Today is the feast of St. Dominic. That’s a pretty huge deal around these parts, as I am going to be received this evening as a Lay Dominican Novice. My husband and children are coming with me for support. They like St. Dominic, but let’s see how much they love him when they’re in a room full of black and white wearing 3OP lifers! I am supposed to be called up, with my new name, just after mass at 5PM, or maybe just after evening prayers. Regardless, your job is to pray for me. Pray for what? That I don’t trip or that I don’t drop pasta sauce on my black and white cardigan – those are good prayers for me today. I will be on retreat the rest of the weekend. Given this is such an important “saint aligned” day for me, I thought we’d review some of the fablastic Dominican Saints. Seven of them, of course.
St. Agnes of Montepulciano: Born, in 1268, St. Agnes was born to a wealthy family and by the time she was 6, was already after her parents to allow her to enter the convent. Talk about knowing your path! St. Agnes begged to move to Montepulciano to at least be near the convent. Her father didn’t move the family, but allowed her to visit any convent she wished. She entered the monastery at age 9 and at age 13 was asked by Pope Nicholas IV to found a monastery at Proceno. She was then made it’s prioress at 15 years of age. Sounds like a prodigy to me! She also established the convent of Dominican nuns in Montepulciano and stayed until her death in 1317. Her feast day is April 20th. This saint was canonized (that means made a saint) in 1726. And if that doesn’t make you want to know more about this saint, take this from SQPN’s website:
- As a child, while walking through a field, she was attacked by a large murder of crows; she announced that they were devils, trying to keep her away from the land; years later, it was the site of her convent.
- She was known to levitate up to two feet in the air while praying.
- Where she knelt to pray, violets, lilies and roses would suddenly bloom.
- While being treated for her terminal illness, she brought a drowned child back from the dead.
- At the site of her treatment, a spring welled up that did not help her health, but healed many other people.
St. Agnes of Montepulciano, pray for us. Read more about her here.
St. Rose of Lima: I cry when I read about this saint. Really. She’s that intense. St. Rose of Lima was born in 1586. Her real name was Isabel (a name I adore and often use) but she was so beautiful that she was called Rose and that name remained. Her parents were poor and she was obedient in all, except when they wanted her to marry. She knew she belonged to Jesus. She suffered spiritual dryness (when you feel you are alone and God isn’t listening), but loved and prayed anyway. She wanted to be a cloistered nun, but felt that God was calling her to join the Third Order and live at home, like St. Catherine of Siena (yowzers!) and so she made her promises when she was 20. The Nashville Dominican website notes:
It was at this time that perhaps the most spectacular of Rose’s miracles occurred when Dutch pirates invaded Lima’s harbor and defeated the Peruvian fleet. Due to the Reformation, they intended not only to loot the city but also to desecrate the churches. The women, children and religious of Lima took refuge in the churches. In the church of Santo Domingo, Rose stirred them all to prayer. It is said that as pirates burst into the church, they were confronted with the terrifying spectacle of a young girl ablaze with light, holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. They turned away and fled to their ships, which sailed away.
St. Rose of Lima is the patron saint of Latin America and the Philippines, against vanity, for florists, gardeners and embroiderers. She died on August 24th, 1617 – her feast day is August 22. And that crown of roses on her head? She would be sure the thorns were placed so she could feel them, just like Jesus’ crown of thorns. What a beautiful saint.
St. Rose of Lima, pray for us. Read more about her, here.
St. Louis de Montfort: Born in 1673, St. Louis de Montfort he is known for his love of Mary and that “little” thing Tiffany and I do each year, Marian consecration where you renew your baptismal vows over the course of 33 days with Mary close at hand. He preached the rosary and Marian devotion everywhere he went. Founder of the Sisters of Divine Wisdom and a missionary group, the Company of Mary. This sincere love and devotion to the Blessed Mother makes him a very special saint as the way we pray the rosary today is based on how St. Louis de Montfort preached it. Even in the Letter for the 50th Anniversary of St. Louis de Montfort’s canonization, Pope Saint John Paul II writes:
In our times when Marian devotion is quite alive but not always sufficiently enlightened, it would be good to recapture Fr de Montfort’s fervour and his correct tone, in order to give the Virgin her rightful place and to learn how to pray to her: “Mother of mercy, grant me the favour of obtaining the true Wisdom of God, and so make me one of those whom you love, teach and guide. … Virgin most faithful, make me in everything a committed disciple, imitator, and slave of Jesus, your Son, incarnate Wisdom” (Love of Eternal Wisdom, n. 227).
If you’re interested in making consecreation, I highly recommend Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary, it’s a book that combines the teachings of Pope Saint John Paul II as a way (with St. Louis de Montfort’s method) of consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary. I used this book, this year with Tiffany, making consecration on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. St. Louis de Montfort died in 1716, his cause for being named a Doctor of the Church is now underway.
Depiction of Montfort with Marie Louise Trichet, at the Daughter of the Wisdom congregation, 19th century Louis-Marie de Montfort with Marie-Louise Trichet, in the foundation of the Daughter of the Wisdom congregation
St. Albert the Great: He’s so great, he taught St. Thomas Aquinas – that great. Born in 1206 and is one of the early contributors to Dominican history. When he met fellow German, Jordan of Saxony, while at school in Padua, he decided to join the Order of Preachers (another name for the Dominican Order). Theological writer and Doctor of the Church, his greatest passion was the natural sciences (botany, biology) seeing the connection between faith and reason. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his General Audience on March 24, 2010 stated:
This is one of the great merits of St Albert: with scientific rigour he studied Aristotle’s works, convinced that all that is truly rational is compatible with the faith revealed in the Sacred Scriptures. In other words, St Albert the Great thus contributed to the formation of an autonomous philosophy, distinct from theology and united with it only by the unity of the truth. So it was that in the 13th century a clear distinction came into being between these two branches of knowledge, philosophy and theology, which, in conversing with each other, cooperate harmoniously in the discovery of the authentic vocation of man, thirsting for truth and happiness: and it is above all theology, that St Albert defined as “emotional knowledge”, which points out to human beings their vocation to eternal joy, a joy that flows from full adherence to the truth.
St. Albert the Great died in 1280 at 88 years of age, leaving behind 24 volumes of writings. His feast day is on November 15th.
St. Albert the Great, pray for us. Read more about this Doctor of the Church here.
St. Thomas Aquinas: I am going to quote myself here and say:
St. Thomas Aquinas is probably the bees knees for the Dominican order (aside from St. Dominic himself). Let’s see why?
He chased a prostitute sent to entice him out of his room with a hot poker! He burned a cross into the door and fell to his knees in prayer. So chastity and will power? He’s got a trough-full.
Summa Theologica? This is the guy that wrote it. This work explains the entire Catholic doctrine and teaching. It was even consulted *after the bible* in the Council of Trent.
St. Catherine of Siena: She’s been around for me, before I even knew who she was. See this? This is in the altar of my church. My husband and I were married/convalidated here (the first couple to do so in the new chapel area). This is located on the back wall. It’s Sts. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. This is so important to me, I can’t even tell you. This was here, before I knew I wanted to be a Lay Dominican. I feel like they knew, before I did. You ever wonder if God really hears you, or knows you, deeply? Every time I walk into my church and see this window, I know.
St. Catherine of Siena, born in 1347, and was the youngest of 24 children. This saint was all about communication with and to God. In a vision, at age 6, with Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John; Jesus blessed her, and she consecrated herself to Him. At 15 or so, she joined the Third Order Dominicans. Her family didn’t think it was the best idea, nor did the sisters in the community, but she persevered and joined the Dominicans (cloistered) at 18 living a secluded life. Over the course of three years, she wrote letters of spiritual instruction, and for her followers. taking note of the political affairs of the day. Her popularity increased, because she was honest, holy and faithful – and because she had greatly impressed the Pope. She worked tirelessness for the poor, and for peace between Florence and the Pope of the time.
American Catholic notes:
In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her “children” and was canonized in 1461.
St. Catherine of Siena died in 1380 and her feast day is April 29th. Patron saint of the Diocese I live in, Allentown, people ridiculed for their piety, sick people, against miscarriages and more.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us. To learn more about this amazing saint, head here (it’s a video by Fr. Robert Barron!).
St. Dominic: How could we not make note of this saint! The saint who started it all – today is his feast day and in just a few hours, I will be a Novice! I got more excited the more I wrote this post, so for those of you who have read to the end, thank you, know that with every saint noted, I prayed for you. Again, I will quote myself!
I can’t get enough of the charisms (special gifts) of this order: to seek knowledge and wisdom through studying and preaching. Once it clicked for me that preaching, wasn’t “preaching” (aka bible thumping, brimstone and fire preaching), everything fell into place. It is here, on this platform that I preach – or share my findings and reflections from a perspective of a relatively new Catholic – coming from a life of a faithless vacuum. Not that I was an atheist, but faith was not on my radar, I was. Once I got out of my own way, faith showed up…how I live my daily life. I learn, I study, and I seek answers for myself, but ultimately to share and preach to and for others who are also seeking.
St. Dominic, pray for us. To learn more about this saint, head here.
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