Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Mannes
August 11, 2012
The month of August brings us the family of Dominic. On August 2nd, we celebrated Bl. Jane of Aza, mother of St. Dominic. On August 8th, we celebrated the great solemnity of St. Dominic himself. And on August 18th, we have the privilege to celebrate Dominic’s older brother, Bl. Mannes (ca. 1155 – ca. 1235). From the supposed birth year of Bl. Mannes, it seems that he was about 15 when St. Dominic was born. Moreover, it is thought that Bl. Mannes had already begun his studies for the priesthood before St. Dominic’s birth. This makes it all the more amazing that Bl. Mannes would be one of the first 16 disciples of St. Dominic, which goes to show the great humility of this man. He saw the great work of his younger brother and was so drawn to it, that he too joined in the band of preachers who sought to convert the Albigensian heretics of southern France. The humility of Bl. Mannes showed forth again when the Order was approved. On the feast of the Assumption in 1217, he made profession in his younger brother’s hands and promised to be obedient to St. Dominic, whom he had helped to raise from his infancy. He lived out this promise, being sent by St. Dominic to Paris to found the famous convent of St. Jacques. He was then sent again by his brother, this time to found the first monastery of cloistered Dominican nuns in Spain where he remained as chaplain for about a decade. When news came to him of the canonization of St. Dominic in 1234, it is said that Bl. Mannes traveled to Calaruega, the birthplace of St. Dominic, where he encouraged the people to build a chapel in honor of his brother. Through all this, and what would seem to be all through his life, Bl. Mannes exemplifies a truly humble heart. O God, who by thy wonderful providence did guide Blessed Mannes, thy confessor, into the way of perfection, direct our actions by that same gracious mercy, that we may seek to do what thou command, and so attain to what thou has promised. Through Christ our Lord.