Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Diana and Bl. Cecilia

June 8, 2012

Bl. Diana (+ 1236, feast – June 8 ) and Bl. Cecilia (ca. 1200 – ca. 1290) play a very important part in the history of the Dominican nuns.  Part of the founding process of the monastery of Dominican nuns in Bologna, they both had connections to Holy Father Dominic and to his successor, Bl. Jordan of Saxony. Both Bl. Diana, in Bologna, and Bl. Cecilia, in Rome, were drawn to the Dominican monastic life by St. Dominic himself and furthered in their vocations by Bl. Jordan.  St. Dominic’s example and zeal for the salvation of souls inspired them to take up a life of prayer, penance, and silence to support the preaching mission of the Dominican friars. Bl. Diana made vows in his hands, and Bl. Cecilia was the first to throw herself at his feet when he was asked by the Pope to take care of the nuns in several Roman monasteries. Yet, it was through the guidance of Bl. Jordan that these two Dominican nuns were drawn together.  After years of living outside of a Dominican monastery, Bl. Diana was given the habit and admitted to profession by Bl. Jordan in 1223.  Soon after, Bl. Jordan asked Bl. Cecilia to come from Rome to help form the new community of nuns in Bologna.  She was installed as the first prioress there. Moreover, both of these nuns help bring out characteristic features of the first two Masters of the Order.  Bl. Cecilia gives us the account of St. Dominic’s physical appearance and one of the earliest accounts of his miracles.  Bl. Diana kept the letters that Bl. Jordan wrote her, thus giving us a sense of his personality and insight into his care over the Order. May the Lord continue to bless the Dominican Order with good and holy nuns who imitate the spirit of Blesseds Diana and Cecilia, all for the sake of the preaching for the salvation of souls. O God, who did endow Thy blessed Virgin Diana with admirable fortitude of spirit, and did give her Blessed Cecilia as a companion in treading the path of Evangelical perfection, grant that we may be strengthened in difficulties by their example and protected by their help in adversities.  Through Christ our Lord.

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