top of page


Every May 8th, the entire Order of Preachers recalls the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the whole of the Order. Dominican life is marked by Marian devotion—we wear her scapular, pray her Rosary, and daily seek her intercession. She is the model Dominican—one who contemplated the Word in her heart, and who lived “to praise, to bless, and to preach” God’s goodness. Blessed Humbert of Romans in his Commentary on the Constitutions of the Order of Preachers states: “From the events surrounding the beginning of our Order many reasons can be adduced why the Blessed Virgin Mary herself may be considered the special patroness of our Order. From what I have heard with my own ears and from the many accounts in the Lives of the Brethren, it seems that she is our special Mother, bringing forth, advancing, and defending the Order whose purpose is to praise, to bless, and to preach her Son. She is our Mother by what she brings forth, by what she advances, and by what she defends. Blessed Dominic commended the Order to her special protection in his prayers.” Our Lady, Queen of Preachers, pray for us!


The following vision was told by Blessed Cecilia Caesarini, OP and the nuns of San Sisto who were told it by Saint Dominic:

One night, after prolonging his prayers until midnight, [St. Dominic] left the church and came to the dormitory, where he completed what he had come 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 the brethren without sprinkling him or blessing him. Blessed Dominic observed this and took note of the brother they had neglected.


Then rising from his prayer and walking as far as the lamp which hung from the middle of the dormitory, he fell at the lady’s feet and began to entreat her to tell him who she was, although he already knew. At that time the beautiful and devotional antiphon Salve Regina was not being sung but only recited kneeling, by the brothers and sisters in Rome. When the lady answered, she 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 this Order.” Then Blessed Dominic asked her about her companions. “One is Cecilia and the other Catherine,” she answered. 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 color of sapphire. As Blessed Dominic looked around, he could see religious of all the orders but his own around 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 the 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.” Then 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 he asked him again, “Do you still wish to see your Order?” and again he answered “Yes, Lord.” 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 the 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 were 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.

On May 8th of each year, it is customary for members of the Order to prayer together this prayer of consecration.
Prayer Dedicating the Order of Preachers to the Blessed Virgin Mary
     Virgin Mother Mary, with trust we approach you. We, your preachers, fly to you who believed in the words sent from heaven and pondered them in your heart. We stand close around you, who are always present to the gathering of apostles.
     In you the Word was made flesh, that same Word which we receive, contemplate, praise together and preach. Therefore, under your guidance we today devote ourselves anew to the ministry of the Word. Furthermore, we declare to you that, hearing with you the Word within ourselves and anointed by the Spirit, whose sacred vessel you preëminently are, we are consecrated in the name of Jesus Christ to the evangelization of the world.
     With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you understood the mystery of the Word. Through you we, too, are able to perceive the presence of that same Word in the history of our time, so that we may finally contemplate him face to face.
     Through you the Father sent his Son into the world that he might save it. Through you we will be powerful in the sight of your people, becoming witnesses of that truth which frees and of that love which unites.
     To this place we have brought our needs and here we ponder them. Do you, Mother, give us strength and preserve the harmony of our family, so that what was begun by our profession may be brought to completion by our love for one another, for the salvation of the world and to the praise and glory of God. Amen.


—Mass Formula for May 8: Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PDF)

—Dominican Hymn Most Pure and Lowly Virgin, suitable for May 8 (PDF)

bottom of page