Category Archives: Faith


In the immortal words of one of my friends, and in answer to this comment left on a previous post, “Why did you, who doesn’t like to stand up and preach to people or do this sort of thing generally, join the ORDER OF PREACHERS??????”

And it’s a good question. Why not be a Benedictine, or a Carmelite, or a Franciscan? I look better in brown and grey than I do in black and white, for starters. And it’s all about the clothes…

It’s also one of those “how do you explain red to a colour-blind person?” questions. But I’ll have a go.

(Insert usual “if you’ve met one Dominican, you’ve met one Dominican,” disclaimer. This may or may not ring true for any other Dominican who had been asked to write this).

I think it goes back to when I was first converting. Most people who convert don’t do it because they fancied a change, or because Our Lady and St Thatguy down the road does a Mass which is more convenient than the times of service at the local Anglican or Baptist Church, but because they are genuinely seeking after the truth.

One of the Order’s mottoes is “Truth.” Whilst the truth of the faith is a treasure which belongs to all Catholics, seeking after and preaching this truth belongs, in a special way, to Dominicans, just as Carmel has a great and noble tradition of contemplative prayer. All Catholics, all Christians, are called to contemplate the Lord, but Carmelites are called to it as a special part of their ministry and mission to the Church. It is through prayer and study that we, as Dominicans, seek, however dimly, to grasp some of the truth of God, and, to pass that truth on to others.

Study, reading and writing have always been important to me. I’m not so keen on the “public speaking” bit of preaching, but there are more ways of preaching than talking to people – writing, teaching catechism classes, answering colleagues’ strange questions on obscure points of doctrine before I’ve had my morning coffee. I think my finest hour was explaining Purgatory in fewer than 140 characters on Twitter. And nerves about public speaking will lessen with time and practice – I was less nervous leading the study than I was the first time I did, for example.

The Dominicans grabbed at me as soon as I knew of their existence, that summer where everywhere I went I was being stalked by people in white tunics. The most striking thing was the balance between work and prayer, the contemplation and passing onto others the fruit of that contemplation. I’ve always been a both/and kind of person, not an either/or. The woman seeking after Truth had found the Order for whom that Truth was the special charge and beauty.

But I checked out other Orders, as well, just in case it was me saying “I want be a Dominican,” and not God telling me “I want you to be a Dominican,” (that search for “truth,” again, if you like), but none of them tugged at my heart the same way that the Dominicans did. Other Orders are nice for a visit, and they have many, many great Saints, who are jewels to their Order and ornaments to the Church, and ways of seeking and encountering Christ which are truly beautiful, but for me, the best way I can follow Christ, the poor preacher, in the footsteps of the apostles, is as a member of the Order of Preachers.

Ultimately, “Dominican,” is as much part of what I am as having grey eyes, a dreadful temper, being five foot two and a serious book addiction.

For the Fallen


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon

Prayers for The General Chapter of the Order of Preachers

General Chapter 2010

Every three years, the Order of Preachers holds a General Chapter, and a new Master of the Order is elected by the Friars every nine years. The General Chapter is being held in Rome from August 31-September 21st, with the election for the new Master on September 5th.

Traditionally, the Nuns of the Order pray the following for a month preceding the General Chapter.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

Leader: Come Holy Spirit
All: Fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love; you who through the diversity of many languages, gathered the nations together in the unity of faith.

Leader: Lord, have mercy
All: Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
All: Our Father…

Leader: Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created.
All: And you will restore the face of the earth.
Leader: Save your servants.
All: Who trust in you, my God.

Leader: Let us pray:
O God, who has instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that, in the same Spirit, we may relish what is right and ever rejoice in his consolation.

Listen, Lord, to our prayers and guide the steps of your servants along the path of your salvation; that in the journey through this fickle life they may always be protected by your help. Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen

I’m a bad blogger

Both Dominic Mary at Libera Me and Clare at Battlements of Rubies tagged me for Mullier Fortis’ prayer meme. And they tagged me ages ago, and I haven’t done it.

So, with the first of [redacted in case my mother reads this] loads of laundry splashing in the washing machine, and thanking Heaven that I don’t have to load it all up on Zephirine to take it down to the canal and hit it with a rock, here we go:

The rules are:
“Name your three most favourite prayers, and explain why they’re your favourites. Then tag five bloggers – give them a link, and then go and tell them they have been tagged. Finally, tell the person[ahem – people] who tagged you that you’ve completed the meme… The Liturgy and the Sacraments are off limits here. I’m more interested in people’s favourite devotional prayers.”

So, in no particular order:

1) The Sub Tuum Praesidium. This is a new(ish) one to me. A few Religious of my acquaintance say it whenever they set off on a journey, and I’ve picked up the habit (hello, Mile End Road, I need all the help I can get). It’s the oldest extant hymn to the Virgin Mary, and dates to around 250AD.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

(In Latin: Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen).

2) The next one is dead easy. I try and say it whenever I hear sirens, because if you can hear sirens, there’s some poor soul needs praying for.

“Jesus, mercy. Mary, pray.”

Short and sweet, and all we can hope for – the mercy of God, and the prayers of the Body of Christ.

3) The third one was really difficult, choosing between the Salve Regina, the O Lumen and the Gloria Patri. In the end, I plumped for the Gloria Patri. (Yes, I know, linking to the two that didn’t quite make it is cheating. Tee hee).

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

(Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.)

I don’t like tagging people (oh, the pressure) but if you fancy it, please have a go and put a link in the comments – and you don’t have to be Catholic, either, it’s always good to learn about other ways of praying.


I discovered today that the National Front* have put a candidate up in my constituency in the General Election. This is the group that you join if you’re a bit too racist and violent for the BNP to take you as a member.

And so it’s time to dig this up from the archives. I’ll be praying it every day from now until May 6th.

To you, Saint Martin de Porres, we prayerfully lift up our hearts, filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you. Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every colour the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of his kingdom, so that through mutual benevolence in God, men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.

*Link goes to Wikipedia. If you follow any of the links from there, on your head be it.

“What do you seek?”

God’s mercy and yours.

"God's mercy and yours."
"What do you seek?"

With God's help and yours
With God's help and yours

To the honour of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, and Saint Dominic, I, [Rosamundi], in the presence of the President of this Fraternity and the Religious Assistant, in the place of the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers, promise that I will live according to the Rule of the Laity of Saint Dominic for all my life.

Amen, Amen, without ever turning back!

[The square white thing you can see in the pictures is the scapular, the most important part of the habit of the Order. Also, many thanks to Golightlycat for acting as wardrobe consultant, and the Rosadaddy for photography!]

Litany of St Dominic

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
Pray for us. (repeat after each line)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Holy Father St. Dominic,
Light of the Church,
Day star of the world,
Preacher of grace,
Rose of patience,
Most zealous for the salvation of souls,
Most desirous of martyrdom,
Evangelical man,
Ivory of chastity,
Man of an apostolic heart,
Doctor of truth,
Example of poverty,
Rich in purity of life,
Burning as a torch for the salvation of sinners,
Trumpet of the Gospel,
Herald of heavenly tidings,
Rule of abstinence,
Shining as the sun in the temple of God,
Enriched with the grace of Christ,
Clothed in heavenly robes,
Resplendent in the choir of virgins,
Father and leader of our Holy Order,
That at the hour of death we may be received into the heavenly kingdom,

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy father, St. Dominic,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray, Grant, we beseech you, omnipotent Lord, that we borne down by the weight of our sins, may by the intercession of our Holy Father, St. Dominic, be mercifully assisted. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Novena to St Dominic, Day 9

For A, G and S, being received as Lay Dominican Novices, and for me, as I make my final Promises.

Devotion to St. Dominic

This is the covenant with them which I myself have made, says the Lord: and my words that I have put into your mouth shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children, nor the mouths of your children’s children, from now on and forever, says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:21)

As St. Dominic lay dying just outside of Bologna at St. Mary of the Hills, he requested to be taken back at once to Bologna that he might be buried “under the feet of my brethren.” There, having assured his spiritual children that he would be of greater assistance where he was going, he left them his last will and testament: “Behold, my children, the heritage I leave you: have charity for one another, guard humility, make your treasure out of voluntary poverty.”

Be therefore followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

O wondrous hope that you did give at the hour of death to those who mourned you, when you did promise to help them even after death.
Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

You who did shine by so many signs in the bodies of the afflicted, bear us the help of Christ and heal our souls in illness and unrest.
Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the merits and teachings of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our father, grant through his intercession that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy Father, cast thy mind
on the work thy hands designed;
In the Judge’s presence stand
For thy poor and lowly band.

Novena to St Dominic, Day 8

For A, G and S, being received as Lay Dominican Novices, and for me, as I make my final Promises.

The Death of St. Dominic

Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord. (Matthew 25:2)

St. Dominic died at Bologna, August 6, 1221, at midday. Father Ventura, prior of Bologna, was present and thus describes the death of St. Dominic. “Father Dominic returned from Venice about the end of July. Although very weary with traveling, he conversed on the affairs of the Order with me till late. I begged him to rest that night, but he prayed in the Church till Matins at midnight, and then was present in choir. Afterwards he complained of his head, and his last illness began. Lying on a straw mattress, he called the novices around him and exhorted them to fervor with cheerful words and smiling countenance. After being carried to a hill not far off, for better air, he preached to his brethren and was then anointed. Fearing that he would not be buried ‘under the feet of his brethren,’ he was carried back to the convent. The brethren recited prayers for a departing soul. When they came to the words, ‘Come to his help, ye saints of God; hasten to meet him, ye angels of the Lord: receive his soul, and offer it in the sight of the Most High,’ having lifted his hands to Heaven, he gave up his spirit.”

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most kind father, St. Dominic, by your saintly life and death, bless and guide us in the path of your holy rule, that persevering until death, we may, through it, attain the eternal joys of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy Father, cast thy mind
on the work thy hands designed;
In the Judge’s presence stand
For thy poor and lowly band.