Friday, March 31, 2006

Saint Dominic

Dominic was born in Spain of a wealthy family. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother was a very holy woman, Blessed Joan of Aza.

When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle who was a priest, guided him all through his school years. After years of study, Dominic became a priest.

He lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other good priests. God had amazing plans for Dominic. He began a new religious order called the Order of Preachers or "Dominicans," after Saint Dominic. The Dominicans preached the faith to the people. They helped correct false teachings called heresies.

It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that some people had formed a group and were going about teaching people things that were not true. This was doing them great harm. Dominic felt such pity for all the people who had joined the group and wanted to help them.

The Dominicans conquered that dangerous heresy with prayer, especially by praying the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices.

Once someone asked Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. "The only book I use is the book of love," he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He begged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. Dominic and his preachers spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.

Saint Dominic was a brilliant preacher, while Saint. Francis of Assisi was a humble beggar. They were very close friends. Their two orders, the Dominicans and Franciscans helped Christians become holier. Dominic also founded an order of nuns to care for young girls and the Lay Tertiaries, persons of both sexes living in the world.Dominic's friars opened centers in Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Rome and Bologna (Italy). He lived to see his order spread to Poland, Scandinavia and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford (in England).

Dominic died in Bologna (Italy) on August 7, 1221. His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX and a few years later he proclaimed Dominic a Saint. Saint Dominic’s feast day is celebrated on August 8th.

O God, let St. Dominic help Your Church by his merits and teaching. May he who was an outstanding preacher of truth become a most generous intercessor for us.

Saint Catherine of Siena

Catherine was born at Siena, Tuscany in Italy. Catherine was the youngest in a family of twenty-five children. When she was six years old Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her mother and father wanted her to be happily married. But, Catherine wished only to be a nun.

To make herself as unattractive as possible, she cut off her long, beautiful hair. Her parents were very upset and scolded her often. They also gave her the most difficult housework to do. But Catherine did not change her mind. Finally, her parents stopped bothering her and allowed her to become a nun.

Catherine was very honest and straightforward with Jesus and scolded Him when He was not around to help her in her struggles and temptations. Jesus told her that because He was in her heart she was able to win her struggles by His grace.

One night when the people of Siena were out on the streets celebrating, the little baby Jesus and His mother Mary appeared to Catherine who was praying alone in her room. Mary took Catherine's hand and the infant Jesus put a ring on the saint's finger and she became his bride.
In those days the Church had many problems. There were fights going on all over Italy. Catherine wrote letters to kings and queens. She even went to beg rulers to make peace with the pope and to avoid wars.

Catherine asked the pope to leave Avignon, France, and return to Rome to rule the Church as it was God's will. He listened to Catherine and did as she said.

Catherine never forgot that Jesus was in her heart. Through her, Jesus helped the sick people she nursed and comforted the prisoners she visited in jail.

This great Saint died in Rome in 1380 when she was just thirty-three. She is the patroness of Italy, her country. Hundreds of years later Saint Catherine was named a Doctor of the Church. She received this great honor because she served Jesus' Church boldly during her short lifetime. Her feast day is April 29th.

O God, You caused St. Catherine to shine with Divine love in the contemplation of the Lord's Passion and in the service of Your Church. By her help grant that Your people, associated in the mystery of Christ, may ever exult in the revelation of His glory.