I realise that it has been some time since an entry into the blog, but it has been so busy recently. There has been an upsurge in new enquiries during the past few weeks - and I have been busy meeting these new enquirers. I am currently collating data on new enquirers (among other things) for a report I am preparing for our upcoming Provincial Chapter in September 2008 (of which more later). Besides this work, meetings of all sorts to do with vocations ministry have kept me on the road and away from my desk a lot! Such is life...
In the past few days I have found myself preparing some talks on the early Dominicans and Saint Dominic for a group of lay Dominicans. It has me scurrying back to read and re-read some of the early texts on Saint Dominic and the early years of the Order. I have always been enthralled on reading the texts of the process of canonisation of Saint Dominic and the testimonies given in favour of our founder by his brethren. It gives a strong impression of the type of man he was - and why he is still so important for us, his followers, today. What follows is a piece of testimony by a Brother Ventura (he was prior of the convent in Bologna) who received the habit from Saint Dominic and made profession in the hands of Dominic as well:
When he (Dominic) came to any place where there were any religious houses, he visited them all, preaching and encouraging them to regular observance. There was no one so troubled that he would not go away comforted if he came and listened to his words. He did this in parts of Lombardy like Milan and the Cistercian monastery of Colomba. He also said that he preached nearly every day unless he was prevented, or gave the brethren a conference, during which he would weep a lot and make the others weep too. He was strict in punishing the faults of the brethren, and was a great enthusiast for the rule, but at the same time his words were so pleasant that the brethren endured the penances imposed by their loving father with the utmost patience and eagerness. He was constant in his attendance at the Divine Office, and used to spend the night in prayer, weeping a lot. When the witness was asked how he knew this, he said he often found him in church praying and weeping, and sometimes overcome by sleep. Sometimes when he was tired because of his vigils, he would go to sleep at table.
This snapshot into the life of Saint Dominic gives an insight into his life of prayer, contemplation, preaching, administration, government and humanity. These qualities are those required by those wanting to join the path of Dominic - even today!