Dominican Saints 101: Bl. John Dominici

June 11, 2012

Bl. John Dominici (1350-1420, feast – June 10) owes a lot to St. Catherine of Siena.  Throughout his life, her intercession and her example assisted him on his path to sanctity. As a child, Bl. John has a speech impediment and was refused entrance to the Dominican Order because of it.  After a second try, he was admitted to the Order.  Desiring to be faithful to the Order’s charism, he prayed to St. Catherine of Siena, and his speech impediment was removed.  He became such a good preacher, that even St. Vincent Ferrer turned down a request to preach in Florence because he said that the city already had a great preacher in Bl. John. St. Catherine’s example also affected Bl. John greatly.  St. Catherine had attempted to bring about reform both in the Dominican Order and in the Church, and Bl. John followed her example in both of these ways.  He came to know her spiritual sons and was even assigned by Bl. Raymund of Capua, her confessor, to be Vicar Provincial of the Roman Province.  Afterward, Bl. John became prior of the reform house in Fiesole, where he helped to form St. Antoninus and Bl. Fra Angelico. Most importantly though, Bl. John sought to end the Great Schism in the Western Church.  Like St. Catherine and St. Vincent Ferrer, he sought to bring about an end to the anti-popes and the restoration of the papacy.  Going to the Council of Constance, he convinced Pope John XXIII to resign on the condition that Pope Gregory XII (who had made Bl. John a cardinal) would also resign.  Pope John agreed, and Bl. John showed him Gregory’s resignation, which he had been holding the whole time.  Pope Benedict XIII was then deposed, and Martin V was elected by the Council as the true Pope. Bl. John Dominici lived at a time crucial both to the history of the Dominican Order and also to the Church.  May his example lead us also to give ourselves over to the service of supporting the Church, the papacy, and the Dominican Order. O God, giver of love, you strengthened the blessed confessor and bishop, John, to keep the church’s unity and renew regular discipline; grant us, through his prayers, to be of the same mind with him and to act like him in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you.

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