Tag Archives: St Dominic

St Dominic

Dominic, Augustine and IgnatiusOn the Novus Ordo liturgical calendar today, we honor Saint Dominic de Guzman (c.1174 – 1221), yet on he died on August 5th and on the Extraordinary Form liturgical calendar the feast is celebrated on August 4th.

Dominic was a pivotal figure in the life of the Church in the 13th century in similar ways that others were, including the Poor Man of Assisi. The inspiration of Dominic set the world ablaze with fire in ways unknown since the time of the 12 Apostles and the early Church bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people, the sacraments, teaching truth and fact and living in a compassionate way among the people. One great example is that the early Dominicans taught about the goodness of creation versus the prevailing idea of the 13th century that taught the opposite causing disturbing results of uncertainty and false notions of God and the beauty of humanity.

Our common conception of Dominic’s genius and work with his band of preachers was that he responsible for the whole thing. History tells us that he was born in the small Castilian village of Caleruega, Spain, a canon and a priest in the service of Bishop Diego. Dominic accompanied Diego on mission for the good of the Pope’s mission for the universal Church. In this experience of mission Dominic saw the need. But, as Friar Simon Tugwell OP notes, “the Order was not simply his personal brainchild and he was not, and never claimed to be, its sole inspiration or even the primary embodiment of its nature and ideals.”

Hence it can be said that Dominic was raised up by Divine Providence so as to bring to birth a new movement within the Church – itinerant mendicant friars – and he accomplished this by engaging with the needs of his time and in collaboration with other people. “It was always with his brethren and with the authorities of the Church that he shaped the nascent Order of Preachers.” By his own self-reflection Dominic called himself “the humble servant of the preaching” and this is first part of the charism of the Order. The group founded by Dominic was known as the “Friars Preachers” and the Church entrusts them with the preaching mission and officially recognized by the Church on 21 January 1217, by Pope Honorius III.

800 years later, Dominic continues to move the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women in love of the Trinity: the Order of Preachers has a part of the family the friars (the first order), the cloistered nuns (the second order), the sisters (the third order), the secular priests’ group and the fraternity (the third order laity) and countless others who have picked up the charism. One old aspect of the Dominican charism that needs to be restored is the group of donati (like the famous St. Martin de Porres was).

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.” (http://www.imamuseum.org/…/st-dominic-and-devil-pietro…)

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 Dominic

In 2016, the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, will observe 800 years of being an approved form of life in the Church. The Dominican family of nuns, friars, sisters, and laity –indeed, the whole Church, can be grateful to God for the genius of Saint Dominic. The image to the left expresses the Dominican charism as given by God through apostolic imitation of Saints Peter and Paul, and below, there is the narrative of the Order being under the mantle of Our Lady. Without these two bookends, the Order of Preachers is nothing. May we all follow this heavenly guidance.

Dominic was wrapt in spirit unto God. And he saw the Lord with the Blessed Virgin standing on His right hand… And looking about him he saw religious of every Order standing before God, but of his own he did not see one. Then he began to weep bitterly… but our Lady beckoned him with her hand to approach. Nevertheless he did not dare to come until our Lord also in His turn had made him a sign to do so. He came therefore and fell prostrate before them, weeping bitterly. And the Lord commanded him to rise and when he was risen, He said to him, “Why weepest thou thus bitterly?” And he answered, “I weep because I see here religious of all Orders except mine own.” And the Lord said to him, “Wouldst thou see thine own?” And he trembling replied, “Yes, Lord.” Then the Lord placed His hand on the shoulder of the Blessed Virgin and said to the blessed Dominic, “I have given thine Order to My Mother.” …Then the Blessed Virgin opened the mantle in which she seemed to be dressed, and extending it before the eyes of Dominic so that its immensity covered all the space of the heavenly country, he saw under its folds a vast multitude…

Augusta Theodosia Drane
The History of St. Dominic, Founder of the Friars Preachers

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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