Mary’s Care for the Order of Preachers

May 7, 2012

Image of the Madonna, Protectress of the Order, which hangs in St. Dominic's cell in Santa Sabina, Rome
In the Vitae Fratrum, the Lives of the Brethren, which was written very soon after the Dominican Order was founded, the Blessed Virgin Mary appears in over 100 of the stories.  Some of the stories even include visions in which Mary is seen as the foundress of the Order because she begged her Son to send preachers into the world to convert heretics.  Others mention her protection over the brethren as they prepared to die or as the Order itself was attacked by demons, heretics, or even other Christians. Since its very beginning, the Dominican Order has had a great love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and on May 8th, we celebrate her patronage over the Order.  Throughout the centuries, she has aided the Order and supported us in our task of preaching for the salvation of souls.  On this day, we renew our fidelity to following her, and we thank her for the great gifts she has brought to the Order, she who is our benefactress and mediatrix. The following prayer is recited in many of our communities to commemorate this:

Virgin Mother Mary, with trust we approach you. We, your preachers, fly to you who believed in the words sent from heaven and pondered them in your heart. We stand close around you, who are always present to the gathering of apostles. In you the Word was made flesh, that same Word which we receive, contemplate, praise together, and preach. Therefore, under your guidance we today devote ourselves anew to the ministry of the Word. Furthermore, we declare to you that, hearing with you the Word within ourselves and anointed by the Spirit, whose sacred vessel you preeminently are, we are consecrated in the name of Jesus Christ to the evangelization of the world. With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you understood the mystery of the Word.  Through you we, too, are able to perceive the presence of that same Word in the history of our time, so that we may finally contemplate him face to face. Through you the Father sent his Son into the world that he might save it. Through you we will be powerful in the sight of your people, becoming witnesses of that truth which frees and of that love which unites. To this place we have brought our needs and here we ponder them. Do you, Mother, give us strength and preserve the harmony of our family, so that what was begun by our profession may be brought to completion by our love for one another, for the salvation of the world, and to the praise and glory of God.

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