On this day: All Saints of the Dominican Order

by Gerelyn Hollingsworth

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On this day we celebrate the Feast of All Saints of the Dominican Order.

Click here for a Litany of the Dominican Saints and Blesseds.

In Short Lives of the Dominican Saints, by A Sister of the Congregation of St. Catharine of Siena, 1901, we read:

"It may not be without interest to record in this place the number of Saint Dominic's children who, up to the present date, A.D. 1900, have received the honours of canonization and beatification. The canonized Saints of the Order are 14 in number; its Beati, 215. By far the majority of these belong, of course, to the First or Great Order; but the Second Order of cloistered women has 10 representatives, and the Third Order, 66. We may add to the figures given above, Blessed Jane of Aza, the mother of our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, 58 members of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, beatified with our Japanese Martyrs, and 7 Martyrs belonging to the Dominican Mission of Eastern Tonquin."

"The General Chapter of Valencia caused a list to be drawn up of the martyrs of the Order between the years 1234 and 1335, and it was found to contain 13,370 names. In the sixteenth century alone, 26,000 of the children of Saint Dominic gave their lives for the faith; and an author writing in the year 1882 states as an ascertained fact, that, from the foundation of the Order down to our own day, there has never been a single decade of years without some addition to the blood-stained roll of its martyrs. The century now closing has furnished its quota in the far East, where the chronicle of the Dominican Mission in Tonquin may be said to be written in blood.

"But there are other martyrdoms besides that of blood, and who shall reckon up the number of Saint Dominic's children whose lives have been consumed for the aim and object of his Order, the salvation of the souls for whom Christ died, in missionary labours, in the pulpit, the confessional, the professor's chair, the hospital, or the school, or in the humbler sphere of domestic labour in the service of their Community, or again in the cloistered seclusion of their Convents, by the secret crucifixion of the spirit and the holy apostleship of intercessory prayer and suffering?" Page 314.

For a modern look at the Order of Preachers, see The Lord as Their Portion: The Story of the Religious Orders and How They Shaped Our World, by Elizabeth Rapley, Eerdmans, 2011. Search term: Dominicans. The book provides information about Dominican nuns as well as about friars. The author explains many aspects of the Dominican Order's long history, including its early emphasis on higher learning, its role in the Inquisition, and its relationship with other orders.

A very happy feast day to all Dominicans!

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