A prayer to St. Dominic

 

Great Saint Dominic,
you laboured for the
salvation of others by
preaching the Word of God
in dangerous times
even among the heretics.
Inspire me to be like you.
Let me be strong in my faith.
Help me to provide for the needs
of the children of this world.
Lead me to spend my days
as a reflection of Christ’s love
throughout my life.
Give me the right words
to always speak the truth
with a zeal for saving souls.
Amen.

Memorial: 8 August

Born 
1170 at Calaruega, Burgos, Old Castile

Died
4 August 1221 at Bologna Canonized
13 July 1234 by Pope Gregory IX at Rieti, Italy

Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomy and science, a reflection of his lifelong love of learning and teaching. He was a well educated man who believed that a strong intellectual base would allow a man to preach more convincingly, and therefore convert more people to the faith.

To that end, he established the Dominican Order, and chose the motto “to praise, to bless, to preach”. A central tenet of the Order was to incorporate intellectual pursuits with the needs of everyday people. Where heretics were normally punished or terrorized for not believing (this was around the time of the Inquisition), St. Dominic believed that by preaching from an intelligent base, one could peacefully convert people to the faith.

When Dominic was baptized as a baby, his mother reportedly saw a star shining from his chest. In portraits he is often depicted with a star shining on or above his head. And although there is no evidence that St. Dominic ever studied astronomy himself, this aspect of scientific learning was well known when St. Dominic attended university, and it’s certainly possible that he was exposed to the mysteries of the heavens.

St. Dominic is also the patron saint of falsely accused people. There are stories of Dominic himself being falsely accused as a boy, mostly as a result of boyish pranks played by schoolmates. This may be one reason why he is so closely associated with this group.

St. Dominic is the patron saint of the Dominican Republic as well. Much of St. Dominic’s life was spent in Spain, his homeland, and the Dominican Republic was originally a Spanish colony. Choosing St. Dominic as the patron saint was a natural for a country where he had done so much good work.

 

I knew I was in Rome when…

I felt a thrill at seeing a nun in a blue habit in the queue to go through immigration at the airport. I was tempted to take a photo but thought it may look suspicious just there. I was not, however,  to be disappointed because on an hourly basis every day I would spot nuns walking to and  fro throughout the streets of Rome. It’s part of life there and it felt great to be in a city steeped in Catholic Tradition.

A picture of two Dominicans I snapped en route to the Catacombs.

These wonderful women brought back many special memories of my primary school years, having been taught by Dominicans. They were the ones that had instilled in me the value of working hard and seeing tasks through to the end. They taught me also, how to revere Holy objects as items meant for the use of  worshipping God, to respect Jesus in the Eucharist, and value and importance of the Sacrament of  Reconciliation. They taught me that Jesus loves me and that He is God. I was taught he Catechism from dedicated women who love Jesus and live their lives to serve Him. Their teaching has stayed with me always. These were special times for me.

Across the road in front of the Colosseum.

I found out that both novitiates at seminarians study in Rome. They attend colleges together. For some reason I just assumed they would study separately. Always wondered where nuns get their sensible shoes from.

The apartment we stayed in was just behind the Pantheon, smack bang  in the middle of  the shops where nuns priests and religious, purchase their finery. I learned too that our Papa’s tailor is to be found behind these shop doors! There are designated stores for the sale of ceboria, chalices, statues, albs, etc, etc. Just beautiful items to peruse. (More about these later.)

By the look of these clothes, they seem different, ‘set apart’, meant for a special purpose. Like those used by nurses. All that’s missing is a nun with an exemplary posture, wearing a veil.

I never realised just how many Orders of nuns there are. I saw a vast array of coloured habits, even a  lilac one! So much I still need to learn about and investigate.

I have to mention that we the nuns we came into contact with were all between the ages of eighteen and thirty five. This is so encouraging, when all you hear about in the secular press is about the decline in numbers of priests and nuns in the Catholic Tradition.

On the bus.

A longer veil.

Coming from England, it was refreshing to feel at one with the Catholic Religious culture on display. I still retain respect for nuns. Even more so as an adult Christian. I long to feel the peace that they radiate.

A Prayer to Mary for Our Nuns

(I found this prayer here)

     Oh Mary —Queen, Spouse, and Mother of God— we ask you to intercede with God for one of the Earth’s most valuable and needed resources, our nuns.

     May their contemplative prayer be a source of power and energy which leads the entire world to better see the face of God.

     May their service be cheerful, effective, rewarding, and Christ-like, because He has entrusted to their care His sick, His poor, His troubled brothers and sisters, and His children.

     May their purity and their burning love for Jesus give them unspeakable joy and ignite that same love in our hearts.

     May their detachment from material things and their attachment to the divine King and His Kingdom shower both them and us with eternal riches.

     May their obedience and fidelity to the Church and to God’s will give them strength, courage, peace, and contentment, and be an inspiration for all of us.

     In short, may they be perfect brides of Christ —and more and more like you.

Amen.

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