Friday, April 13, 2007

The Salve Regina and the Dominican Order

This is a repost, but it bears repeating.

From "Life of St. Dominic," Chapter XII, by Henri Lacordaire

“One evening, Dominic was praying in the church until midnight, at which hour he entered the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor, when chancing to turn his eyes to the other end, he beheld three women approaching, the center on being the most beautiful and venerable. One of her companions carried a magnificent vase, and the other an aspersorium, which she presented to her mistress, who sprinkled and blessed all the Friars save one. Dominic, after noting who the Friar was, advanced to meet the woman, who had already reached the middle of the corridor, near the lamp suspended in that spot. He prostrated himself at her feet, and although he had recognized her, entreated her to tell him her name. At that same time, the beautiful and devotional anthem of the Salve Regina was not yet sung in the monastery and nunnery of the Order in Rome, but only recited, kneeling, after Compline. The woman replied, ‘I am she whom you invoke every eve, and when you say, Eia ergo, advocata nostra, I prostrate myself before my Son, entreating Him to protect this Order.’ The blessed Dominic then asked who her two companions were, on which the Blessed Virgin said, ‘One is Cecilia, and the other Catherine.’ The blessed Dominic then inquired the reason for her omitting to bless one of the Friars, and she replied, ‘Because he was not in a becoming posture.’ Then having finished her round, and sprinkled and blessed the Friars, she disappeared. The blessed Dominic returned to the spot where he had been praying, and hardly had he recommenced his devotions when he was raised in spirit to the presence of God. He beheld the Lord, having at his right hand the Blessed Virgin, who seemed to Dominic to be robed in a sapphire-colored mantle. Looking around and discerning Religious of every Order but his own, he began to weep bitterly, not daring to approach our Lord or his Blessed Mother. Our Lady motioned him to draw near, but he dared not comply until encouraged by our Lord. Then he approached and prostrated himself weeping bitterly. The Lord said, ‘Why weepest thou so bitterly?’ and he replied, ‘Because I see members of every Order but my own.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Dost thou wish to see thy Order?’ He tremblingly replied, ‘Yes, Lord;’ and the Lord rested His hand on the shoulder of the Blessed Virgin, saying to Dominic, ‘I have confided thy Order to my mother.’ Then He added, ‘Wilt thou indeed see thy Order?’ to which Dominic replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then the Blessed Virgin unfolding her mantle in Dominic’s sight, so that it covered the whole of the celestial abode, he beheld beneath it a multitude of his children. The blessed Father prostrated himself to render thanks to God and to our Lady, and the vision disappeared. As he recovered consciousness, the bell was ringing for Matins, and when they were ended, he convoked a chapter of his Friars, and discoursed to them on the love and veneration they ought to have to the Blessed Virgin, and among other things he related this vision. At the close of the chapter, he privately took aside the brother whom Our Lady had not blessed, and gently asked him if he had not kept back something in the general confession he had made. He replied, ‘Holy Father, my conscience accuses me of nothing, save that last night, when I awoke, I found I had been sleeping with no garments on.’ At Saint-Sixtus the blessed Dominic related his vision to Sister Cecilia and the others, as if it had been beheld by another person, but the Friars present made a sign to the sisters that it was Dominic who had seen it. It was on this occasion that the blessed Dominic enjoined that, wherever they slept, the Friars should wear their girdle and their sandals.”


  1. *sigh*...just when I thought I wasn't really meant to join a Third Order you post this....hmmmm.....

  2. I'd been wondering how you were coming with that discernment...

  3. I don't know Mark. In my heart I KNOW I am a Dominican but I am so busy with work and all my church activities (pastoral council, CWL, Adoration, RCIA catechist, etc.) and my husband does like to actually have a conversation with me once in awhile, plus I have to clean my house sometimes...
    We hope to move in a few years to a bigger centre and I hope there will be a 3rd order there to join or maybe I can start one?

  4. Yes, you can start one. Just inquire at that time with Mark or your parish, or join one.

  5. Angela,

    I was fascinated to learn that Dr. Peter Kwasniewski and his wife were allowed by the Washington DC Chapter to begin the Dominican formation program, and make their 3 year profession, while living in Austria! This is thrilling to me, as it is implementing what JPII and Vat II spoke of, utillizing the "means of social communication." Certainly an "electronic community" is not a substitute for face-to-face community, but in the case where it is simply not possible, the alternative is no longer prohibitive. Certainly you understand this, for being present on the internet gains one a "community" of souls which one grows close to, even if we never meet this side of heaven face to face.

    Should this experiment be extended in the near future, which is an exciting possibility, here is what I think it would offer to isolated members: a participation in the charism and associated graces bestowed on the order, and a rather straight forward and simple rule under which to organize one's prayer life and study.

    Here's a recommendation I was given, which proved wise. If it seems impossible now, cherish the desire, but give it over to God, and if it is the Lord's will, the desire will not grow cold, but grow over time, and He will make a way for it to happen. that time may be in a future where the desire is still only a faint but cherished spark. That spark, that desire, to be united with the Church in a communion that an order offers, is a good and holy desire; may Jesus our Lord give it growth in the way and time which is His plan.