10 June 2010

Blessed John Dominic

10 JUNE 2010. Today the Dominican Order celebrates the feast day (optional memorial) of Blessed John Dominic, a fourteenth century friar and bishop.

Although John had little education and suffered from a speech impediment that caused him to stammer and stutter, he possessed a tremendous drive to improve himself, overcome his obstacles, and serve our Lord. He also had a great memory, and later in life became a great theologian and preacher.

Born in A.D. 1365 at Florence, Italy, Blessed John spent a great deal of his youth in or around the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella. He joined the Order at the age of 17 despite his lack of education and hi speech impediment, even while the Dominicans are scholars and preachers.

After entering the Order, Blessed John studied in Pisa and Florence and received a degree from the University of Paris. As a priest, Blessed John once believed that his speech impediment would threaten his vocation, but it was cured through the intervention of Saint Catherine of Siena. Blessed John spent 12 years in Venice as a preacher.


In A.D. 1392, Blessed John found himself to be the Vicar provincial serving in Rome. At the time, Blessed Raymond of Capua was the Master General of the Order, and he helped rebuild the Order after the ravages of the Plague and helped return regular discipline to the Order's members.


Blessed John founded Dominican convents in Venice (A.D. 1388 and A.D. 1394), Fiesole (A.D. 1406), Chioggia, Citta de Castello, Cortona, Lucca, and Fabriano, and was a correspondent of Blessed Clara Gambacorta, advising her of how to restore discipline to Dominican nuns of the day. For a time Blessed John lost papal support because of support for the Dominican White Penitents in Venice, but was later welcomed back and resumed his work in the Order.

Most importantly, Blessed John worked to provide a Christian education to young people. He opposed pagan ideas that were taking hold in the humanism of his day and was a confessor and advisor to Pope Gregory XII.

Blessed John was made Cardinal of San Sisto in A.D. 1407 and Archbishop of Ragusa in A.D. 1408. In these roles, he helped to heal the Western Schism and convinced Pope Gregory XII to call the Council of Constance, and to abdicate the papacy causing the anti-popes to also drop their claims to the papal throne.

Papal legate to Hungary and Bohemia for Pope Martin V, Blessed John worked to settle the disputes caused by the death of Jon Hus and to heal the Hussite Schism. However, while Blessed John was able to convert some, he was unable to to resolve the Hussite Schism.

Blessed John is known today for his scripture commentaries and hymns. His portrait was painted by Fra Angelico, who joined the Order under him, and a memoir of him was written by Saint Antonius of Florence, who joined the Order after hearing Blessed John preach.

Blessed John died on 10 June 1419 at Buda, India. His cultus was confirmed in A.D. 1832 and he was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in A.D. 1837.

Prayer

O God,
the bestower of divine love,
who didst strengthen Blessed John, Thy confessor and bishop,
for the work of preserving the Unity of the Church
and establishing regular discipline;
grant, through his intercession, 
that we may all be of one mind
and do all our actions in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
world without end.


Amen.

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