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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saint John Alcober

Today is the feast of one of the Dominican martyrs of China, St. John Alcober.

Born at Gerona, Spain, in 1694. John Alcober was a good friend of Bishop St. Francis Serrano, who was a brother Dominican of the Granada monastery and a fellow martyr in Tonkin. The two had planned to enter the Chinese missions together, but problems with the ship marooned Father Alcober in Lorca. There he spent his time as a popular preacher. In fact, he was beginning to forget about going to China until the Lord reminded him one day. As he was preaching, he used the words, "How long, you sinners, will you remain hardened?" His crucifix reproached him, "And you, John--how long?"

dominican saints of china -Avlila painting
Dominican Saints of China from the Dominican Priory in Avila

He sailed to Manila with 43 religious in 1726, and he finally made it to China in 1728, where he labored for 16 years in the province of Fo-kien. Here his life was very difficult; he had to hide in uncomfortable places, and, once, he was smuggled in a coffin to anoint a dying man. Sometimes disguised as a water seller, he moved about the city. Once, he was far from any shelter,and he climbed into a tree to spend the night. Piously intoning the Miserere before going to sleep, he was startled to hear another voice answering his, and, to his joy, realized his old friend Father Serrano was sitting in the same tree.

One of his last acts as a free man was to baptize a sick woman to whom Our Lady of the Rosary had appeared. The new Christian was so beautiful after her death that pagans crowded in to see her. Father Alcober's presence there led to his capture in 1746. Soon he found himself reunited in prison with Father Serrano and another priest, Francis Diaz. They were tortured to disclose the whereabouts of Bishop Peter Sanz, though the revealed nothing. The bishop and Father Joachim Royo, upon hearing of the capture of the other three, surrendered themselves in order to spare their brothers further suffering.

The five were dragged before the emperor in chains, and again subjected to torture. Bishop Sanz was beheaded, but the others languished in prison for another six months. Father Alcober wrote a letter to his brother, a Carmelite, saying that they were all in good spirits, but that they hoped it would end soon because they were eager to shed their blood. Here in prison, Father Serrano was appointed successor to Peter Martyr.

Late in November, these four was strangled in their cell at Futsheu during the night. This was the best way to fend off their apostolic work among the jailers and soldiers. When the executioners returned in the light of day to dispose of the bodies, they were horrified to note that the faces of the martyrs were not only serene, but shone with an unearthly radiance--a phenomenon indeed for someone who had died by strangulation. Afraid of being punished for not carrying out their duty, the executioners covered the faces of their victims, but the Christians followed them nonetheless to try to collect relics. The soldiers already knew there would be problems trying to dispose of the relics: Those of Bishop Sanz had resisted burning and various other kinds of destruction. For this reason, the persecuted Christians were able to retain the relics of the five martyrs.

He was strangled to death on October 28, 1748 at Fu-tsheu prison in Tonkin. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in AD 1893. He was canonized along with the other martyrs of China by Pope John Paul II in AD 2000.

O God, who didst endow Thy blessed St. John Alcober with constancy and charity to preach the faith to heathen nations, grant us, we beseech Thee, through his example and intercession, to prevevere contantly in Thy faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blessed Bonaventure Tolomei

Today is the memorial of Bl. Bonaventure Tolomei. Even as a child he showed signs of divine favours, but as he grew up he ignored them. He led a wild, dissolute and even sacriligeous life as a young man; for four years he abandoned himself to a life of impurity and sacrilege. He eventually repented and came back to the Church, and did penance for his earlier life by all the important European shrines on foot. He then returned to Siena and joined the Dominicans. He died tending plague victims in Siena; his death in 1348 was of natural causes.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saint Stephen

Then the twelve calling together the multitude of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch. (Acts 6:2-5)

From this part of Acts of the Apostles we are introduced to St. Stephen. He was chosen as one of the original 7 deacons of the Church to work in the ministry of the Apostles.

By his faith, he was also a miracle worker along with being one of the earliest of preachers. It was in the name of his great faith and love that he was dragged outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned to death. He went to his death asking Jesus to forgive his killers.

From the last 2,000 years to infinity, he is one of the great standards for all mankind's witness to the Lord.

The Ordination of St. Stephen
Ordination of St. Stephen by St. Peter

St. Stephen Preaching at Jerusalem
St. Stephen preaching at Jerusalem by Vittore Carpaccio

The Stoning of St. Stephen
The stoning of St. Stephen by Bernado Daddi 1324

Prayer of Saint Stephen Martyr
Loving God, Saint Stephen was one of the first deacons in the Church. The Apostles ordained him with six others because they needed ministers who wouldoversee the needs of the poor and the widowed. His holiness was so evident that when he preached to his enemies, his face glowed brightly like an angel's. I ask him to pray for those who have been called to a life of service as ordained deacons. O Lord, help them to be a sign of Your love in their parishes and in the world where they live and work. Bless them with a vision of their ministry that stirs them to passion and tireless effort. Saint Stephen, pray for us. Amen. - Terry Anne Modica

Blessed Paganus of Lecco

Today the Dominicans remember Bl Paganus of Lecco. Bl. Paganus was received into the Order by holy father St. Dominic himself. He was the successor St. Peter the Martyr. He also followed in St. Peter the martyr's footsteps beeing martyred by heretics in 1274. He served in the Order for 50 years.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feast of Adam and Eve


Today is the feast of Sts. Adam and Eve. The adoption of this feast by the Western Church is what started the tradition of the Christmas tree.

Read more about this at the online journal of the Slaves if the Immaculate Heart of Mary on

creation of adam

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blessed Margaret of Savoy

Today is the Feast of Bl. Margaret of Savoy according to the Extraordinary liturgical calendar.
Margaret of Savoy, daughter of Duke Amadeo II, is one of three royal princesses who wore the Dominican habit and were beatified. In the 15th century, she was the glory of a family that has given several beati to the Church.

Born into the royal house of Savoy, Margaret grew up in a household in which piety and wealth were ordinary. Her own parents died when she was small, and she was educated by an uncle, who arranged an early marriage for her to the Marquis of Montferrat, Theodore Paleologus.

As queen of her fairly large domain, Margaret was the model of Christian rulers. She felt that it was her duty to exceed in charity and humility in the proportion that she was wealthier than those around her, and she devoted all of her time to God and to her neighbors. Her husband was a widower with two children, to whom she gave the greatest care. The hundreds of dependents on the large estates came to her for charity and instruction.

Disaster stuck Savoy several times in the years when she was wife and mother. Famine and plague came, making great demands on her time and her courage. Unhesitatingly, she went out to nurse the plague-stricken with her own hands, and she sent out food and clothing from her husband's stores until it was doubtful if anything would be left. After this crisis passed, war hovered over the kingdom, and she prayed earnestly that they would be delivered from the horrors of invasion.

In 1418, the marquis died. His young widow was one of the most eligible women in Europe. Margaret sorrowed for her husband, but she made it clear to her relatives that they need not plan another marriage for her, as she was going to enter a convent. In order to live a life of complete renunciation, she decided to found a convent of her own at Alba in Liguria that would follow the ancient rule of Saint Dominic. Accordingly, she took over a cloister which had fallen into ruin, having only a few poor inhabitants, and rebuilt it for Dominican use. She dedicated the house to St. Mary Magdalen.

There is one very delightful story told of her sojourn in the convent. When she had been there many years, she one day had a young visitor; he was the son of one of her step-children. Hunting nearby, he had killed a doe, and he brought her the motherless fawn to tend. It was a pretty little animal, and it soon grew to be a pet. One legend was that the fawn was able to go and find any sister she would name, and, for several years, the animal had free rein of the halls and cells of the sisters. Perhaps it was true, though, since the house confessor told her that the deer must go. She took it to the gate and told it to go. It fled into the forest, and returned only when Margaret was about to die.

Margaret attained a high degree of contemplative prayer. One time Our Lord appeared to her and asked her whether she would rather suffer calumny, sickness, or persecution. Margaret generously accepted all three. Her offer was taken, and for the remaining years of her life she suffered intensely from all three sorrows (Dorcy). It should be noted that Saint Vincent Ferrer influenced Margaret to join the Dominican tertiaries (Benedictines).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blessed Adrian of Dalmatia

Today is the memorial of Bl. Adrian of Damatia. There is not much knowledge available about this 13th century Dominican missionary who was martyred by Muslims. 27 companions were martyred with him and their names have been lost to us.

Mercifully hear, O lord, we beseech Thee, the prayers of Thy Church: that, all adversities and errors being done away, we may serve Thee with a pure and undisturbed devotions. Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Continually Expanding Insanity

Jesus should not have anything to do with Christmas. You have mental health problems if you depitct Jesus dead on a cross!

This is the message a Massachusetts public school system is endorsing.
Taughton, MA, which has the official ironic nickname The Christmas City, has gone completely through the looking glass.

A special needs 8-year-old boy drew a stick-figure of the crucified Jesus when his teacher asked the children in class to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas. The boy made the mistake of actually drawing Jesus. The boy was sent home from school suspended and forced to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Here is the first place I learned of this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saint John of the Cross

Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross on the Ordinary (novus ordo) Roman Calendar.

This incredible priest, poet, mystic, reformer and Church Doctor is THE greatest Carmelite saint alongside his co-reformer St. Theresa of Avila.

Visit the site of the best men's Carmelite community in the U.S. by clicking here!


And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.

----- From his poem "The Dark Night of the Soul"

St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

immaculate conception
The Immaculate Conception by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Both the feast and doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was originally opposed by the Dominicans. Recognition of the feast goes back to the 7th century though it was not universal. Some speculate that the Church in Syria recognized it as far back as the 5th century!

It came to the Western Church from the East. It wasn't until 1476 that Pope Sixtus IV established it as a universal feast. Since the dogma was not officially defined, Catholics were not obliged to accept the dogma and this was reiterated by the Council of Trent. The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854 on the same ancient traditional date of the feast, December 8.

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.

----- Pope Pius IX, 1854, ineffabilis Dei

We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.

--- St. Augustine (On Nature and Grace, 42)

immaculate conception
Immaculate Conception with Saints by Piero di Cosimo

In Praise of Mary Immaculate

You are all fair, O Mary;
the original stain is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem,
the joy of Israel,
the honor of our people,
and the great advocate of sinners.
O Mary, Virgin most prudent,
Mother most merciful, pray for us;
intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary by Jean Bellegambe

Prayer of Pope Pius XII
on the centenury of the Immaculate Conception dogma

Enraptured by the splendor of thy heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into thine arms, O Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in thy most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled thee, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of thy conception until the day on which, after thine assumption into Heaven, He crowned thee Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with thy heavenly perfume! O Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of Hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In thy name, resounding harmoniously in Heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with thee, we may repeat before thy throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around thine altars: Thou art all-beautiful, O Mary! Thou art the glory, thou art the joy, thou art the honor of our people! Amen.

Taken from The Prayer Book, Father John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D., 1954.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saint Ambrose

Today is the feast of Saint Ambrose of Milan, one of the original 4 Church Doctors.

A marvelous quote of St. Ambrose should be particularly meaningful to Dominicans:

He who read much and understands much, receives his fill. He who is full, refreshes others. So Scripture says: “If the clouds are full, they will pour rain upon the earth."

PhotobucketBorn to the Roman nobility. Brother of Saint Marcellina and Saint Satyrus. Educated in the classics, Greek, and philosophy at Rome, Italy. Poet and noted orator. Convert to Christianity. Governor of Milan, Italy.

When the bishop of Milan died, a dispute over his replacement led to violence. Ambrose intervened to calm both sides; he impressed everyone involved so much that though he was still an unbaptized catechumen, he was chosen as the new bishop. He resisted, claiming that he was not worthy, but to prevent further violence, he assented, and on 7 December 374 he was baptized, ordained as a priest, and consecrated as bishop. He immediately gave away his wealth to the Church and the poor, both for the good it did, and as an example to his flock.

Noted preacher and teacher, a Bible student of renown, and writer of liturgical hymns. He stood firm against paganism and Arians. His preaching helped convert Saint Augustine of Hippo, whom Ambrose baptized and brought into the Church. Ambrose’s preaching brought Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins. He called and chaired several theological councils during his time as bishop, many devoted to fighting heresy. Welcomed Saint Ursus and Saint Alban of Mainz when they fled Naxos to escape Arian persecution, and then sent them on to evangelize in Gaul and Germany. Proclaimed a great Doctor of the Latin Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298.

The title Honey Tongued Doctor was initially bestowed on Ambrose because of his speaking and preaching ability; this led to the use of a beehive and bees in his iconography, symbols which also indicate wisdom. This led to his association with bees, beekeepers, chandlers, wax refiners, etc.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

St. Joseph Khang

Today the Dominicans remember St. Joseph Khang, one of the Martyrs of Vietnam.

PhotobucketCatechist Joseph (Nguyen-duy-) Khang was born in the year 1832 in the Christian community of Cao-mai in the district of Tra-vi, province of Thai-binh. At age 16, after his father died, he said goodbye to his mother and entered the House of God with the intention of studying for the priesthood. The tempest of persecution that arose against the Christians changed all his plans. All the colleges and seminaries were closed.

The fate of catechist Joseph Khang was the same that befell Bishop Jerome Hermosilla with whom he was taken prisoner. His fidelity and constancy were admirable since he could have escaped. Nonetheless, he preferred to remain at the side of his master. He stated: “If the Bishop dies for the faith, so will I.” For, as the Latin poet said: “There is nothing than can be disturbed in the soul of the just man who is tenacious in his purpose,” especially if his fidelity is founded on a supernatural life.

Joseph was cruelly whipped several times and subjected to other tortures but he never let out a groan nor did he get depressed. On the contrary, he was always happy and peaceful, carrying himself with utmost dignity. He exhorted all with whom he came into contact to love God and venerate Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to whom he had a special devotion. Joseph received the habit of a Lay Dominican and accompanied Bishop Hermosilla for three years. As the Vietnamese so aptly say: “He was the hands and feet of his master, Bishop Hermosilla.”

Joseph received the palm of martyrdom by decapitation on 6 December 1861, a few days after his beloved bishop was beheaded. His apostolate as a catechist and his martyrdom are an honor to all Lay Dominicans in Vietnam.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Saturday December


Mary to Sr. Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart (Lúcia dos Santos):

Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Friday December

sacred heart

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blessed Bernard and St. Lucy

Today is the memorial of two little known Dominicans, Blessed Bernard of Toulouse and St. Lucy the Chaste.

Bl. Bernard was a Dominican who was martyred in 1320 by being sawed in half by Albigensians.

St. Lucy the Chaste was a French Dominican tertiary who died 1420 in Spain having followed the great Dominican saint Vincent Ferrer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blessed Christian of Perugia

As it was missed yesterday, let's mention that yesterday was also the memorisl of Bl Christian of Perugia.

He was a contemporary of St. Dominic, being one of his first spiritual students. He helped to found the friary at Purugia, Italy that was established by Blessed Nicholas Palea. It was in Purugia that Franciscan writers record the famous meeting of St. Dominic and St. Francis.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Violence to Iraqi Christians Continues

The church of St. Ephrem in the city of Mosul was completely destroyed by explosives today by extremists. After the destruction, the neighboring Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine was attacked. It is a great blessing that there have been no casualties.

As we pray for the the end of all wars and the poor people of Iraq, make special intentions for its Christians and the good sisters that were attacked today!
Read the story about this at

Blessed John of Vercelli

Blessed John of Vercelli was 5'8" tall. he had a pointed chin, blue eyes - standard Northern Italian features. Although he was lame, walking with a limp on his right side, he walked barefoot. He used a walking stick everywhere he went (it was his symbol). He took a vow not to ride any kind of transportation. If you laid every mile, end to end, that he walked during the last nine years of his life, he walked around Europe three times!

Bl. John entered the Order of Preachers in the 1230. He was the sixth Master General of the order. The preaching from Bl. Jordon of Saxony led him to the order and John received the habit from him. He studied in Bologna and was ordained there in 1229, becoming a noted preacher. In 1232 he established a priory in Vercelli.

He had a great gift of peace-making and was sent to reconcile various conflicts in his day, such as conflicts between Venice & Genoa and France & Castile. This was a very difficult period with many heresies and bands of robbers. It was during this time the great Saint Peter the Martyr (aka of Verona) was killed by heretics.

He was commissioned by the pope to draw up the Schema for the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons in 1274. This council would lay the groundwork for the founding of the Holy Name Society still in existence! It was also at that council he met the future Pope Nicholas IV; they would later be called together using John's great peace-keeping skills to help in a dispute involving King Philip III of France.

He personally knew many great saints & blesseds that were his contemporaries: St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, King St. Louis IX and Peter of Tarentaise (the future Pope Innocent V).

He became Master General of the Order in 1264 and remained so until his natural death in 1283. He made personal visits (on foot, see above) to most of the Dominican houses encouraging them in their observance of the rule.

After the death of Pope Clement IV, Bl. John was almost elected pope! He was warned of the possibility which frightened him and he fled. Toward the end of his life he was offered the role of patriarch of Jerusalem, but declined.

My personal favorite Bl. John of Vercelli story:

Tradition says that during the translation of the relics of Saint Dominic de Guzman 1267, when the body was exposed to view, the head was seen to turn towards Blessed John. Embarrassed, John moved to another part of the church, giving his place to a cardinal. The head of Saint Dominic was seen by all to turn again toward John.

Monday, November 30, 2009

An icon of the Virgin Mary has flown over the Earth 176 times in the International Space Station

If one understands the ancient meaning of this traditional icon and its symbols, it seems more than fitting that it should envelope the Earth from above!

Reported by Interfax of Russia in Moscow On November 25, an unusual sacred procession took place when the Virgin Mary Icon known as the "Sign" (see below) flew around the Earth 176 times.

On September 30 the spaceship Soyuz TMA 16 which had a mission to bring the icon to the International Space Station was driven from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the representative of the Galaxy studying centre initiated the project told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.
Read complete article.

Our Lady of the Sign

St. Andrew the Apostle

2nd day of Advent

The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew

Today is the feast of the martyrdom of St. Andrew the Apostle, one of the original Twelve. Here is a brief outline of only some of the things about this glorious saint:
  • He was a disciple of St. John the Baptist.
  • He was the first called by Jesus.
  • He is the brother of St. Peter.
  • He recognized Jesus as the messiah the first time he saw Him.
  • It was he who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus before the feeding of the five thousand.
  • founded the see of what would be Constantinople.
  • He ordained Stachys, the first Bishop of Byzantium who was one of the 70 disciples of the Lord.
  • He was martyred on an x-shaped cross known as a saltire. Like his brother, St. Peter, St. Andrew felt himself unworthy to be crucified on the upright cross of Christ.
  • He hung for three days on the cross, fixed not by nails but by rope round his hands and feet; he preached until the end!
  • He is the patron of the Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Scotland, Philippines, Amalfi, Malta, Plymouth, England and former Prussia
  • St. Andrew's cross is the flag of Scotland
  • His name in Greek mean manly.

    Martyrdom of St Andrew

St. Andrew's last words on the cross, a prayer:

Lord, eternal King of glory, receive me hanging from the wood of this sweet cross. Thou who art my God, whom I have seen, do not permit them to loosen me from the cross. Do this for me, O Lord, for I know the virtue of Thy Holy Cross.

St. Andrew Icon

Prayer by St. John Chrysostom:

Lord, You raised up Saint Andrew, Your Apostle, to preach and rule in Your
Church. Grant that we may always experience the benefit of his intercession with You. Amen.

Photobucket Photobucket

Photobucket Photobucket

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blessed Calimerius of Montechiaro

Today is the memorial of Bl. Calimerius of Montechiaro. I do not have any information about him in any of my current sources at hand. The following very short profile comes directly from the entry for him at the wonderful Patron Saint Index :

Blessed Calimerius of Montechiaro was born c. 1430 in Italy. He was a Dominican. He spent a long life preaching throughout Italy. When he was 90 years old and unable to climb into the pulpit, parishioners lifted him into it so he could preach. He died 1521 of natural causes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blessed Margaret of Savoy

Today is the memorial of Bl. Margaret of Savoy, OP on the Ordinary Roman Calendar; it is December 23 on the Extraordinary (Traditional) Calendar.

Marchioness of Montferrat, born at Pignerol in 1382; died at Alba, 23 November, 1464. She was the only daughter of Louis of Savoy, Prince of Achaia, and of Bonne, daughter of Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy, and was given in marriage in 1403 to Theodore, Marquis of Montferrat, a descendant of the Greek emperors, the Palæologi, and widower of Jeanne, daughter of the duke of Bar and of Lorraine. Her piety, already great, increased after she had heard the preaching of St. Vincent Ferrer, who spent several months in Montferrat. Therefore, when she was left a widow in 1418, she decided to abandon the world. Leaving the direction of the affairs of the marquisate to Jean-Jacques, the son of her husband by his first marriage, she retired to Alba where she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic. A little later, Philip Maria, duke of Milan, asked her hand in marriage and begged the pope to relieve her of her vow. But Margaret opposed a formal refusal to this request and thoroughly resolved to give herself entirely to God: with several young women of rank, she founded a monastery and placed it under the rule of the order of St. Dominic. Redoubling her mortifications she made rapid progress in the way of perfection and died in a saintly manner. On 13 December, 1464, her remains were placed in a simple tomb; in 1481 they were transferred to a different and much more beautiful sepulchre built in her monastery at the expense of William, Marquis of Montferrat.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Protectress of the Order

PhotobucketThe monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai is renowned as being the oldest continuously occupied monastery in Christendom. Yet it was first dedicated not to St. Catherine but to the Transfiguration of Jesus. Its architect began building the monastery walls in 542. Three centuries later, guided by a dream, the monks of this monastery found on the mountain the body of a woman, whom they took to be Saint Catherine--a body presumably miraculously flown there from Alexandria.
Falconius, archbishop of San Severino, speaks of the translation of the body of Catherine to the top of Mount Sinai. "As to what is said, that the body of this saint was conveyed by angels to Mount Sinai, the meaning is that it was carried by the monks of Sinai to their rich dwelling with such a treasure--It is well known that the name of an angelic habit, and that monks, on account of their heavenly purity and functions, were anciently called 'angels'" (Husenbeth).

Nothing is known for sure about her except that she was a maiden martyred at Alexandria under Maximinus Daza as related in the History of the Church (viii, c. 14) by Eusebius. Her acta, say she was the daughter of king Costos of Cyprus, who had been called to Alexandria to be a counselor to Emperor Maximinus. Philosophy was very fashionable in Alexandria's high society and Catherine was devoted to study, so that she had a good dose of it before she reached 18. During the course of her studies she learned about Christ. Then Catherine was converted by a vision of Our Lady and the Holy Child.

When Emperor Maximinus began his persecutions, the 18-year-old Catherine, who was very beautiful, went to the emperor and rebuked him for his tyranny as he stood in the middle of a pagan temple. Unable to answer her arguments, he called in fifty philosophers to confront her. After they admitted themselves to be convinced by her arguments, the furious emperor sentenced them to be burned.

PhotobucketThe emperor offered to marry her, but she refused because Christ had already appeared to her in person and placed his gold ring on her finger (like St. Catherine of Siena); for this reason Greek Christians call her 'Ækatharina,' that is, 'ever pure.' She was beaten for two solid hours and then imprisoned, and the emperor departed to inspect a camp. In her cell she was fed by a dove, and Christ appeared to her in a vision.

When he returned, he found that his wife, Faustina, and an officer, Porphyrius, had gone to visit Catherine out of curiosity and were converted, and that Porphyrius had converted 200 men of the imperial guard. All were condemned to death.

Catherine was sentenced to be killed by means of a wheel set with spikes or razors, now known as "St. Catherine's wheel." When she was placed upon its rim, her bonds were miraculously loosened, the wheel broke, and the spikes flew off, killing onlookers. Finally, she was beheaded, as she called down blessings on all who should remember her. From her severed veins flowed a white, milk-like liquid instead of blood. It is claimed that for many years oil oozed from her bones; this oil was prized as medicine and for lamps in holy sanctuaries.

PhotobucketIn 527 Emperor Justinian built a fortified monastery for the hermits of Mt. Sinai, and the body of Catherine is supposed to have been taken there in the 8th or 9th century; since then it has borne her name. In the 11th century, Simeon, a monk of Sinai, went to Rouen to receive an annual alms of Duke Richard of Normandy. He brought with him some of Catherine's relics, which he left there. She was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who were highly venerated individually and as a group during the Middle Ages because of the enormous amount of miracles that were done through their intercession.

Saint Joan of Arc heard and faithfully followed the voice of Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret. Perhaps the Lord gave Catherine to Joan to help her in her debate with the famous theologians. The real Passion of Catherine is the same as Joan of Arc's, which fortunately we know in all its details. Joan is the Catherine of modern times, indeed of all times. And so to be a woman, a saint, and a philosopher like Catherine, there is no need to be a king's daughter; the Hail Mary and Our Father are enough. No doubt Catherine had the simplicity of a shepherdess. Though philosophy and religion will never be found in perfect harmony, what matters is faith, pure and simple faith, and we rejoice that it is so. Saint Dominic also had heavenly visions of her and chose her and Mary Magdalene to be protectress of the Dominican Order.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Martyrs of Vietnam


Today is the day set aside for all the martyrs of Vietnam in the last 500 years.
Even though 117 martyrs are named, there are over 100,000 up to the present day to be included. Dominicans, of course, are among the many from the Church's various orders that were martyred.

For an excellent blog article on the Vietnamese Martyrs, visit Unam Sanctan's 2007 article about the subject!

It is often quoted, "The earliest martyrs mentioned in written sources are the Spanish Dominicans Francisco Gil de Federich and Matthew Alonzo Lenziana, who arrived in the country about 1580."  However, this information is very likely incorrect since most other sources place Francisco Gil de Federich in the mid-18th century.

The tortures these individuals underwent were among the worst in the history of Christian martyrdom. The means included cutting off limbs joint by joint, ripping living bodies with red hot tongs, and use of drugs to enslave the minds of the victims. Christians at the time were branded on the face with the words ta dao (false religion) and families and villages which subscribed to Christianity were obliterated.

The 117 martyrs were beatified in four groups, the first of them on 27 May 1900 (Pope Leo XIII), the second (all Dominicans) on 20 May 1906, a third on 2 May 1909 (both by Pope Pius X) and the last (including two Spanish bishops) on 29 April 1951 (Pope Pius XII). They were canonised in Rome on 19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

Dominican Bishops
St. Dominic Hanares (1765-Jun. 22, 1838)
St. Vincent Yen (1764-Jun. 30, 1838)
St. Ignatius Delgado (1761-Jul. 12, 1838)
St. Jerome Hermosilla (1800-Nov., 1 1861)
St. Valentine de Berrio-Ochoa (1827-Nov. 1, 1861)
St. Joseph Mary Diaz-Sanjurjo (1818-Jul. 20, 1857)
St. Melchior García Sampedro (1821-Jul. 28, 1858)

Dominican Priests
St. Vincent Liem (1731-Nov. 7)
St. Dominic Hanh (1772- Aug. 1, 1838)
St. Joseph Fernandez (1775-Jul. 15, 1838)
St. Peter Tu (1776-Sep. 5, 1838)
St. Dominic Tuoc (1775-Apr. 2, 1839)
St. Thomas Dou (1778-Nov. 26, 1839)
St. Dominic Xuyen (1786-Nov. 26, 1839)
St. Joseph Hien (1775-May 9, 1840)
St. Dominic Trach Doia (1792-Sep. 18, 1840)
St. Matthew Alonso Liciniana (1702 -Jan. 22, 1745)
St. Francis Gil de Federich (1702-Jan. 22, 1745)
St. Vincent Liem Le Duang (1731-Nov. 7, 1773)
St. Hyacinth Castañeda (1743 -Nov., 7 1773)
St. Peter Almató y Ribera (Nov. 1, 1830-Nov. 1, 1861)
St. Dominic Mau (1808-Nov. 5,1858)
St. Joseph Tuan (Van Tran) [OP priest] (1821-Apr. 4, 1861)

Lay Dominicans
St. Dominic An Kham (1799-March 11, 1859)
St. Joseph Uyen (1775-Jul. 4, 1838)
St. Joseph Canh (1963-Sep. 5, 1938)
St. Francis Xavier Mau (?-Dec. 19, 1839)
St. Dominic Yu (?-Dec. 19, 1839)
St. Thomas De (1810-Dec. 19, 1839)
St. Augustine Moi (1806-Dec. 19, 1839)
St. Stephen Vihn (1814?-Dec. 19, 1839)
St. Thomas Toan (1767-Jun. 27, 1840)
St. Joseph Khang (1832-Dec. 6, 1861)
St. Dominic An Kham (Pham Thong) (1799-Jan. 13, 1859)
St. Luke Cai Thin (Trong Pham) (1819-Jan. 13, 1859)
St. Joseph Cai Ta (Pham Thong) (1800-Jan. 13, 1859)

Dominican Tertiaries
St. Augustine Schoeffler (1822-May 1, 1851) priest, M.E.P.
St. Dominic Caam (An-Kham) (?-Mar. 11, 1859) priest
St. Thomas Khuong (1779-Jan. 30, 1860) priest

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pope St. Clement I

One of the 70 Apostles, consecrated by St. Peter, worked with St. Paul, Church Father, one the earliest great Patristic writers, our fourth pope and witness to the historical proof of the papacy, holy martyr for the faith (c. A.D. 101)! How's that for a resume?!

Seek peace and go in pursuit of it. The eyes of the Lord rest upon the good, and His ears attend to their petition. But the frown of the Lord is upon evildoers, to extirpate the memory of them. The good man cried aloud, and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his afflictions. Many are the plagues of the sinner, but mercy will encompass those that hope in the Lord.

--from Pope St. Clement I's Epistle to the Corinthians

The Prayer of St. Clement I
Give us the grace, Lord, to hope in Thy Name, to which all creatures owe their being. Open the eyes of our hearts to know Thee alone, the Most High in the highest heavens, whose dwelling is in the holy of holies. Thou abasest the arrogance of the proud, frustrate the designs of the godless, humble the lofty and exalt the lowly, makest wealthy and poor, Thou slayest, Thou savest and Thou bringest to life. Alone the Benefactor of spirits and God of all flesh, Thy gaze penetrates the depths, Thou observest the doings of men. Helper of those in peril, Savior of those in despair, Creator of all that draws breath, Thou causest the peoples on the earth to multiply and from them all choose those who love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son. Through Him Thou hast instructed us, sanctified us, honored us.

We ask Thee, O Lord, to be our supporter and our helper. To those of us who are afflicted, free us, pity the lowly, raise the fallen, show thyself to the needy, heal the sick, convert Thy wayward people, feed the hungry, deliver our captives, support the weak, encourage the faint-hearted. Let all nations know that Thou alone art God and Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and we are Thy people, the sheep of Thy flock.

Truly Thou hast established the world and revealed Thy decrees. Thou art faithful through all generations, just in judgment, admirable in strength and majesty, wise in building, prudent in establishment, goodness in everything seen, faithful to those who put their trust in Thee, and kind and merciful. Dismiss from us our iniquities, our injustices, our sins and our failings.

Do not hold the sins of Thy servants against them, but purify us by Thy truth, and direct our steps that in holiness and justice and simplicity of heart we may walk and so do what is good and pleasing in Thy sight and in the sight of our leaders.

O Lord, let the light of your face shine upon us, so that we may enjoy Thy blessings in peace, protected by Thy strong hand, and freed from all sin by Thy outstretched arm; and deliver us from those who hate us unjustly.

Grant peace and concord to us and to all mankind, even as Thou gavest it to our forefathers when they devoutly called upon Thee in faith and in truth. Thou alone art able to bestow these and even greater benefits upon us. We praise Thee through our high priest and the patron of our souls, Jesus Christ. Through Him be glory and majesty to Thee now and throughout all generations, for ever and ever.


"Viva Cristo Rey!"

Those were the last words of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro - Padre Pro. Today is his feast day.

He had a great love for the Mass, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and apostolic zeal for ordinary working men. Despite the fierce persecution of the Mexican Government as well as his own debilitating illnesses, Fr. Pro continued his ministry to the faithful. He was captured, imprisoned and martyred for his Catholic Faith in 1927 under [false] charges of sedition. source


How can I explain to you the sweet grace of the Holy Spirit,
which invades my poor miner's soul with such heavenly joys?

May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou
knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!

God our Father,
you gave your servant Miguel Agustin
the grace to seek ardently your greater glory
and the salvation of your people.
Grant that through his intercession
and following his example
we may serve you and glorify you
by performing our daily duties with fidelity and joy
and effectively helping our neighbor.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prayer For Dominican Vocations


Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Who once did call Saint Dominic’s family
into the Church to proclaim the Gospel.
We ask You now to send apostles as then to Your harvest.
Give them courage, wisdom and grace
To bear witness in a worthy manner before all people
To your death, resurrection and future coming in glory.
O Lord, You are always with us,
Help us to become defenders of the faith
And a light to banish indifference and the darkness of sin.
Through the mediation of your most Holy Mother, the
Patron of our Order.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gaude Mater Ecclesia...

...because I feel like it.

From the hymn to St. Dominic, Gaude Mater Ecclesia

Sing, O Church, our glorious mother;
aaaaaRaise thy voice in thankful love;
For this day a son thou givest
aaaaaTo the cours of heaven above.

Dominic, our guide and leader,
aaaaaFather of a white-robed throng,
Famed on earth for deeds of valor,
aaaaaSings for aye the angels' song.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blessed Lucy of Narni

Very many of the greatest of God's saints are lifetime examples of the lesson from Job. No matter the humiliation, false witness or wrong doing against them, these great examples of God's children retain a love that only grows as carry their crosses without complaint.
Today's Dominican blessed is one of these heavenly creatures. Blessed Lucy was born in Narni on 13 November 1476. Even as a baby inthe cradle, there were signs that she was no ordinary child; both her nurses and mother were used to seeing baby Lucy visited daily by an unknown religious dressed in the Dominican habit, taking her from her cradle, embracing her tenderly, and gaving Lucy her blessing. (It was said the visitor's majestic appearance seemed something more than human.

As a very young child she foreshadowed her holy life and devotion by being drawn to pious objects. When she was only four years old, her mother's brother, Don Simon, came on avisit to his sister's house, and brought with him from Rome various toys and presents for the children. Lucy immediately choose a rosary and a small statue of the Infant Jesus; she called it "Christarello" and it was a cherished object of her devotion.

Even at that young age, she preferred solitude during her personal devotions. Another uncle had a room in his house where the ceiling was painted with a picture of angels. It was in this room she received her life changing vision when she was only seven years old. She had the vision of Jesus, Mary, St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena and many other saints. It was during this vision that Jesus espoused her to Himself and St. Dominic bestowed the scapular of the Dominicans. She wore this scapular under her regular clothes secretly until she was old enough to assume it publically.

After the time of her childhood vision, she was granted many holy graces including the gift of prophesy. Later she had stigmata.

Her parents died when she was young and she was in the care of one of her uncles who wanted to "marry her off." She did not want to break her vow of virginity or betrothal to Jesus. She received a vision from Mary, St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena instructing her to marry Count Pietro of Milan but to live as Mary and Joseph did. Thus, she married and maintained a large household. The house was managed like a religious community with Lucy dressing as one of the servants as she performed the household chores with them and became a benefactress of the poor. While it appears her husband was very caring and patient, four years into the marriage saw friction and Lucy received a vision with divine instructions to pursue the life of a religious.

She returned to her mother's house and took the habit of a Dominican tertiary. In trying to help, her uncles procurred her admission in the monastery of St. Catherine of Sienna at Rome. Although she tried to hide her stigmata and other spiritual favors from even the other sisters, her piety became well known; she stayed there only a year. The General of the Dominican Order, Father Joachim Turriano, chose her as the prioress on the foundation of a new convent at Viterbo though she was only twenty years old. The General only sent five other women for the new convent but great crowds applied for admission when it became known she was the prioress of the new convent. It was during this time there was a last meeting of Blessed Lucy and her husband Count Pietro. Pietro became a Franciscan Friar Minor and lived out his life as such, becoming known for his piety.

It is from this point that the life of Blessed Lucy becomes one of constant trial and lonely burden. The accounts vary in many of the details and circumstances. To shorten some of the long details, the following is a very general summary of events most agreed upon in various accounts.

Lucy was held in universal esteem for her sanctity, miracles and prophesy. After three years at Viterbo, she was called upon to found a convent in Narni. The founding of the convent had Duke Hercules of Ferrara as its founding benefactor. Because of her fame, the Duke pursuaded the pope to order Lucy to Rome to be the convent's perpetual prioress. Pope Alexander VI granted the new convent many singular priviledges and declared Lucy to have followed the footsteps of St. Catherine of Sienna in all things. Lucy had prayed to found a convent that would observe only strict observance and it appeared at first her prayers had been answered. In this convent, her own mother received the habit from her along with many other noble ladies of Ferrara.

The first of the great disasterous situations happened because of the transfer of Lucy from Vieterbo to Narni. Vieterbo loved have a mystic celebrity to call their own and did not want Lucy to leave. The rivalry between Vieterbo and Narni over the Lucy lasted for two years in the form of bloody and lethal battles. This was a great trial for her as she had to endure the grief of the violence and loss of life done in her name while having no say.

A second burden for Lucy was the failure of many of the women to adhere to the strict holy observance she wanted greatly desired for the convent. She would call out her companions on their evils and they would later show their spitefulness toward her for their own failings.

The third great burden for Blessed Lucy was the widespread fame and attention drawn by her mystical gifts. Crowds flocked the gate of her convent. She had the extreme favor of the Duke and the Pope. The Duke of Ferrara often showed her off like a prize and insisted she expose her mystical gifts, like the wounds of her stigmata, on demand like a circus performer. Humiliated by people the likes of the Duke and embarrassed by the popular applause and fame the world was giving her, she begged Jesus to remove her stigmata since it was the cause of all her unworthy veneration. Jesus removed the wounds on her hands and feet but the wound in her side remained her entire life because it was hidden from the view of others. When her stigmata was no longer visible, unworthy and vindictive sisters in the convent claimed she had been faking her gifts all along.

The combinaton of the visibility of her stigmata with the death of the Duke of Ferrara (who was misguided but at least protected her) gave the revengeful members of her community the opportunity to conspire against her. They publicly accused her of fraud claiming they saw her trying to create stigmata wounds with a knife. They were so convincing in their false accusations that they persuaded the heads of the Dominican Order and the Pope of their lies. They demanded she be removed as prioress and a new one installed. Pope Alexander removed all priviledges formelly granted her. The Dominican provincial would not let any member of the Order see her. She was degraded from her office of prioress, deprived of everyright and voice in the community, and placed below the youngest novice in the house. She was forbidden to speak to any one (in or out of the convent, religiuos or secular) except the confessor - her regular confessor was taken from her and her new one was appointed and prejudiced against her. She was kept in a strict imprisonment and treated as if she was the one of the worst of criminals. Even when she was very ill, which was often, she was ignored by her community and left to suffer alone. Nuns in the convent who had been professed at her hands made their professions over again to the new prioress, as if their vows formerly made to her had been invalid.

She lived in this exteme state of desolation for the rest of her life, thirty nine years!

She bore her heavy cross without a murmur. She alone lived the strict observance of her convent to be a silent witness of the wickedness of her companions. Her life was a long prayer for her persecutors, and we are assured that no sorrow or regret ever seemed to shadow the deep tranquillity of her soul! The Lord at least did not let her be without consolation as she was often visited by Jesus and His saints. Her last wishes were for the well being and forgiveness of the community that has so wrongly foresaken her.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dominican All Saints

Do not ask me how many saints the Order of Saint Dominic has given to Heaven. Count, if you can, the stars which gleam in the firmament, and then you will know the number of saints among the descendants of Saint Dominic. --Pope Clement X

Happy feast day! It is the feast of Dominican All Saints according to the Extraordinary (Traditional) Dominican Rite Calendar. Our Dominican family has been highly blessed to have had so many incredible saints and blesseds to share with the world.

Photobucket Photobucket

Dominican Litany of Saints

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the heavenly Father, Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary ... Pray for us
Holy Mother of God ... Pray for us
Holy Virgin of Virgins ... etc.
All you holy angels and archangels ...
All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets ...
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists ...
All you holy martyrs ...
All you holy virgins and widows ...
All you holy men and women ...
Saint Michael ...
Saint Gabriel ...
Saint Raphael ...
Saint Joseph ...
Saint John the Baptist ...
Saint Mary Magdalen ...
Holy Father Augustine ...
Holy Father Francis ...
Blessed Jane of Aza ...
Blessed Reginald ...

Holy Father Dominic ... Pray for us
Blessed Bertrand ... Pray for us
Blessed Mannes ... etc.
Blessed Diana ...
Blessed Jordan of Saxony ...
Blessed John of Salerno ...
Blessed William and Companions ...
Blessed Ceslaus ...
Blessed Isnard ...
Blessed Guala ...
Blessed Peter Gonzalez ...
Saint Zdislava ...
Saint Peter of Verona ...
Blessed Nicholas ...
Saint Hyacinth ...
Blessed Gonsalvo ...
Blessed Sadoc and Companions ...
Blessed Giles ...
Saint Margaret of Hungary ...
Blessed Batholomew of Vincenza ...
Saint Thomas Aquinas ...
Saint Raymond of Penyafort ...
Blessed Innocent V ...
Blessed Albert of Bergamo ...
Saint Albert the Great ...
Blessed John of Vercelli ...
Blessed Ambrose ...
Blessed Cecilia ...
Blessed Benvenuta ...
Blessed James of Varazze ...
Blessed James of Bevagna ...
Blessed Benedict XI ...
Blessed Jane of Orvieto ...
Blessed Jordan of Pisa ...
Saint Emily ...
Blessed James Salomonio ...
Saint Agnes of Montepulciano ...
Blessed Simon ...
Blessed Margaret of Castello ...
Blessed Augustine Kazotic ...
Blessed James Benefatti ...
Blessed Imelda ...
Blessed Dalmatius ...
Blessed Margaret Ebner ...
Blessed Villana ...
Blessed Peter Ruffia ...
Blessed Henry ...
Blessed Sibyllina ...
Blessed Anthony of Pavonio ...
Saint Catherine of Siena ...
Blessed Marcolino ...
Blessed Raymond of Capua ...
Blessed Andrew Franchi ...
Saint Vincent Ferrer ...
Blessed Clara ...
Blessed John Dominic ...
Blessed Alvarez ...
Blessed Maria ...
Blessed Peter of Castello ...
Blessed Andrew Abellon ...
Blessed Stephen ...
Blessed Peter Geremia ...
Blessed John of Fiesole ...
Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta ...
Blessed Anthony della Chiesa ...
Saint Antoninus ...
Blessed Anthony Neyrot ...
Blessed Margaret of Savoy ...
Blessed Bartholomew of Cerverio ...
Blessed Matthew ...
Blessed Constantius ...
Blessed Christopher ...
Blessed Damian ...
Blessed Andrew of Peschiera ...
Blessed Bernard ...
Blessed Jane of Portugal ...
Blessed James of Ulm ...
Blessed Augustine of Biella ...
Blessed Aimo ...
Blessed Sebastian ...
Blessed Mark ...
Blessed Columba ...
Blessed Magdalen ...
Blessed Osanna of Mantua ...
Blessed John Liccio ...
Blessed Dominic Spadafora ...
Blessed Stephana ...
Saint Adrian ...
Blessed Lucy ...
Blessed Catherine Racconigi ...
Blessed Osanna of Kotor ...
Saint Pius V ...
Saint John of Cologne ...
Blessed Maria Bartholomew ...
Saint Louis Bertrand ...
Saint Catherine de Ricci ...
Blessed Robert ...
Blessed Alphonsus and Companions ...
Saint Rose ...
Saint Dominic Ibanez and Companions ...
Blessed Agnes of Jesus ...
Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions ...
Saint Martin de Porres ...
Blessed Peter Higgins ...
Blessed Francis de Capillas ...
Saint Juan Macias ...
Blessed Terence ...
Blessed Ann of the Angels ...
Blessed Francis de Posadas ...
Saint Louis de Montfort ...
Blessed Francis Gil ...
Saint Matteo ...
Blessed Peter Sanz and Companions ...
Saint Vicent Liem ...
Saint Hyacinth Castaneda ...
Blessed Marie ...
Blessed George ...
Blessed Catherine Jarrige ...
Saint Ignatius and Companions ...
Saint Dominic An-Kham and Companions ...
Saint Joseph Khang and Companions ...
Blessed Francis Coll ...
Blessed Hyacinthe Cormier ...
Blessed Pier Giorgio ...
Blessed Bartolo ...
Blessed Michael Czartoryski ...
Blessed Julia Rodzinska ...
All holy Dominican brothers and sisters ...

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, ... have mercy on us.

Let us pray...

God, source of all holiness, you have enriched your Church with many gifts in the saints of the Order of Preachers. By following the example of our brothers and sisters, may we come to enjoy their company for ever in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.




Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day / Soldier Saints

While remembering our U.S. veterans on this Veterans Day, let's also turn to and remember the many saints from which they enjoy patronage. There are many saints who were former soldiers or even became saints while still serving in the armed forces. While not all saints that were once in the military became a likewise patron saint, many of them did and are official patron saints of soldiers. The following are just a few, not all:

St. Michael the Archangel
Who could be better for the patronage of soldiers than the leader of God's army himself? He led the angels in battle against Lucifer and the other fallen angels. He is the great defender of Church against Anti-Christ.


St. George
PhotobucketThe soldier St. George was martyred in the early 4th century. His patronage is vast and includes many non-military areas. In military areas, he is not only a patron of soldiers; it includes the less generalized patronage of Crusaders, calvalry, knights and archers to name a few!

St. Ignatius of Loyola
The founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) had a military education and was originally a soldier. It was after he received a permanent leg injury in battle that he was inspired to live the life of a religious and found his great order.

St. Joan of Arc

PhotobucketThe Maid of Orleans didn't become Saint Joan until over 480 years after her death. She was canonized in 1920 by Pope St. Pius X. This great and still disturbingly underappreciated Saint is a natural for the patronage of soldiers. As an incredible mystic, she inspired and led French troops to victory under divine guidance while still only a teenager! It is only fitting that her inspiration to soldiers in life she continues while she is in Heaven. It should be no surprise that St. Michael the Archangel was one of her three main voices.

St. Martin of Tours
St. Martin died in A.D. 397 and was the first saint to be recognized that wasn't a martyr. Although a catechumen at an early age, he joined the Roman army when he was 15. He was finally baptized when he was 18. Even though he served in the unit that was the emporor's bodyguard and later a calvalry office, he was later in serious trouble when he was to go into battle and he realized his Christianity forbade him from fighting. He eventually became a bishop against his will.


St. Maurice
St. Maurice was the leader of the famous all Christian Roman Theban Legion of the late 3rd century. The Golden Legend records him and the entire legion being martyred after refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus
The martyrs St. Sergius and St. Bacchus were highly esteemed Roman soldiers until their Christianity was revealed. The story of their torture and martyrdom is an example of the incredible camaraderie and loyalty soldiers maintain to one another. By their own belief and mutual inspirations, they would not renounce their Christianity under the great humiliations and tortures inflicted on them. NOTE: they were not a same-sex couple!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Dominican All Saints

Today is the feast of All Saints of the Dominican Order on the Ordinary (new) Roman calendar. On this day, we members of the Dominican family remember all of the saints of our order (which are many) be they priest, nun, brother, tertiary (lay) or sister.

During Matins, it is common to read the following famous account about St. Dominic recorded by his contemporary Blessed Sr. Celilia:

One night, after prolonging his prayers until midnight, Dominic left the church and came to the dormitory, where he completed what he had to do and, taking his place at one end of the dormitory, continued to pray. As he stood praying, he glanced at the other end of the dormitory and saw three beautiful women enter, but noticed that the one in the middle was a venerable lady far more beautiful and dignified than the other two. One of them was carrying a beautiful, shining vessel, and the other an aspersorium which she handed to the lady in the center, who went from bed to bed sprinkling the brethren with holy water and blessing them. As she went along in this way, she passed by one of them without sprinkling him or blessing him. Blessed Dominic observed this and took note of the brother they neglected. The lady said to blessed Dominic: “I am the one you call upon in the evening. When you say, Turn therefore most gracious advocate thine eyes of mercy toward us, I prostrate myself before my Son and ask him to preserve the Order.” After that Blessed Dominic inquired about the brother she had passed by as she had sprinkled and blessed all the others. “Because he was not properly disposed,” she said.

After this she continued to sprinkle and bless all the others and then disappeared. When she was gone, Blessed Dominic returned to pray in the place he stood before. Suddenly he was rapt in spirit before God and saw Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin sitting at his right. It seemed to blessed Dominic that Our Lady was wearing a cape of bright blue, the colour of sapphire.

As blessed Dominic looked around, he could see religious of all the orders but his own before the throne of God, so that he began to weep bitterly and stood far away, not daring to approach the Lord and His Mother. Then our Lady motioned for him to come near. But he would not dare, until Our Lord Himself also called him.

Then blessed Dominic cast himself before them weeping bitterly. But our Lord told him to rise, and when he did, Our Lord asked him, “Why are you weeping so?” “I am weeping because I see all other orders here but no sign of my own.” And the Lord said to him, “Do you want to see your Order?” and he answered, “Yes, Lord.” The Our Lord, putting his hand upon the shoulders of the Blessed Virgin, said to blessed Dominic, “I have entrusted your Order to my Mother.” Then the Blessed Virgin opened the cape which covered her and spread it out before blessed Dominic, to whom it seemed vast enough to cover the entire heaven and, under it, he saw a large multitude of his brethren.

Then, prostrating himself, Blessed Dominic gave thanks to God and to Blessed Mary his Mother, After that the vision disappeared and he returned to himself just as the bell rang for Matins. When Matins was over, he called the brethren to chapter and gave them a long and beautiful talk, exhorting them to love and pay reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Among other things he related this vision to them.


Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls Day

On this All Souls Day, remember to pray for your own dearly departed and for all the souls in Purgatory!

Prayer for all the Faithful departed
from the Office of the Dead according to the Dominican Rite.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful,
give unto the souls of Thy
servants and handmaidens remission
of all their sins, that through godly
supplications thay may obtain the pardon they have ever wished for:
who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R: Amen
V: May they rest in peace.
R: Amen


Pray 6 Our Father’s, 6 Hail Mary’s and 6 Glory Be’s for the intentions of the Holy Father before the Blessed Sacrament to release a soul from Purgatory as many times as you enter Church today.


O my God, deign to accept my every thought, word, and action as a loving petition to Thy mercy on behalf of the suffering souls in Purgatory, particularly _______. I unite to Thy Sacred Passion the trials and contradictions of this day, which I purpose to bear with patience, in expiation for the sins and infidelities which retain Thy children in the purifying flames of Purgatory. Amen


Prayer of Saint Gertrude
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family.Amen.


St. Lorenzo da Brindisi releasing souls from Purgatory with his prayers