THE “ORDER OF SAINTS”
Two great ends present themselves to every religious Order. The first is the glory of God, the second is the the salvation of souls. That an order is so constituted as to accomplish the former is proclaimed to the world when the Church gives its formal approbation to the Rule and Constitutions of that Order. One criterion of the work it does toward the fulfillment of the second end—the salvation of souls—is its success in the making of saints. And in this respect, so singularly blessed has been the Order of Preachers, that the Order has been called the “Order of Saints.”
One of the characteristics of the Dominican Order, however, is that of keeping private the eminent sanctity of its deceased members. The superiors of the Order were often criticized by the people and they were reproved by the Supreme Pontiff, Gregory IX, for not bringing St. Dominic’s name before the Holy See for canonization. And as Mother Augusta Theodosia Drane records in her works on St. Dominic, the answer of one of the friars, when questioned on the subject, may be taken as a sample of the spirit of the whole body. “What need for canonization?” he said; “the holiness of Master Dominic is known to God; it matters little if it be declared publicly by man.” Thus it has always been; but God seems to delight in having His faithful servants held before the world as examples.
DOMINICAN TERTIARY SAINTS
St. Catherine of Siena
Patroness and Protectress of the
Lay and Priestly Fraternities of Saint Dominic
All members of the Priestly Fraternity have a special devotion towards St. Catherine of Siena, renowned daughter of the Order, faithful servant and doctor of Holy Church, as well as the heavenly patroness and protectoress of the Lay and Priestly Fraternities of our Order in this world.
Catherine of Siena was born on March 25, 1347; and thirty-three years later; after a mysterious agony of three months, she placed her racked body upon a wooden board and died. In those short thirty-three years she made history. If the tenacious love and admiration of her disciples, the enthusiastic veneration of Popes and peoples, the unstinted respect and praise of rulers, leaders and the great mass of Catholic and non-Catholic Christianity have any meaning in the light of historical greatness, then the Siennese Mystic is one of the greatest among the women of history. Her sanctity and her heroic greatness are all of a piece. Yet we are apt to overlook her great deeds by ascribing everything she did to that vaguely-sensed thing which, for want of a better name we call, mystic-mindedness. It is well to remember that she was intensely human and was raised to the mighty stature of sainthood because she performed great deeds in a spirit of magnanimity, directed by the proper motives of love of God and neighbor. True greatness is always human; and if it cannot bear to have its humanity exposed, if it cannot show its soul to mankind, then it is not greatness at all but something shallow, petty, insignificant.
(Dominic Urban Corigliano, OP, †1980)
St. Louis de Montfort
Priest of the Third Order of St. Dominic
When Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673–1716) visited Rome to piously venerate the sepulchre of St. Peter, he was instructed by Pope Clement XI not to take up the preaching of the evangelical truth to foreign nations—as he wished—but rather to successfully restore Christian virtues in his own country of France.
Therefore most willingly complying with this exhortation, he returned to France, and during the whole course of his life he left nothing undone in order that he might respond effectively and eagerly to the invitation and counsel received from the Sovereign Pontiff. He traveled through all sections of his country several times, often on foot; the apostolic traveler visited cities, towns, hamlets, and even solitary villages; and wherever this messenger of divine truth and most zealous inciter to virtue passed, there a most favorable restoration of Christian 1ife was observed; discords were settled, dissensions reconciled, hatreds extinguished; faith awakened lived again, and charity produced plentiful and salutary fruits.
One must consider his burning love towards Christ and his warm, solid, and true devotion toward the Mother of God. God was his all; wherefore he held nothing more desirable, nothing sweeter and clearer than to discover Him in all things, to know Him and love Him in all things; he desired to dedicate himself entirely to carrying out God’s will and to increase His glory. When he preached to the people, that charity which burned within him so shone forth in the clarity of his expression and the brilliance of his imagery that he forcefully drew all to himself; and these souls thus won over to himself he would call back and almost compel to turn from error to truth, from vice to penitence, from indifference and distaste of heavenly things to a wholesome zeal and vehement desire to practice virtue.
Therefore all Christians have much which they can learn and imitate in him, especially in these days when Catholic faith is languishing, morality is declining or being destroyed, and when with grave common ruin discords are gradually increasing; nor does authority—as it should do—restrain or control these discords, nor does charity temper, reconcile or moderate them.
Oh that the delightful and brilliant image of this saint of heaven may return before the eyes and to the minds of all, and once again teach men that they are born not for earth but for heaven; and so excite them to obey Christian precepts, to embrace fraternal harmony, and finally to possess that virtue, adorned with which they may some day with the inspiration and assistance of divine grace enjoy eternal beatitude in heaven.
(Adapt. from Pius XII’s Homily for St. Louis de Montfort’s Canonization, 1947)
St. Zdislava of Lemberk
Laywoman of the Third Order of St. Dominic
St. Zdislava of Lemberk (c. 1220-1252) was a wife, mother, and one of the earliest lay Dominicans. Being raised by a faithful mother, she too was devout from a young age and even tried to run away to become a hermit at the age of seven. As she grew, she matured through a life of prayer and generosity, and it is because of this that she is mainly remembered in the Czech Republic. At a young
age, St. Zdislava was married to Havel, Count of Lemberk. He was a good man, but he tested Zdislava’s patience by asking her to dress in a worldly manner and join in his somewhat indulgent feasts. For her part, she too tested his patience, but this with regard to her generosity to the poor. She provided generously for the poor, even working as a nurse tending to them. It is said that one night when Havel went off to bed, he discovered that his bed was missing. Zdislava had given the bed to a poor man, leaving only the crucifix in its place. This changed his heart, and he began to support her charitable work. The support from her husband led St. Zdislava to found two Dominican priories in what is now the Czech Republic. During her childhood, she had gone with her mother to serve Queen Kunegunda, who probably first exposed her to the Dominicans. It is possible that Zdislava met St. Hyacinth and Bl. Ceslaus, and she eventually became a lay Dominican. She continued to live a devout life, receiving Holy Communion nearly every day, a rare practice in the beginning of the 13th century. She also had visions and worked many miracles (including raising someone from the dead). St. Zdislava is a wonderful example of faith, perseverance, and sanctity in the secular world. She was canonized a saint in 1995 by Pope John Paul II. As a patron saint, she is asked for her intercession in difficult marriages and for people ridiculed for their piety.
(Text courtesy of the Province of St. Joseph's Dominican Saints 101)
St. Rose of Lima
Laywoman of the Third Order of St. Dominic
St. Rose of Lima (1586-1617) was the first canonized saint of the Americas (1671). Baptized Isabel, she was soon given the name “Rose” after a rose was found hovering over her head when she was only three months old. She is known for her purity of life, severe mortifications, and her supernatural patience. In a time when so many people wonder how such great saints could have treated their
bodies so poorly, we may question why the liturgical texts for her feast day constantly refer to her “pleasing fragrance” when she in fact led a life of such great and often bloody mortification. Yet, in the lauds hymn for her feast, we see that she is hailed as “scattering everywhere the perfume of virtues.” She was one of the few chosen souls in the modern era to be called to a life of severe penance. She wanted to become a nun, but her father forbade it, so she instead entered the Third Order of St. Dominic while living in her parents' home. In her twentieth year she donned the habit of a tertiary and took a vow of perpetual virginity. She only allowed herself to sleep two hours a night at most, so that she had more hours to devote to prayer. She donned a heavy crown made of silver, with small spikes on the inside, in emulation of the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ. While St. John Vianney is noted as having said that he wished he had tempered his mortification a little, when St. Rose had the thought to give up her penitential bed, our Lord appeared to her and said, “Remember, My child, that I was not content with merely lying on stone and wood; My feet and hands were pierced, and I bore unspeakable sufferings till the very moment when I gave up My spirit. Think of this, My child, when you are inclined to yield.” While we aren’t all called to this type of penance, St. Rose does remind us of the value and merit of mortification, which can often be carried out in small ways. For through it, she rejoices now in heaven: “Rejoicing now the prize is won, the great reward for penance done; she gladly sings the anthem new as Lamb of God she follows true.” (Vespers hymn for St. Rose)
(Text courtesy of the Province of St. Joseph's Dominican Saints 101)
Dominican Martyrs of Vietnam
St. Dominic Cam
St. Tomás Du Viet Dinh
St. Thomas Khuong
St. Dominic Tuoc
St. Augustin Schoeffler, MEP
—Priests of the Third Order of St. Dominic
The Vatican has estimated that there were between 130,000 and 300,000 Vietnamese Martyrs between the 15th
and 20th centuries. Whether it was during the Church’s original missionary attempts or during the various political persecutions, numerous martyrs watered the soil of faith in Vietnam with their blood. In 1988, Saint John Paul II canonized 117 martyrs who could be named. This included a large number of Dominican bishops, priests, and Third Order members, as well as members of the Confraternity of the Rosary. In addition to the priests of the Third Order listed above, lay members of the Third Order include: St. Augustine Huy, St. Augustine Moi, St. Dominic Dat, St. Dominic Pham Kham, St. Dominic Uy, St. Joseph Canh, St. Joseph Khang, St. Joseph Uyen, St. Francis Xavier Mau, St. Thomas De, St. Thomas Toán, St. Dominic An Kham, St. Stephen Vihn, St. Luke Cai Trong Pham, and St. Joseph Pham Thong.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Layman of the Third Order of St. Dominic
Lorenzo Ruiz (c. 1600-1637) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. Lorenzo’s life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that “he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him.”
At that time, three Dominican priests were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Fr. Shiwozuka, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa (Taiwan), but, he reported, “I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there.” In Japan they were soon found out, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. There they were subjected to unspeakable tortures. The superior, Fr. Gonzalez, died after some days. Both Fr. Shiwozuka and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails, but both were brought back to courage by their companions. In Lorenzo’s moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, “I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life.” The interpreter was noncommittal, but in the ensuing hours Lorenzo felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. Still alive, the three priests were then beheaded. According to Latin missionary accounts sent back to Manila, Lorenzo Ruiz declared these words upon his death: “I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God; Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer.” In 1987, Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.
(Text courtesy of Franciscan Media)