Thursday marks the Feast Day of St. Dominic, the 13th century priest known for founding the Order of Preachers, commonly called the Dominicans, and for spreading devotion to the Rosary.
Surprisingly, though, the Dominicans don’t usually do much to celebrate the saint’s Aug. 8 feast day.
While the August feast “is for us certainly always a feast,” Dominican Fr. Angelo Giuseppe Urru told CNA, it’s not the primary one.
Instead, the order celebrates “more solemnly” May 24, which is the Solemnity of the Translation of St. Dominic.
This unusual feast day commemorates the day St. Dominic’s remains were moved, or “translated,” from their original burial spot behind an altar of the church of San Nicolo della Vigne in Bologna, Italy to a more prominent place in the church in 1233.
For many Dominican provinces, this day is the big celebration, Fr. Urru said.
The move of St. Dominic’s body was carried out at the request of Pope Gregory IX, about one year before the saint’s canonization on July 13, 1234, only 13 years after his death.
As recorded in a letter by Bl. Jordan of Saxony, one of the first leaders of the Dominicans, the brothers were very anxious before the move of the body, because they were worried that when the wooden coffin was uninterred from the stone sepulcher, the body would give off a foul odor, since it had been buried in a poorly constructed tomb, exposed to water and heat.
But they received a great surprise, because when the tomb was opened, a wonderful and sweet perfume emanated from the coffin instead.
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