Category Archives: Dominicans

Popes who belonged to religious orders

Pope Gregory XVI made gambling on papal electi...

Pope Gregory XVI, a Benedictine monk, made gambling on papal elections punishable by excommunication.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Roman Pontiff he was listed among a rather small and elite group of men who had their intellectual and spiritual formation in religious life. Bergoglio is a member of the Society of Jesus. But who are the others?

The Benedictine monks have 17
Gregory I, Boniface IV, Adeodatus II, Leo IV, John IX, Leo VII, Stephen IX, Gregory VII, Victor, III, Urban II, Paschal II, Gelasius, II, Celestine V, Clement VI, Urban V, Pius VII, Gregory XVI
The Augustine canons and friars have 6
Honorius II, Innocent II, Lucius II, Adrian IV, Gregory VIII, Eugene IV
The Franciscans friars have 4
Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, Clement XIV
Secular Franciscans have 2
Pius IX, Leo XIII
The Dominicans friars have 4
Innocent V, Benedict XI, Pius V, Benedict XIII
The Cistercian monks have 2
Eugene III, Benedict XII
The Theatine clerks regular have 
Paul IV
The Jesuit clerks regular have 1
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St Dominic’s Monastery: A Life of Faithfulness

Linden-courtyard.jpgSome time ago I mentioned here on Communio the monastery in Linden, Virginia which getting a jim-start on living the monastic life according to the Dominican charism. St Dominic’s Monastery is an exceptional place

Why is St Dominic’s a place to support? There are many reasons, not the least is the fact the nuns are very serious about the monastic life demonstrated by their observance of communal liturgical and personal prayer, their sacrifice of time and generous giving of self, the witness of the full habit, and commitment to the ideals of Saint Dominic and his successors. The nuns follow the path charted by Christ and the saints.

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Benedict Ashley, OP, RIP

Ben Ashley OP.jpgWord received this evening that the venerable theologian and priest, Father Benedict Ashley, OP, 97, died today. Father Benedict was a teacher of mine when I was in St Louis.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Father Benedict was a professed member of the Order of Preachers–Saint Albert the Great Province– for 71 years and a priest. He was educated at the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Aquinas Institute of Theology (River Forest, IL) and the Angelicum.
Father Benedict was the author (or, co-author) of at least 19 books and numerous articles. Among Ashely’s academic interests were healthcare and social ethics and intellectual history. Faith and reason (science) coalesced in the life and work of this Dominican friar. He was a terrific priest and teacher, a man of the Church and person of great humanity.
Ashley was a member of the River Forest School of Thomism and he helped to form the Albertus Magnus Lyceum which was an effort to respond to Pope Leo XIIIs call to re-establish the thought of the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas into the life of the Church. This thought is called Thomism. He was a professor of moral theology at the Aquinas Institute of Theology (St Louis, MO).
Ashley’s Barefoot Journeying ~ An Autobiography of a Begging Friar is available at New Priory Press.
A biographical essay may be read here.
Dominican Father Richard Peddicord edited a collection of essays in honor of Father Ashley, In Medio Ecclesiae (2007), on the occasion of Ashley’s 90th birthday.
May Father Benedict’s memory be eternal.
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Nuns… pray for vocations

Sr Lauren Funk and Sr Mary Dominic Linden Monastery.tifI was reminded earlier today of a need to pray for vocations to the contemplative life. A former colleague of mine recently entered Dominican life as a cloistered nun at Saint Dominic’s Monastery in Linden, VA. It is a traditional monastery of nuns, a very young of women who make a sacrifice to pray for us and the needs of the world. The postulant, Sister Lauren (left) is seen with a veteran nun, Sister Mary Dominic.

Pray for vocations.
As an aside, the Huffington Post had this special article with pictures of those who “thought” they had a vocation. One actually did pursue a vocation as a Benedictine nun at Regina Laudis Abbey (Bethlehem, CT), Mother Dolores Hart.

The work of the Theologian to the Papal Household

The life of the Church is very interesting. Even such obscure things, seemingly that is, like that of the Papal Theologian, piques my wonder and awe at what is expected in our communal pursuit of Truth. And that’s what the Papal Theologian helps us to do: seek the face of God. Perhaps in your seeking Truth, Beauty and Goodness you are genuinely curious about how the Church works and the people behind the work being done?


The Papal Theologian emeritus of the Papal Household, Georges Cardinal Cottier, OP, gave an interview to Jose Antonio Varela Vidal at Zenit (11 July 2012) about Blessed Pope John Paul II, with whom he worked intimately: “…he was a man of hope. When he said: ‘Do not be afraid,’ he certainly said it for the countries occupied by Communism, but he also said it because he saw that there was a certain decadence in the West. I would say he awakened the Church everywhere. Then, his love of life, this was fantastic and he witnessed this love of life in a life profoundly marked by illness, and young people understood him.”

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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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