Tag Archives: Fra Angelico

Blessed John of Fiesole –Fra Angelico

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Too many in the world know today’s Dominican blessed for a nickname given to him more than his religious name. The Dominicans celebrate Blessed John of Fiesole, the post modern world would know him as Fra Angelico (1387-1455), people in his time also knew him as Guido. His talent and grace was indeed rare among people. Only in 1982 did the Church with Pope John Paul II recognize John’s holiness.

A prior post gives a very brief history and the liturgical prayer for Blessed John’s feast day here and a 2009 post is here.

Recently, a Dominican friar of the English Province spoke to Vatican Radio saying this of his friar:

“…is to give to others the fruit of our contemplation and painting…first to be communicated and then to be precisely the fruit of contemplation…. because vision is one of the elements of contemplation…traditionally for us heaven will mean the beatific vision…”

Blessed John, Fra Angelico as he’s known, was the angelic friar: “… because of the purity, the holiness of his own life…the subject matter…the extraordinary beauty, purity reflected…”

Father Robert Ombres, OP

Raymond of Penyafort Fellow in Canon Law at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford

Blessed John of Fiesole –Fra Angelico

Fra Angelico2.jpgO Lord, teach me your way that I may walk in your truth; direct my heart that I may fear your name. I will give thanks to you with all my heart, O Lord my God, and I will glorify your name forever.

God of eternal beauty, you inspired Fra Angelico as an artist at the service of your truth. May we delight in the beauty of his work and rejoice in the glory of your creation.

Blessed John of Fiesole, known in history as a Blessed Angelico has captured the Catholic and human imagination generations of people through his magnificent painting of the Mystery of Faith and the life of man and woman. He was born in Tuscany c 1386/7 and died in Rome in 1455 at the Priory of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. He was an artist, superior in the Dominicans, promoter of the regular observance of the Dominican way of life and commission by Pope Eugene IV and Pope Nicholas V to decorate rooms in the Vatican and the Basilica of Saint Peter. He is said to have refused the archbishopric offered to him by Pope Eugene deferring to Saint Antoninus. We pray for artists and those who want to live the Dominican way of life with integrity.

Blessed Fra Angelico

Fra Angelico.jpgKnown in the Dominicans as Brother John from Fiesole (c. 1395-February 18, 1455), we know him best as Fra Angelico.


In declaring Fra Angelico the Patron of Catholic Artists in 1982, Pope John Paul II said: “Angelico was reported to say “He who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always”. This motto earned him the epithet “Blessed Angelico”, because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”


Fra Angelico’s grave stone in the Dominican Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Rome) the epitaph says:


When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles. Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor. The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven. I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.


When in Rome, I pay a visit to the grave of Fra Angelico to pray for the Catholic artists.

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]yahoo.com.
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