St. Dominic’s 800th birthday in heaven

“The Death of St Dominic,” Convent of San Esteban, Salamanca, Spain; photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
Today — August 6, 2021 — marks the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order. Since the Thomistic Institute is an apostolate of the Order, that makes today a very important anniversary for all of us. We wanted to share with you the beautiful story of the death of this great saint, taken from the testimony of an eyewitness, Bonaventure of Verona, the prior of the Dominican priory in Bologna where St. Dominic died. It was taken down under oath as part of St. Dominic’s process of canonization in 1233.
An account of the death of St. Dominic According to Bonaventure of Verona, an eyewitness
[Dominic came to the Order’s priory in Bologna] around the end of July . . . .  Brother Dominic came back greatly fatigued because of the excessive heat. Although he was very tired, he spoke with the witness [Bonaventure of Verona], who was then a new prior, and brother Ralph for a great part of the night concerning affairs of the Order. Since the prior wanted him to sleep, he asked brother Dominic to go and rest and not rise for Matins during the night. The holy man did not acquiesce to the suggestion but entered the church and prayed throughout the night. Moreover, he was present at Matins. . . .  It was obvious that he then began to weaken in the illness which sent him to the Lord.
[W]hen Dominic fell sick he did not want to lie on a bed, but on a woolen sack. He had the novices called to him and, with the sweetest words and a lively zeal, encouraged them and exhorted them to good. He so patiently sustained this illness and others that he always seemed to be cheerful and agreeable.
While Dominic was seriously ill, they carried him to a healthier place, [the monastery and church of] St. Mary of the Hills. When he believed he was dying, he called the prior and brothers. About twenty brothers went there. . . . After they assembled about him, lying a full length, he began to preach and delivered a very good and moving sermon. He believed that they then anointed him. He then heard from some that the monk who was rector of [St. Mary of the Hills] said that if [Dominic] died there he would not permit him to be carried away but would have him buried in the same church. . .  Blessed Dominic . . . replied: “God forbid that I be buried except under the feet of my brethren. Carry me outside to die on the road so that you may bury me in our own church.”
Then he was taken up and carried back to the [Dominican priory] church of St. Nicholas in Bologna, although it was feared that he might die on the way. After an hour there, he had this witness [Bonaventure] called and said to him: “Prepare yourselves.” And when the prior and the other brothers had solemnly prepared themselves for the commendation of a soul and had gathered about him, Dominic said to the prior and brothers: “Wait a little while.” While waiting, the prior said to him: “Father, you know how you leave us desolate and sad. Remember to pray for us to God.” The blessed friar Dominic with hands raised to heaven, prayed: “Holy Father, Thou knowest how I have freely remained steadfast in Thy will, and have guarded and kept those whom Thou hast given me. I recommend them to Thee. Keep and guard them.” And the witness said that he had heard from the brothers that when they asked him concerning themselves he answered them: “I will be more useful and fruitful to you after death than I was in life.” Then, after a short interval, Dominic commanded the prior and brothers: “Begin.” And they solemnly began the office for the commendation of a soul. And, as he believes, the brother, Blessed Dominic himself said the office with them, because he moved his lips. While the office was being said, he gave up his spirit. They firmly believed that the spirit left him when these words were said: “Come to his assistance, ye Saints of God, come forth to meet him, ye Angels of the Lord: receiving his soul: offering it in the sight of the most High.”
St. Dominic died at the Dominican priory of St. Nicholas, in Bologna, at six o’clock in the evening, on Friday, August 6, 1221. He was fifty-one years old.
Prayer to St. Dominic
Glorious St. Dominic,
what a wonderful hope
you gave to those who wept for you
at the hour of your death,
promising that after your death
you would be helpful to your brethren.
Fulfill, Father, what you have said
and help us by your prayers.
You shone on the bodies of the sick
by so many miracles,
Bring us the help of Christ to heal the sickness of our souls.
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.

***Taken from an email from the Thomistic Institute of the Dominican House of Studies. Find lots of great content here.

Another excellent post from a fine journal worth reading:

St. Dominic, Hound of the Lord, pray for us.

God bless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s