Tuesday, November 22, 2011
St. Cecilia and the Dominican Order
Today is the feast of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. She has a very old connection with the Dominican Order stemming back to the time of St. Dominic Himself. In the Lives of the Brethren, we read:
"Once when St Dominic was passing the night in the church in prayer, about midnight he went out and entered the dormitory. After looking at his brethren he resumed his prayer at the entrance of the dormitory. While standing erect as he prayed, he chanced to glance to the other end of the dormitory and saw three very comely ladies advancing towards him, of whom the central figure seemed to be a lady more dignified and of higher rank than the . others. One of the two attendants carried a beautiful and resplendent vessel of holy water, and the other a sprinkler, which she presented to the third who walked between them. This one sprinkled the brethren and blessed them, but as she passed along doing so there was one friar whom she neither blessed nor sprinkled. St Dominic observed this attentively, and noting whom it was, followed the lady as far as the lamp which hung in the middle of the dormitory: there he threw himself at her feet and began earnestly to beg her to say who she was, although he knew very well all the while. Now at that time the beautiful and devout anthem, the Salve Regina, was not sung in the convents of our brethren and sisters in Rome, but merely said kneeling. Then the lady addressed St Dominic and said: 'I am she whom you greet every evening, and when you say "Turn then our Advocate," I prostrate myself before my Son for the preservation of this Order.' St Dominic then enquired who her companions might be, whereunto she made answer: 'One of them is Cecilia and the other Catherine.' Upon this St Dominic made further enquiry touching the brother whom she had passed by, and why she had neither sprinkled nor blest him with the rest: at this she answered: 'Simply because he was unworthy of it.' Then she resumed sprinkling and blessing the remaining friars, and went away." (Lives of the Brethren, part 3, ch. 7)
The Catherine described above is St. Catherine of Alexandria whom we'll celebrate this Friday.
Please keep the Nashville Dominican Sisters in your prayers today as today is their patronal feast (Congregation of St. Cecilia).