Qualities of Good Ministers in the Church” (119) as an appropriate reflection for all engaged in seminary formation at one level or another and for those already in service to the Church. Saint Catherine said:

I told you
that [my ministers] have taken on the qualities of the sun. Indeed, they are
suns, for there is in them no darkness of sin or ignorance, because they follow
the teaching of my Truth. Nor are they lukewarm, because they are set ablaze in
the furnace of my charity. They have no use for the world’s honors and ranks
and pleasures. Therefore, they are not afraid to correct. Those who do not
hanker after power or ecclesiastical rank have no fear of losing it. They
reprove [sin] courageously, for those whose conscience does not accuse them of
sin have nothing to fear.

So this pearl [of justice] was not clouded over in
these anointed ones, these christs of mine, of whom I have told you. [St
Catherine here is referring to holy people of the past who showed themselves to
be good ministers, and whose qualities are always needed in the Churcch]. No,
it was luminous. They embraced voluntary poverty and sought after lowliness
with deep humility. This is why they are not annoyed by people’s derision or
abuse or slander, or by the insult or shame or pain or torture. They were
cursed, and they blessed. They endured with true patience, likely angels and
more than angels -not by nature, but because of the sacramental grace given
them from above to be the stewards of the body and blood to my only begotten

How humbly they governed and communicated with their subjects! With what
hope and lively faith! They had no fear or worry that either they or their
subjects would be lacking in temporal goods, so they generously gave out the
Church’s possessions to the poor. Thus they fulfilled to the utmost their
obligation to divide their temporal goods to meet their own needs and those of
the poor and the Church. they set nothing aside, and after their death there
was no great estate to settle; in fact, some of them left the Church in debt
for the sake of the poor–all because of their generous charity and their trust
in my providence. They were strangers to slavish fear, so they were confident
they would lack nothing, either spiritually or temporally.

Because I had
appointed them to such dignity for the salvation of souls, they never rested,
good shepherds that they were, from gathering the little sheep into the
sheepfold of holy Church. In their love and hunger for souls they even laid
down their lives to rescue them from the devils’ hands (cf. Jn 10). They made
themselves weak along with those who were weak. That is, to keep the weak from
being confounded with despair and to give them more room to expose their
weakness, they would slow their own weakness, saying, “I am weak along with
you.” They wept with those who wept and rejoiced with those who rejoiced (cf. 1
Cor. 9:22; Rom 12:15). Thus they knew how to give everyone the right food ever
so tenderly. They encouraged the good by rejoicing in their goodness, for they
were not gnawed up with envy but broad in generosity of their neighbors and
subjects. Those who were sinful they drew out of their sin by showing that they
themselves were also sinful and weak. Their compassion was true and holy, and
while correcting others and imposing penances for the sins they had committed,
they themselves in their charity did penance along with them. Because of their
love, they who were imposing the penance suffered more than those who received
it. And sometimes some of them actually did the same penance themselves,
especially when they saw that it seemed very difficult for the penitent. And by
that act the difficulty became sweet for them.

(Sr. Mary O’Driscoll, OP, Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity, Hyde Park: New City Press, 1993).

Blessed Osanna of Kotor

Thumbnail image for Bl Osanna of Kotor.jpgGod of compassion, enkindle anew in our hearts the
love of your cross. By the life and prayers of Blessed Osanna, who suffered for
the unity of the Church, may we become sharers in both your passion and your

Blessed Osanna (baptized Catherine Kosic) comes from the country of Montenegro, born in the 15th century of Orthodox parents. Her great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were priests, her brother was a monk and later a bishop. Traveling to the coast she encountered a Catholic family and through their witness and others, she converted to Catholicism. As a shepherdess and wishing to follow Christ more closely she found grace in the solitary life; Osanna took the habit of the Third Order Dominican laity and a new name. She was well known for her wisdom, mystical visions and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Her body is incorrupt. Pius XI beatified Osanna in 1934. The Church remembers Blessed Osanna for her desire for unity among Christians and peace among peoples. Therefore asks her to intercede for the Church for these intentions of unity and peace in families.

Saint Agnes of Montepulciano

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Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord. Seek the Lord and you will be strengthened, seek always the face of the Lord.

With the Church, let us pray:

Merciful God, you adorned Agnes, your bride, with a marvelous fervor in prayer. By imitating her example, may we always hold fast to you in spirit and so come to enjoy the abundant fruits of holiness.

Saint Agnes was born in the Italian city of Gracciano in 1268 and entered a monastery at Montepulciano at the age of 9. Who says the young don’t have vocation awareness early in life. By 15 the Holy See allowed Agnes to be a superior of nuns at Viterbo. The laity made strong pleas for Agnes’ return to Montepulciano to be the superior of an Augustinian monastery of nuns; in time Agnes adopted the Constitution written by Saint Dominic thus changing the monastic life from an exclusive Augustinian orientation to a Dominican one. Her work among the laity was to work for civil peace; she was a model of charity. Saint Catherine of Siena called Agnes her “glorious mother.” We pray for the Dominican monastic life and for peace in our cities with Saint Agnes’ help before God.

Blessed Clara Gambacorta

Merciful God, grant us a spirit of prayer and penance.
By following in the footsteps of Blessed Clara may we be worthy to win the
crown she has received in heaven.

Blessed Clara, a 14th century who married at 12 and was widowed at 15, and despite objections from her family became a Dominican nun, living a life of sacrifice teaching that it is possible to serve the Lord in a multiple of ways always focusing on the Cross. She was known for her prudential judgment, study and charity, particularly when it came to forgiving her father and brother’s killer.

Blessed Peter Gonsalez

Almighty God, you bestowed the singular help of
Blessed Peter on those in peril from the sea. By the help of his prayers may
the light of your grace shine forth in all the storms of this life and enable
us to find the harbor of everlasting salvation.

Dominican friar and priest Blessed Peter was Spanish being born at the end of the 12th century. Ordained as a secular priest, Peter asked for the habit of the Friars Preachers and was known for his humility, prayer and service to his neighbor. Sailors call upon Blessed Peter as “Saint Elmo” and is invoked by travelers on difficult seas, especially missionaries traveling by such.

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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