Homily delivered at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Kitisuru during the requemm mass of late Rev, Prof Frederic Ntedika Mvumbi, OP on 13th March 2019

We are gathered here to celebrate the life of the late Rev. Prof. Frederick Ntedika Mvumbi a priest and member of Dominican Friars in the East African Province, to comfort Rev. Fr. Gedion Muchira and entire Dominican Friars within the Province and beyond as well as Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Mulu, the Parish Priest, his associate priests and the Christians of St. Catherine of Siena for the loss and pain caused by the passing on of a dedicated servant and confrere.
The late Fr. Fredrick was a gift given to us by God, a great religious, educationist, mentor and lover of the youth. Many years ago in obedience to the mandate of Christ “…Go to the whole world and make disciples of all nations, MT. 28: 19 – 20 he left his homeland, parents, relatives, friends in the Democratic Republic of Congo to join Dominican Friars to serve and lead the People of God to the Heavenly Kingdom.

We have a reason to mourn because a great missionary has passed on, a reason to rejoice because he has touched many lives through preaching the Gospel and celebration of sacraments especially baptisms and marriages he officiated. We further have a reason to praise God because of the great contribution he has made in education through his writings and students he supervised for Masters and Doctorate.

Humanly speaking it is hard to believe that Fr. Fred is gone. However, it is true, he is gone. Inside this coffin lies remains of his lifeless body. We are here to say good bye and honor him in the best way we can as we give thanks to God for years we spent together. God gave him to us as a gift, the same God has taken him back to Himself. In the words of Job, we can only say: “…..Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord….” Job 1: 21.

The first reading from the book of Job : 19: 1, 23-27b, presents Job making a confession of Faith that God is the Redeemer. Despite the pain and suffering, he does not fear to confront his friends who are a source of temptation to ridicule God. Job stands out clear to defend his uprightness. In his sufferings, Job does not fault God. He acknowledges his dependency to the mercy and province of God in his life as a weak creature.

Inspired by the words of Job, we affirm our conviction of eternal life. Job believes he will see God as presented in Job 19: 26: where he says; “…Whom I myself shall see, my own eyes, not another’s , shall behold him..” Job 19: 26
The Psalmist in Psalm 23: 1-3,4,5,6, declares that : The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want. He hopes to see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. This invites us though faced with pain, despair, and sorrow to hope in God, hold firm to his goodness and to take courage. The Lord provides and protects those who trust in him.

The second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:5-11 invites us to have hope that does not disappoint. This encourages us to remain united in prayer always seeking guidance of the Holy Spirit to do God’s will. St. Paul exhorts the Romans by reminding them Christ died for humanity in its sinful state to make us adopted children of the Father in faith. We are invited to seek reconciliation with God and neighbor especially during this difficult mourning period. This means families which have misunderstandings to seek dialogue and reunion, fighting colleagues at work to support each other, unfaithful workers to change their lifestyle and become accountable of their deeds, lukewarm Christians to become active members of the Church groups and associations. Above all those who do not receive sacraments to amend their ways and enter into Church sacraments to nourish their souls and strengthen their faith. Living quality Catholic life marked by virtues of charity, prayer and sacrifice is the best gift we can give to late Fr. Fredrick who longed to see successful Catholic Christians and families.

In the Gospel according to St. Matthew 5: 1-12a, Jesus reveals that He is the new Moses ( Teacher of the Law). He teaches with authority. He provides a new rule of life for his followers, the Beatitudes. He invites his disciples to lead holy lives marked by practice of the law, good worship and acts of mercy. He challenges his disciples to become agents of change to fight evil of greed and selfishness and light that illumines the society for social transformation. The life of beatitudes moves disciples from corruption of death to Christ himself who conquered death by his resurrection.

Friends, despite persecutions, pain and misunderstandings as we live our Catholic life in different vocations and professions, we are called to believe firmly in Christ, hold faithfully to the teaching of the Church, practice charity and observe the commandments.

The cruel hand of death breaks bonds of friendship and shatters the dreams of Life of individuals and the communities. It brings sorrow to the hearts of loved ones and well wishers. Death strikes when least expected irrespective of one’s age, political status, financial ability, social influence or academic achievements.

Since there is no time when as people we are ready to die, we must try to live our earthly lives well. We belong not to this world, but to Jesus Christ who redeemed us by his blood.

Truly, the death of Fr. Fred reminds us of our short span of life here on earth. As we bid him farewell, let us pray that our Faith built on the risen Christ, may be strengthened and that our hope will remain steadfast as we await the resurrection of the dead.

As a preparation to our death, live well your life. Organize your desk, keep a clear will. This will help to give you a decent send off when your untimely death knocks either through road accident, plane crash, heart attack, long or short span of sickness. To married people show your assets, bank accounts and investments to your family. It pays to be accountable, transparent and honest. Do not live your community or family in darkness when you are gone. Secrets are good but keep only secrets which do not hurt your parents, brothers and sisters.

Let us pray that God may grant the late Fr. Fredrick the abode of peace and light and number him among his saints. Amen.
For the Dominican friars, family members, friends and ourselves, may God strengthen our faith and comfort us with his Holy Spirit.
Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Fredrick Oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Amen.

 

 Shared by:

 Rev. Fr. Celestino Bundi Mutea
REGIONAL COORDINATOR
KCCB MISSIO INVEST AFRICA

Frederic Mvumbi funeral plan

Frederic Mvumbi funeral plan

fr. frederic ntedika mvumbi, op (RIP)

 

 FUNERAL UPDATES

Friday, March 15, 2019
7.00 am: The body was moved from St. Paul Parish to the Dominican Community (St. Martin De Porres) in Kisumu
7.30 am:  The friars held morning prayer (Office of the Dead) at the Dominican Community
8.00 am – 9.30 am: People were allowed to view  the body and sign  condolence book
10.00 am: Mass of Christian Burial took place at the Dominican Community compound  by Rt. Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Okombo Wandera, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Kericho and assisted with the Retired Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth
1.00 pm: Interment of the body and final commendation at the Dominican Friars Cemetery, Kisumu
1.30 pm: Refreshments/lunch served
3.00 pm: People leave as they please

Thursday, March 14, 2019
7.30 am: Mass was celebrated at the Corpus Kristi Monastery, Karen
8.30 am: Body Left  Corpus Christi Monastery for The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)
9.00 am: Body Arrived at CUEA, (CUEA Auditorium — Pope John Paul LRC Resource Centre
9.15 am – 11.00 am: Viewing of the body, signing of the condolence book and
receiving of donations to help offset the hospital bill (on going now).
11.15 am: Requiem Mass  being celebrated now at CUEA by Rev. Prof. Stephen Mbugua, the Vice Chancellor.
Readings:
The First Reading: Wisdom 4: 7-15 – Maurice Owinyo
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23 – Sr. Lucy & FASSc. Team
Gospel: TBA
Prayers of the Faithful: – Liturgical Team
Speeches:
– VC
– Superior – Dominican
– Dean FASSc
– Family (Jacob Israel)
– Poem & Song – FASSc
1.00 pm: Body will be transported to   JKI Airport for Kisumu
5.30 pm: Body arrives in Kisumu International Airport, received by the Friars in
Kisumu
6.30 pm: Body arrives in St. Paul Parish, Kisumu, for night vigil.
(9pm, 1am, 6am): Masses will be celebrated in the course of the night .

 Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The preached homily at St. Catherine of Siena on Wednesday, 13th March 2019

2.00 pm: Body was removed from Lee Funeral Home for St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Kitsuru
3.00 pm: Viewing of the body and personal tributes and prayers, St. Catherine of  Siena Parish, Kitsuru
5.30 pm: Requiem Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Gideon Muchira, O.P., (Vicar)

The preached homily at St. Catherine of Siena on Wednesday, 13th March 2019
8.00 pm:  The body was transported from St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Kitsuru for a night wake at the Corpus Christi Monastery, Dominican Nuns Karen.
9.00 pm:  There was all-night vigil at the Corpus Kristi Monastery till Thursday morning

He will be laid to rest on Friday 15th March, 2019 at the Dominican Cemetery in Kisumu.

 

For Further information contact:

Fr. Jude Mmassy, OP
Phone: 0733-543-890
Email: socius@eafricadominicans.org

 

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FUND RAISING UPDATES

Total Hospital Bill: 
6.5 Million KES(about USD 65,000). 

Insurance paid: 
700,000 KES

Hospital waiver:
580,000 KES 
  

M-CHANGA: Contributions:  
KES 904,381   

Current hospital balance:  
2.5m (2,500,000/=) 

PAY BILL NUMBER:    891300
ACCOUNT NUMBER:  31380

CHEQUES:
to be written to:
St. Catherine of Siena-Welfare

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Articles by Fr. Kevin Kraft, OP

Fr. Kevin Kraft, OP

Fr. Kevin Kraft, OP

St. Martin de Porres Priory, P.O. Box 2566, 40100 Kisumu, KENYA. Archivist of the Vicariate. Retreat ministry at the St. Catherine of Siena Retreat Center. House Formation Council. Degrees: S.T.L.

St. Dominic

St. Dominic

 An artist begins with apparently random, even disconnected, strokes. Only when the work is finished do we realized that the artist always had a plan and each stroke contributed to the final product.

If we consider the life of St. Dominic, we recognize that God led him through a variety of experiences. These events of his life sharpened his perception of what God wanted and gave form to the emergence of a new order in the Church, the “Order of Preachers.”

Between November 7, 2015 and January 17, 2017, the Dominican Family, Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Dominican Laity celebrated the eight-hundredth anniversary of the approval of the Order founded by Dominic.

Writing about 1276, Rodríguez de Cerrato marveled at the surprising way that God brought Dominic out from an obscure area of Europe: “It was truly appropriate in these latter times from the remotest parts of the earth, at the sunset of the century, that God would produce a light from the West, which would illumine with its rays the whole world, wrapped in shadows.”

Blessed Jordan of Saxony brought together the earliest biographical material on St. Dominic, in his Libellus. Jordan recounts that Dominic’s mother, Blessed Jane d’Aza, had a prophetic vision or dream: “Before his mother conceived him, she saw in a vision that she would bear in her womb a dog who, with a burning torch in his mouth and leaping from her womb, seemed to set the whole earth on fire.”[1]

Since Jordan completed his work by 1234, no more than thirteen years after Dominic’s death in 1221, it is possible that Jordan was in touch with a family memory and not a later legend. Nonetheless, Dominic’s early years hardly seemed likely to set the world on fire.

Dominic was born around 1174 in the village of Caleruega, part of the province of Castile in Spain. Jordan, and the other early biographers, describe Dominic’s father, Felix, as “honorable” and his mother, Jane, as “compassionate” and “merciful.” Surely, their influence left their mark on Dominic in the ways of love for God and compassion for others.

Some years before, this area of Spain had been won back by the local people, after centuries of occupation by the North African Moors. Dominic’s steel-like tenacity must have been forged by these people who held on to their faith through years of occupation.

While Castile was not the centre of Europe, events happening in Europe affected this area and as a result affected Dominic. Towards the end of the twelfth century, some of the traditional cathedral schools were moving towards becoming Europe’s first universities. Dominic’s studies at the cathedral school at Palencia impressed upon him the value of serious scholarship. In time, he later sent young friars to study near the universities, despite the cautious attitude of a number of religious people.

According to Jordan, when a famine affected the area around Palencia, Dominic sold “all his belongings, even his books, which he very much needed in that city.”[2] His fellow students and even the professors imitated his example. This compassion manifested itself throughout Dominic’s life, especially his concern for the salvation of others.

In Medieval Europe, the clergy attached to the cathedral were called “canons.” The canons devoted themselves to the public liturgical services of the cathedral, such as the solemn celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours.[3]

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the popes, in their concern to renew the clergy, urged bishops to form the canons into disciplined communities, following the Rule of St. Augustine with its emphasis on the common life. Canons who followed a rule were called “canons regular.”

Martín Bazán, the bishop of Osma, the diocese in which Caleruega was located, initiated this discipline at his cathedral. Jordan informs us that Martin invited Dominic to be one of his canons: “Reports about Dominic reached the bishop of Osma, who, after carefully verifying all that he heard, summoned Dominic and made him a canon regular of his church.”[4]

Jordan tells us that Bishop Diego de Acebo, Martín Bazán’s successor, continued to reinforce the community life among canons:

He used every available means to draw to himself, wherever they could be found, good and virtuous men… Hence it happened that he took pains to urge his canons, by frequent admonitions and salutary exhortations, to agree to observe a canonical religious life under the Rule of St. Augustine.[5]

Records include Dominic among the canons at the cathedral of Osma by 1199. His years as a canon instilled in Dominic in a life-long devotion to the Liturgy of the Hours, as the Dominican historian M – Humbert Vicaire reports:

This was the obligation and privilege of the cleric, and particularly of the canon, because this was the task of the apostles. Dominic always found both strength and joy in the recitation of the canonical office, even at the most disturbed moments of his life, even as he traveled along the highroads; on the last day of his life, worn out by fatigue and with the hand of death upon him, he would still go off to sing Matins in the middle of the night before lying down to rest for ever.[6]

Canons were more active in pastoral care than monks were, although the way of life of canons included monastic practices. Canons were both contemplative and pastoral. Jordan’s description of Dominic during this time of his life emphasizes the contemplative aspect yet Dominic’s prayer was intensely pastoral:

He prayed without ceasing and, making use of the leisure afforded for contemplation, he scarcely ever left the monastery grounds. God gave him the singular gift of weeping for sinners, the wretched and the afflicted, whose sufferings he felt within his compassionate heart, which poured out its hidden feelings in a shower of tears.[7]

As a canon, Dominic wore a white tunic, a surplice and a black cloak with a pointed hood. Just as the clothing of the canons evolved into the habit of the friars, the life of the canons eventually provided Dominic with a framework for the community life of the friars.

In May, 1203, King Alfonso VIII of Castile asked Bishop Diego to negotiate a marriage between his son, Fernando, and a noble woman from the “Marshes,” (possibly northern Germany or Denmark). Dominic accompanied Diego on the journey.

As Diego and Dominic passed through the area of the Midi or Languedoc, around Toulouse in southern France, they were startled at the number of people who were abandoning the Catholic faith and adopting the religion of the Cathars.

In the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, the ideas of the Cathars had spread from the East into the West, brought by traders and returning crusaders. The Cathars believed in two principles, the God of good, who was the God of the New Testament, and the God of Old Testament, who was the God of evil.

Every spiritual thing was good. Every material thing was evil. Souls were angels who had fallen into evil, i.e. matter. Those who were “Perfect” lived austerely in order to separate themselves from what was material, which included their own bodies. Because the city of Albi had been especially affected by the movement, the Cathars are often called “Albigenses.”

At the inn where they took shelter in Toulouse, Dominic spent the entire night in discussion with the innkeeper, who, by early morning, asked to be received back into the Church.

After their journey, Diego and Dominic reported to the king and then resumed their lives as before. Nevertheless, the encounter with heresy made a deep impression on both the bishop and his canon.

In 1205, the king asked Diego to accompany the bride back to Spain. Again, Dominic traveled with his bishop. It is unclear why the bride did not return with them. (It is possible that she became a nun in order to avoid leaving her homeland). In hindsight, we can recognize that the journey was God’s way of opening a new stage in the lives of Diego and Dominic.

As they traveled, they continually encountered the Cathars throughout the area of Southern France. Pope Innocent III was deeply concerned about the situation. He asked three Cistercian abbots to act as his legates, urging them to preach throughout the area. Since the Cistercians were known for their austerity, Pope Innocent thought that they could act as an effective challenge to the penitential preachers of the Cathars.

Sometime between April and June, 2006, Diego and Dominic met the abbots who were eager to discuss their experience. The monks had been working for two and a half years with little success.

Diego may have understood from his own attempts to evangelize the Cathars that the abbots were at a disadvantage with the Cathars. The abbots road in carriages. They were protected by soldiers and were accompanied by servants. The “perfects,” on the other hand, walked unprotected to preach their message. The poverty and austerity of the “perfects” made their preaching seem more genuine compared to the legates.

Jordan recounts that Diego called the legates’ attention to the differences:

If you come with less poverty and austerity, you will hardly gain any edification, you will cause much harm, and you will fail utterly of your objective. Match steel with steel, rout out false holiness with the true religion, because the arrogance of these false apostles must be overthrown by genuine humility.[8]

Diego urged the monks to put Jesus’ instructions to His disciples into practice, traveling on foot, two by two, preaching wherever they could, and begging for food. The abbots accepted Diego’s ideas and other abbots and monks joined them. Diego and Dominic began to minister alongside the monks. The work was called “the Preaching” and the seal of the missionaries bore the title, the “Preaching of Jesus Christ.”

This decisive moment opened for Dominic his future as an itinerant preacher of the Gospel. Dominic was assigned to minister in the area near Fanjeaux. This town was set a high hill that served as a crossroads to other cities. Among the noble families in Fanjeaux were devoted Cathars. There was a community of the Perfect in the town.

Down the hill from Fanjeaux was Prouille (Prouilhe). At Prouille, Diego established some women converts in a religious house. Jordan tells us: “In order to give assistance to certain women of the nobility whose parents were led by poverty to give them over to the heretics for training and support, he established a monastery between Fanjeaux and Montréal in a place called Prouille.”[9] The nuns took up residence at the property of the chapel of Notre Dame de Prouille sometime between the end of 1206 and March, 1207.

Although Jordan attributes the foundation of the monastery to Diego, Dominic immediately assumed direction for the nuns. As early as April, 2007, the Archbishop of Narbonne, donated property to “the prioress and the nuns who have recently been converted by the counsel and example of Brother Dominic of Osma and his companions…”[10]

In September, 1207, when Diego returned to his diocese to obtain funds for the monastery and to recruit priests to help in the preaching, he entrusted the spiritual care of the nuns to Dominic and their temporal care to William Claret.

Typically, the male branch of orders has been established first and then the branch for women has followed. This was the pattern for the Benedictines, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustinians, among others. Dominic’s first foundation was for religious women. At first, the women may have followed the Cistercian rule as many monasteries of women did at the time. As the Dominican friars developed, the women soon adopted their practices.

According to Jordan, Dominic took special care for the nuns: “Brother Dominic had the church at Fanjeaux and other places from which he could derive enough to sustain himself and his followers. Whatever they could afford from these revenues they gave to the sisters of the monastery at Prouille.”[11]

Most of the Cistercian monks returned to their monasteries by September or October, 1207. The mission of the Cistercians was necessarily temporary since their vocation was monastic. Diego did not return to Languedoc, as he died in Osma on December 30, 1207.

Jordan tells us: “Only Dominic remained and continued preaching, and, although some of the others remained with him for a while, they were not yet bound to him by any ties of obedience. Among them was William Claret and another Brother Dominic from Spain.”[12]

Going out as an itinerant preacher in Languedoc, Dominic carried a staff. In the fold of his tunic, he kept the Gospel of St. Matthew and the Letters of St. Paul. Dominic had one tunic and a cloak. He carried no money.

Jordan writes: “In this way about ten years passed from the death of the bishop of Osma up to the Lateran Council, and all this time Brother Dominic remained there more or less alone.”[13]

By 1214, a small group had gathered around Dominic at Fanjeaux and continued the preaching mission to the Cathars. On the request of the cardinal legate, in January, 1215, Dominic transferred his residence to Toulouse, leaving three brothers to assist the nuns at Prouille.

In April, 1215, Dominic took a decisive step towards forming a religious community. At Toulouse, Peter Seila and Thomas professed vows to Dominic. Pierre Seila gave Dominic three stone houses he had inherited, which were built against the city wall.

In the middle of 1215, John of Navarre made profession into the hands of Dominic. Vicaire explains that making vows into the hands of another was a form of feudal homage that the monks at Cluny had adopted for its profession.[14] The members of the new community wore the white tunic and black cloak that Dominic had worn as a canon.

In June or July, 1215, the bishop of Toulouse, Bishop Foulques, incorporated the community into his diocese by means of a charter:

We… in order to root out the corruption of heresy, to drive out vice, to teach the creed and inculcate in men sound morals, institute as preachers in our diocese Brother Dominic and his companions, whose regular purpose is to comport themselves as religious, traveling on foot, and to preach the Gospel word of truth in evangelical poverty.[15]

Foulques’ charter, appointing Dominic and his brothers as official preachers in the diocese of Toulouse, is most significant. Lay preachers, including even the early Franciscans, were commissioned to preach “penance,” a change of life. Dominic’s brothers, as clerics, were commissioned to “root out the corruption of heresy” and to “teach the creed.”

The friars continued to use the seal of the original Preaching mission and Dominic began to call himself predicationis minister humilis, “humble minister of preaching.”

During the summer of 1215, Dominic with six companions attended the theology lectures of the Englishman, Alexander Stavensby, whom Foulques had brought to Toulouse as a teacher. Dominic wanted his followers to base their preaching on a solid theological base. For the friars, study replaced the manual labor of the monks.

In September, 1215, Dominic accompanied Bishop Foulques to Rome for the Fourth Lateran Council. Foulques’ presence at the council was important because concerns regarding the Cathars were to be discussed.

Early in October, the Pope received Foulques along with Dominic. Dominic asked for the pope’s confirmation of his preaching community. A bishop had the authority to approve an order that would belong to his diocese but Dominic desired a more secure affirmation from the pope himself that would allow the order to minister beyond Toulouse.

According to Jordan, Dominic proposed himself and his companions to Innocent as “an order which would be called and which would be in fact an order of preachers.”[16]

The situation was complicated because Innocent was well aware that the upcoming council was likely to prohibit the creation of new orders. Innocent may have wanted a stable base for this community, which didn’t fit the traditional categories of religious, being neither hermits nor monks. It is likely that he considered them a community of canons but they were not exactly canons either. Even though the friars had a home in Toulouse, they didn’t have a church.

Pope Innocent advised Dominic to speak with his brothers in order to choose an existing rule and to obtain a church which would be their stable base. Jordan reports: “Accordingly, after the council, Dominic returned to Toulouse and calling the brethren together, he notified them of the Lord Pope’s wishes. Now, the future preachers chose the Rule of St. Augustine… and added to it some stricter details about food and fasts, as well as about bedding and clothing.”[17]

Bishop Foulques gave the community the Church of St. Romain, in June, 1216. A cloister was constructed around it with cells which Jordan tells us were “for study and sleep.”[18]

Innocent III died on July 16, 1216. The following October, Dominic set out for Rome to report to the new Pope, Honorius III, the choice of the friars for the Rule of St. Augustine. Unlike others who followed that Rule, such as the canons, Dominic envisioned a mission of itinerant preaching.

Honorius III confirmed the community in a bull Religiosam vitam, which he signed along with eighteen cardinals, on December 22, 1216. Perhaps, at first, the pope assumed that this community would remain a small group of canons within the diocese of Toulouse. He quickly realized the potential of this foundation.

In this first bull, Pope Honorius acknowledged that the brothers were “preaching” praedicantes. However, Dominic wanted the brothers to be designated, not only as those who preached, but to be identified as “preachers” praedicatores.

On January 21, 1217, the Pope Honorius gave Dominic another bull, Gratiarum omnium largitori, which described the members of the community as Friars (Brothers) Preachers, at St. Romain, in the region of Toulouse. The pope affirmed:

Thus, like Christ’s unconquered athletes, armed with the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, you do not fear those who can kill the body, but valiantly trust the word of God, which is keener than any two-edged sword against the foes of the faith… We call upon your charity and earnestly exhort you with the command… that, ever more strengthened in the Lord, you strive to spread the Word of God by being insistent in season and out of season and fulfilling the work of the evangelist in a praiseworthy manner. Now if you undergo tribulations for this cause, you must not only tolerate them with equanimity, but even glory in them, rejoicing with the Apostle that you are deemed worthy to endure outrages for the name of Jesus.[19]

Papal bulls at the time often followed certain formulas and made use of similar expressions. The unique elements in the texts disclose essential points. Vladimir Koudelka, O.P., comments: “With this bull Honorius confirmed for Dominic and his brethren that preaching was the very reason for their existence. This is the first time that the preaching of the word of God is designated as the objective of a religious order.”[20]

  1. Michèle Mulchahey, likewise, asserts: “… it represents the first time that the commissioning of preachers had been removed from episcopal hands and embodied in an order through papal authority. Dominic and his friars were no longer preachers at the pleasure of a local bishop, they were preachers, answerable to the pope.”[21]

Dominic returned to Toulouse by March. At Pentecost, Dominic explained to the brothers his decision to send them out to other areas. Jordan describes this incident:

After invoking the Holy Spirit [Dominic] assembled the brethren and announced that, in spite of their small number, his heart’s desire was to send them throughout the whole world and that they would no longer live together in their present abode. Although they were all surprised at the announcement of this unexpected plan, yet, because his evident authority of holiness animated them, they easily agreed to it in the hope that it would result in a good purpose.[22]

Dominic explained that grain that is stored begins to go bad. it needs to be spread. The Archbishop of Narbonne and the Bishop of Toulouse objected to the plan. Dominic assured them: ‘Do not oppose me, since I know very well what I am doing.’[23]

On August 15, 1217, Dominic dispersed the brothers. Dominic sent three Spanish brothers to Spain. Two groups were sent to Paris in order to study. Pierre Seila and Thomas remained in Toulouse while Noel and William Claret stayed at Prouille.

John describes himself as “reluctant” when he was sent with five clerical brothers and a lay brother to Paris. Dominic charged them not to fear because everything would prosper. They were “to study, preach and found a priory.”[24] We should not overlook the importance given to study from the very beginning of the order.

Jordan marvels at Dominic’s confidence: “It was as if he knew exactly what was going to happen, or as if he had been given instructions by the Spirit in some revelation…”[25] Jordan observes that even though the first friars were simple and uneducated, Dominic sent them out, even when others thought he was destroying what he had begun. Jordan remarks, “He backed up everyone he sent out with his prayers, and the power of the Lord was with them to give them increase.[26]

While Pope Honorius had identified the brothers as “Friars Preachers,” Dominic was not completely satisfied because he desired wanted a more universal commission. In a letter of February 11, 1218, recommending the order to bishops, Pope Honorius III designates the brothers as the “Brothers of the Order of Preachers.”[27]

Although the Fourth Lateran Council suggested that bishops might employ preachers in their dioceses, the pope’s bull indicates that the friars are an order of “preachers.” In other words, their ministry of preaching is not one entrusted to them by a bishop but rather preaching is the role of the friars in the church.

Jordan impresses upon us the fact that Dominic was always “a man of the Gospel,” always seeking opportunities to evangelize:

No matter where he happened to be, whether on a journey with his companions or in the house of a stranger, or even in the presence of princes, prelates, or other dignitaries, his conversation was always edifying and abounded in allusions which would draw his hearers toward love for Christ and away from love of the world. At all times his words and his works proclaimed a man of the Gospel.[28]

Jordan marvels at his zeal: “For his part, Brother Dominic, with all his energy and with passionate zeal, set himself to win all the souls he could for Christ. His heart was full of an extraordinary, almost incredible, yearning for the salvation of everyone.”[29]

Dominic went to Spain and stayed there a little under a year, helping to strengthen the two houses, one in Madrid and one in Segovia. He also organized a community of nuns in Madrid. When he reached the priory in Paris in May 1219, he was met with a community of thirty friars, most of whom were students.

Jordan tells us that Dominic moved on from Paris to Bologna in late August, 1219: “After a brief stay in Paris, he set out for Bologna. Here, at St. Nicholas, he found a large group of brethren being nourished in the discipline of Christ under the diligent care of Brother Reginald. They all received him with joy and treated him with the respect accorded to a father.”[30]

Dominic continued to take the opportunity to preach wherever possible. Simon Tugwell comments: “To the end of his life, St. Dominic remained an indefatigable preacher, spending long hours on the road, talking to anyone who was prepared to listen to him, whether or not he knew their languages. St. Dominic the preacher was never sacrificed to St. Dominic the founder and organizer.”[31]

In the recollections of the friars, Dominic’s habit of praying during the night were frequently recalled.  Jordan offers us such as description of Dominic’s nightly vigils:

It was his very frequent habit to spend the whole night in church, so that he hardly ever seemed to have any bed of his own to sleep in. He used to pray and keep vigil at night to the very limit of what he could force his frail body to endure. When at last weariness overtook him and his spirit succumbed, so that he had to sleep for a while, he rested briefly before the altar or absolutely anywhere, sometimes even leaning his head against a stone like the patriarch Jacob (Gen 28:11). But then he would soon be awake again, rallying his spirit to resume his fervent prayer. [32]

  1. Humbert Vicaire comments on the witnesses’ observations on Dominic:

However moving certain descriptions of the preaching of St. Dominic by the witnesses at the Bologna proceedings may be, the most penetrating image, the most insistent image that they leave us is that of his prayer. The extent, the depth, and the radiating of this prayer impressed them all the more as they admired his generosity as an apostle, on the one hand, and his efficiency as a founder on the other.[33]

By the end of May, 1221, there were twenty five houses of friars with three or four more being formed, as well as monasteries of nuns at Prouille, Madrid and Rome. Friars were being sent to England, Hungary, Denmark and Bosnia.

At the end of July, 1221, Dominic came to the house in Bologna. The friars assumed that his obvious weariness was due to the heat. Dominic went to the church and stayed there through the night office.

Brother Ventura, the prior, learned that Dominic had a headache. He refused to lie in a bed but lay down on some sacks. Ventura recalls: “And he had the novices called to him and he consoled them with gentle words and with a cheerful face, encouraging them to goodness. He endured this sickness … so patiently that he always seemed to be in good spirits and happy.”[34]

Soon, he could no longer stand and finally allowed himself to be given a bed. Dominic’s response to the weeping of the friars was, “Do not weep. I shall be more useful to you in the place where I am going than I have been here.”[35]

Brother Rudolph, who was with him at his death, said that he had never seen him lying on a pallet before. Dominic told them to get ready and they began to sing the office of commendation of souls. Rudolph believed that he died when they sang the words, “Come to help him, saints of God, run to meet him angels of the Lord, taking his soul and presenting it in the sight of the Most High.”[36]

When Dominic died in the evening of August 6, 1221, he was not yet fifty years old. The cardinal of Ostia, Cardinal Ugolino, celebrated the funeral Mass. Ugolino, a friend to both Dominic and Francis, was elected pope in 1227. As Gregory IX, Ugolino canonized Dominic on July 3, 1234, at the Cathedral in Rieti, with the bull, Fons Sapientiae.

By Dennis Vincent Wiseman, O.P.

              [1] Jordan of Saxony, Libellus, in Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents, ed. Francis C. Lehner, O.P. (Washington: Thomist Press, 1964), par. 5, 7.

              [2] Jordan, Libellus, par. 10; 11-12.

              [3] Vicaire, St. Dominic and His Times, trans. Kathleen Pond (Green Bay, Wisc: Alt Publishing Co., 1964),  39.

              [4] Jordan, Libellus, par. 11; 12.

              [5] Jordan, Libellus, par. 4; 7.

              [6] M.-H. Vicaire, St. Dominic and His Times, 43.

              [7] Jordan, Libellus, par. 12; 12.

              [8] Jordan, Libellus, par. 20; 15.

              [9] Jordan, Libellus, par. 31; 29.

[10] Bérenger, “Deed of April 17, 1207,” in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 160.

              [11] Jordan, Libellus, par. 37; 38.

              [12] Jordan, Libellus, par. 31; 29.

[13] Jordan, Libellus, 37, in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 134.

              [14] Vicaire, St. Dominic and His Times, 177.

              [15] Vicaire, St. Dominic and His Times, 171.

[16] “… confirmari fratri Domenico et sociis euis ordinem, qui predicatorum diceretur et esset” Jordan, Libellus, 40, in M. Michèle Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study…”: Dominican Education before 1350 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998),  4.

              [17] Jordan, Libellus, par. 41-42; 42.

              [18] Jordan, Libellus, par. 44; 42.

              [19] Honorius III, Bull of Approbation, in Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents, 201-202.

[20] Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997),  142.

[21] M. Michèle Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study…”: Dominican Education before 1350 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998), 22.

              [22] Jordan, Libellus, par. 47; 45.

              [23] Testimony of Brother John of Navarre, in The Process of Canonization – Bologna, in Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents, no. 26; 115.

              [24] Testimony of Brother John of Navarre, in The Process of Canonization – Bologna, in Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents, no. 26; 115.

[25] Jordan, Libellus, 62, Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 112-113.

[26] Jordan, Libellus, 62, Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 112-113.

              [27] Honorius III, Bull of Recommendation, in Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents, 202.

              [28] Jordan, Libellus, par. 34; 32.

[29] Jordan of Saxony, Libellus 33, in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 77.

              [30] Jordan, Libellus, par. 60; 54.

              [31] Tugwell, Early Dominicans, 15.

              [32] Jordan, Libellus, 106,  in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 60.

              [33] M. Humbert Vicaire, O.P., “On the Place of Contemplative Prayer in the Life of  St. Dominic and His First Friars” in “Notes et Travail”, papers prepared by the Curia Generalitia in preparation for the General Chapter in Rome in 1983, 43.

[34] Testimony of Brother Ventura, Bologna Canonization Process, 7, in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 68.

[35] Testimony of Brother Rudolph of Faenza, Bologna Canonization Process, 33, in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 80.

[36] Testimony of Brother Rudolph of Faenza, Bologna Canonization Process, 33, in Vladimir J. Koudelka, O.P., Dominic, trans. Consuelo Fissler, O.P. and Simon Tugwell, O.P. (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1997), 80.