Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Raymund of Capua
October 4, 2012
Among the many saintly Masters of the Order, Bl. Raymund of Capua (1330-1399, feast – Oct. 5) holds a special place. Not only was he tasked to be the spiritual director of St. Catherine of Siena, but he was also elected Master of the Order in a time when the Church was suffering through the Great Schism, and the Order was going through its own trials as it stood on the verge of rupture. While still a young priest, Bl. Raymund came to Siena to be the lector of the Dominican priory in that city. Soon after, he met St. Catherine who heard these words while assisting at one of his masses:
This is my beloved servant; this is he to whom I will give thee.
Siena, at the time, was in the midst of the Black Plague. St. Catherine and Bl. Raymund both worked tirelessly to aid the sick, and eventually Bl. Raymund contracted the plague. Yet, thanks to the intercession of St. Catherine, he was miraculously healed. A few years later, Bl. Raymund was called to Rome, and with St. Catherine, he labored for the restoration of the Church to be one fold. At the time, the Great Schism had just erupted, and Bl. Raymund was asked by the Holy Father to try and reconcile the Church. After being prevented from discussing the matter with King Charles V, Bl. Raymund was asked to preach against the schismatics in Genoa. It was at this time that he learned of the death of St. Catherine. This experience of trying to reconcile the Church proved to be incredibly important for Bl. Raymund who, only weeks after St. Catherine’s death, was elected Master of the Order. Not only had the Church been suffering through a schism, but the Order too was undergoing is own divisive period. Bl. Raymund strove to unite the two factions in the Order, and with the help of holy friars, such as Bl. John Dominici, he was able to reestablish the regular observance in the Order and restore peace and concord. For this, he was referred to as the “Second Founder” of the Order. Thanks to Bl. Raymund, the Dominican Order never split. O God, who wouldst have Blessed Raymund, thy confessor, to be a distinguished master of evangelical perfection and a faithful supporter of the Apostolic authority, graciously grant, that, living after his example on earth, we may deserve to be crowned with him in heaven. Through Christ our Lord.