The following talk was given by Br Damian Polly OP at a meeting of the Blessed John Paul II Theological Society at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Br Damian was part of a panel from various religious orders – the others were a Benedictine monk, a Franciscan friar and a Carmelite nun. If you have ever wondered what makes up the Dominican mission and way of life, what makes us different from other orders and congregations, and whether there is such a thing as ‘Dominican spirituality’, this talk is a great place to begin.
St Catherine of Siena: Love Others Tenderly
The letter you are about to hear was written by St Catherine to another Catherine, Caterina de Scetto, also a Dominican laywoman. The letter highlights some of the potential pitfalls for those who consider themselves religious. It warns us not let our love be dependent on how it is received, but to generously reflect the unconditional love of God to the world. Catherine warns too not to judge other Christians whose ways are not pleasing to us. Instead, we should, as always for Catherine, ‘remain in the holy, gentle love of God’.
St Catherine of Siena: Christ the Bridge
This reading is a selection of excerpts from the Dialogue of St Catherine. The Dialogue is Catherine’s great work, and it’s structured, as the title suggests, as a Dialogue between God the Father and Catherine herself. In these excerpts, we meet one of Catherine’s keys to und
(Excerpted from ‘Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity’, ed. Mary O’Driscoll OP)erstanding the work of Christ: he is like a bridge between us and our home in heaven.
St Catherine of Siena: Behave Like a Person in Love!
The reading that follows is an excerpt from St Catherine of Siena to her confessor, a Dominican friar, Bartolomeo Dominici. It highlights some of her classic images: God as a deep, peaceful sea, and God’s love as a fire.
(Excerpted from ‘Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity’, ed. Mary O’Driscoll OP)
St Catherine of Siena – Introduction
St Catherine of Siena is one of the most remarkable women in history. She lived six hundred years ago, in Italy, and was born the twenty-third child in her family. She was born into an immensely turbulent time. The fourteenth century saw wars between cities, famine, and the horrific Black Death. And the Church too was in a parlous state, with corruption, luxury, and bribery common among the clergy.
Sermon by St Augustine (171)
It’s nearly Christmas! After weeks of waiting, the day of the Birth of our Lord is just around the corner. Today’s reading is a reminder then, to get things in perspective. If you have been absorbed recently in the commercial side of Christmas, St Augustine’s reading reminds us of the true meaning of the season: ‘Wake up, O man’, he says, ‘it was for you that God was made man!’
Homily of St Bernard (141)
Throughout the twenty centuries of Christianity, writers and preachers have been falling over each other trying to do justice to Mary, the Mother of God. Perhaps the most successful in this regard is St Bernard of Clairvaux. He was a Cistercian monk and he had an enormous impact on the Europe of his day. Here, though, we see his tender side, as he addresses our blessed Mother. Appropriately for this stage of Advent, he turns to the moment when the Word became flesh, when Mary said Yes to what God was asking of her.