Recent Posts

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bl. Diana, Bl. Cecilia, Bl. Amata

Today is an optional memorial for Dominican nuns to remember Bl. Diana d’Andalò and Bl. Cecilia Caesarini. (That doesn’t mean we all can’t remember them!)

The marvelous cloistered nuns were the first branch of our Dominican family! Bl. Diana & Bl. Cecilia is among the earliest and both knew St. Dominic.

Both came from noble families of note: Bl. Diana's family were powerful nobles in Bologna (with her former title of Lady Diana) while Bl. Cecilia came from the ancient Caesarini noble family of Rome.

Bl. Diana was both beautiful and spoiled. Her life changed when she heard Blessed Reginald of Orleans preach. Becoming enamored with the Dominicans, she longed to start a life as a member of the new order but her family was firmly opposed. Meeting St. Dominic when he stopped in Bologna, she obtained his permission to start a community of sisters, with St. Dominic, himself, putting four of the brothers in that local community under obedience to assist the building of her convent. It wasn’t until after the death of St. Dominic that Bl. Diana was able to overcome the forceful resistance of her family not allowing her to enter religious life. Having a great correspondence with Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Monastery of St. Agnes was built and she entered in 1223 and was its first prioress.

Bl. Cecilia was the youngest nun in the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria in Tempulo when St. Dominic was founding the Monastery of St. Sixtus in 1220. The Monastery of St. Sixtus was founded by combining various female communities with Bl. Cecilia’s being among them. She received the Dominican habit from St. Dominic. About 1223, she and some others sisters were sent to Bl. Diana’s new Monastery of St. Agnes. Bl. Cecilia became the new prioress.

From both of these blessed we have a fantastic legacy. Through Bl. Diana’s letters are long lost, she kept all her letters from Bl. Jordan of Saxony, giving us great insights to the early days of the Dominican family as well as both BB Jordan and Diana. Bl. Cecilia left us the only physical description we have of St. Dominic! Both women remained at the Monastery of St. Agnes for the remainder of their earthly lives.

Not to be forgotten is Blessed Amata. She was a nun at St. Sixtus with Bl. Cecilia also receiving the habit from St. Dominic. She was beatified in 1891 with Diana and Cecilia but was not included on the calendar because so little is known of her.

The book, St. Dominic's Family by Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, O.P writes this about her:

Of Sister Amata, we know practically nothing, but that she was a good friend of St. Dominic, which should, after all, be enough to know about anybody. He, according to legend, gave her the name Amata--which means 'beloved'--and very probably he either sent her to the convent in the first place or was the means of her staying there at the time of the drastic reforms, when the nuns left St. Mary's trans Tiber and went to S. Sixtus. There was a Sister Amata from whom St. Dominic is said to have cast out seven devils, but it could hardly have been this one. The facts that he personally named her, and that she is buried with the other two, will have to be her title to honor.

Bl. Cecilia, Bl Diana, Bl. Amata

Let us pray:

Merciful Lord, we welcome in joy the feast of Blessed Diana and Blessed Cecilia. With the help of their prayers may devotion to truth and love for our brothers and sisters fill our hearts and our lives. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Post a Comment