Today, August 8, is the Memorial of St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans.
St. Dominic is one of the best known saints of the Western Church, often thought of in the same breath as St. Francis of Assisi. The Dominicans have had an immeasurable impact on the life of the Church around the world. A Dominican priest, Fr. John Boll, OP, presided at Margaret’s and my nuptial Mass. Another Dominican, Fr. Joachim Culotta, OP, was my confessor for a number of years when I lived in Memphis. St. Peter’s Church, the oldest Catholic Church in Memphis, is staffed by the Dominicans. The Dominicans had a presence in east Tennessee, as well, and St. Dominic’s Church in Kingsport is named in honor of their service.
St. Dominic was known for his preaching and his success in combating heresy, especially that of the Albigensians, who believed that all matter was evil and that the devil was the creator of the material world. Hence, they denied the Incarnation. St. Dominic was instrumental in converting back to the true faith many who had fallen away. Legend has it that Dominic’s mother, when she was pregnant with her saintly son, dreamed of a dog with a torch in his mouth that set the world on fire with the Gospel. St. Dominic’s symbol is a dog holding a torch in its mouth. St. Dominic and his friars have succeeded in setting the world ablaze with their preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Besides St. Dominic himself, some of the greater Dominican saints include St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena (a Dominican tertiary), St. Rose of Lima (also a Dominican tertiary), St. Martin de Porres, a lay Dominican brother and, of course, St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian of the Church since St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Paul himself.
Pope Innocent V was a Dominican. It is said that Pope Innocent continued to wear his white Dominican habit during the years of his brief pontificate and that this inspired his successors to wear white in his honor, he was so much esteemed. This is said to be why the pope wears an all white cassock today.
Lord, bless the Dominicans and the good work they do.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.