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In the life a member of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic, there must be daily dialogue with Christ in keeping with the example and in imitation of Holy Father Dominic, about whom we read that “he always spoke with God or about God,”  and that “during the hours of the night no one was more constant than he in vigils and prayers of all types: and that “very often it was his practice to spend the whole night in church...Hence he used to pray especially at night and persevered in vigils.” 

In addition to the the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, and daily meditation and devotion to the Saints, priests of Saint Dominic have traditional devotions and prayers from the Order of Preachers that punctuate the spiritual life of each member.


In the 1923 Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of the Secular Third Order of St. Dominic, a rule which is no longer binding, n. 30 states that priests in the Third Order should say once-a-day the Responsory O Spem Miram with the versicle and prayer in honor of Saint Dominic. Today, a chapter’s Particular Directory may obligate or encourage members to pray it daily. The O Spem Miram (O Wonderful Hope) is a responsory found in the both the Processionarium O.P. for use on the Feast of St. Dominic as well as in the Completorium O.P. for use in the procession to the altar of Saint Dominic (among other uses).


V. O Wonderful hope which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, promising after your departure to be helpful to your brethren.
R. Fulfill, O Father, what you have said, and help us by your prayers.

V. O you, who did shine illustrious by so many miracles, wrought in the bodies of the sick, bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls.
R. Fulfill, O Father, what you have said, and help us by your prayers.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. Fulfill, O Father, what you have said, and help us by your prayers.

V. Pray for us, O holy Father, St. Dominic.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Let us pray.
O God, who have enlightened Your Church by the eminent virtues and preaching of Saint Dominic, Your Confessor and our Father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be provided against all temporal necessities, and daily improve in all spiritual good. Thorough Jesus Christ, our Lord.
R. Amen.


Within the Order of Preachers, the antiphon O Lumen Ecclesiae (O Light of the Church) is sung after the final Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen) anthem at the end of Compline (Night Prayer). The O Lumen taken from the Magnificat antiphon for Vespers (Evening Prayer) on the Feast Day of Saint Dominic.

As the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia explain, not long after Saint Dominic’s death, the words of the O Lumen were written by Constantine of Orvieto as an antiphon. The antiphon likely began to be recited or sung at the conclusion of Compline after Dominic was canonized. This puts the nightly singing of the O Lumen in an important context: the recognition of Dominic’s heroic holiness. As Dominicans, we are each called to heroic holiness lived in and for Christ’s Church and so the O Lumen leads us to contemplate the virtues that united Dominic to Christ.


O light of the Church, teacher of truth,
rose of patience, ivory of chastity,
You freely poured forth the waters of wisdom,
preacher of grace, unite us with the blessed. (
T.P. Alleluia.)

V. Pray for us, O holy Father, St. Dominic.

R. That we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (T.P. Alleluia.)

V. Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech you, Almighty God: that we who are weighed down by the burden of our sin; may be relieved through the patronage of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our Father: Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.


As Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP explains, the Salve Regina, sung after Compline (Night Prayer), is not original to the Dominicans. The Dominican melody is part of a family of twelfth-century variants on a more ancient melody, of which the solemn Roman-Benedictine, the Carthusian, and others are also examples. The antiphon itself dates to the late eleventh century and was in common use first among Benedictines and Cistercians. The Cistercians already used it as processional chant, before or after chapter meetings, in the 1210s. But its use for a procession to the people’s part of the church is distinctively Dominican. Traditionally, in the Dominican Rite, the antiphon for the Virgin after Compline never varies, but is always the Salve Regina, but an alleluia is added to it and the verses following it during Easter time.


Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy;
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this exile
show to us the blessed fruit
  of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Permit me to sing your praises, O Holy Virgin. (T.P. Alleluia.)

R. Strengthen me against your enemies. (T.P. Alleluia.)

V. Let us pray.

Grant, Lord God, that we your servants may rejoice in unfailing health of mind and body and, through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, may we be set free present sorrow and come to enjoy eternal happiness: Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.


De Profundis

The Constitutions and Ordinations of the Order of Preachers (LCO, 72) state that, for the Dominican friars, the psalm De Profundis (Ps. 130) shall be recited at least once-a-day in common for deceased brothers and benefactors. This obligation is not binding on members of the Priestly Fraternity but a chapter’s Particular Directory may obligate or encourage members to pray it daily for the deceased priests of their own diocese, deceased members of the Priestly Fraternity, and for benefactors.


WEB:ME Translation

[V. Let us pray that the love of God may raise us beyond what we see to the unseen glory of His kingdom.]

V. Out of the depths I have cried to you, Lord. Lord, hear my voice.


R. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my petitions.

V. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?

R. But there is forgiveness with you, therefore you are feared.

V. I wait for the Lord. My soul waits. I hope in his word.

R. My soul longs for the Lord more than watchmen long for the morning,


V. More than watchmen for the morning. Israel, hope in the Lord,

R. For there is loving kindness with the Lord. Abundant redemption is with him.

V. He will redeem Israel from all their sins.

R. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. Let us pray (for these our departed brethren, N. and N.).

O God, Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to your departed servants the remission of all their sins, so that through our devout supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.

V. May they rest in peace. R. Amen.


As Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP explains, the best known Compline (Night Prayer) procession is that of the O Lumen. The second-best known is the interpolation between the Salve and O Lumen of a procession to the Holy Rosary Altar or shrine, while singing the Litany of Loreto. This procession is early modern in origin. The Litany concluded with the singing of the prose Inviolata and the collect.


Thou art inviolate, undefiled, and chaste, O Mary.
Thou hast been made the resplendent gate of heave,
O loving and dearest mother of Christ!
Accept our devout hymns of praise.
That our minds and bodies may be pure,
Devoted hearts and lips now implore thee.
Through thy sweet sounding prayers,
Grant us pardon forever.
O kind one, who alone didst remain inviolate. (
T. P. Alleluia.)

V. After childbirth a virgin you still remained undefiled. (T. P. Alleluia.)
R. Mother of God, intercede for us. (T. P. Alleluia.)

V. Let us pray.
Protect Thy servants, O Lord, with the help of Your prace, and out of regard for the confidence they have in the patronage of Blessed Mary ever-virgin, may You keep them safe from all their enemies. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Canticle of the Passion

As the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia explain, Dominican spirituality is rooted in the Passion of Christ in all its aspects. On the Cross, the meaning of the Incarnation and the Redemption achieve their clearest expression: “for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). In this moment of the Passion, man knows the depths of God’s love for him as an individual and as a member of the human race. This is the truth Dominic set out to preach to the Albigensian heretics; this is the truth Dominicans set out to preach to the world today.

To preach this truth, however, one must first contemplate it, savor it, and drink deeply from the wellspring of salvation. And so the Dominican finds his or her home at the foot of Cross. The fruits of such meditation may find voice in prayer, such as these fervent phrases by St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Cross is my sure safety. It is the Cross that I ever adore. The Lord’s Cross is with me always. The Lord’s Cross is my refuge.”

Dominicans throughout history have demonstrated remarkable devotion to the Passion of Christ. St. Catherine of Siena is probably the most well-known example, as she bore the stigmata and spoke often and eloquently of Christ’s Precious Blood. Approximately eighty Dominicans are considered stigmatists, including Bl. Lucy of Narni and Bl. Matthew Carrieri.

St. Catherine de Ricci is another Dominican whose veneration of the Passion was so intense and personal that she received the stigmata. The “Canticle of the Passion” or “Passion Verses” is said to have been revealed to St. Catherine de Ricci, a Dominican tertiary, by Our Lady who desired to spread it through the convent as a form of prayer and contemplation supremely pleasing to our Lord. It was placed among the regular devotions and forms of prayer peculiar to the Dominicans and is today often prayed on Fridays in Lent.


My friends and loved ones * draw near to me and stand aloof.
I am shut up and I cannot come forth;
* mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction.
And my sweat became like drops of blood
* falling down on the ground.
For dogs have compassed me
* the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me.
I gave my back to the smiters
* and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair
I hid not my face from shame
* and from those who spit on me.
I am feeble and sore broken
* I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
The soldiers platted a crown of thorns
* and put it on my head.
They pierced my hands and my feet
* I may tell all my bones.
They gave me poison to eat
* and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
All they that see me laugh me to scorn
* they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.
They look and stare upon me
* they part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Into your hands I command my spirit
* redeem me, Lord, God of truth.
Remember your servant, O Lord,
* when you come into your kingdom.
Jesus cried with a loud voice
* yielded up the spirit.
The mercy of the Lord
* I will sing for ever.
Surely he hath borne our griefs
* and carried our sorrows.
He was wounded for our transgressions
* he was bruised for our iniquities
All we like sheep gave gone astray
* we have turned every one to his own way.
And the Lord hath laid on him
* the iniquities of us all.
Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord?
* arise, and do not cast us off for ever.
Behold, God is my Savior
* I will trust, and not be afraid.
We ask you, come to help your servants
* whom you have redeemed by your precious blood.

V. Have mercy on us, O benign Jesus.
R. Who in Thy clemency didst suffer for us.

V. Let us pray.
Look down, we beseech Thee, O Lord, on this Thy family for which Our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be delivered into the hands of the wicked, and suffer the torments of the Cross.
R. Amen.


The O Sacrum Convivium (O Sacred Banquet) was composed as an antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas. It is traditionally prayed by Dominicans preceding the hours of the Divine Office when prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.



V. O sacred banquet, *
R. At which Christ is consumed, the memory of his passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us.

V. You have given them bread from Heaven.
R. Containing in itself all delight.

V. [Let us pray]
O God, we possess a lasting memorial of your passion in this wondrous sacrament. Grant that we may so venerate the mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always feel within ourselves the effects of your redemption. You who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.


Images on this page courtesy of Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP (Flickr)

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