Friday, 14 September 2012

Saint Dominic in Soriano

The Commemoration of Saint Dominic of Soriano


This liturgical feast commemorates the miraculous appearance of a taumaturgic painting of Saint Dominic in the Convent of San Domenico in Soriano Calabria. On 15 September, 1530, three mysterious women appeared a few hours before Matins and one of them entrusted into the hands of the sacristan a roll of canvass to be presented to the House Superior. The friars found out later that the canvass had a painting of Saint Dominic. It was later revealed that the three ladies were in fact the Virgin Mary accompanied by Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Mary Magdalene.  

When the picture was exposed to public veneration, a multitude of prodigies took place, the account of which fills volumes. No less than sixteen hundred of these miracles, juridically attested, took place within the space of seventy-eight years. Pope Innocent XII., in the year 1644, granted a festival in commemoration of this event and of the vast number of miracles through this holy painting.  

The devotion to San Domenico in Soriano became very popular in Southern Italy and since Calabria was then under the Spanish crown, the friars also brought the devotion to Spain and to the Western Hemisphere and even as far as the Philippines and to China.  In Spain, the first of the many altars in honor of the miraculous icon was built at the old conventual Church of Santo Tomas of Madrid and became the center of its devotion in the Spanish capital. Devotional pamphlets, devotionaries as well as prints were made to divulge this devotion among the faithful. In Poland the devotion was also very popular and even till today, the images of the picture can still be seen in many of the priories and churches. 

On September 15,1870, just five days before the Roman occupation by the troops of Victor Emmanuel, a new prodigy took place at Soriano. A wooden life size statue of Saint Dominic  suddenly seen to move like a preacher in the pulpit ; it advanced and drew back ; the right arm rose and fell; the countenance became animated, sometimes assuming a severe and threatening aspect, at other times appearing sad, or again full of sweetness and reverence as it turned towards the picture of our Lady of the Rosary. This extraordinary spectacle lasted for an hour and a half, and was witnessed by about two thousand persons. A juridical inquiry was ordered by the local ordinary and was proclaimed to be miraculous.  The extraordinary event was announced to the Order in a circular letter by the Master of the Order, Father Alexander Vincent Jandel, admonishing the brethren to be conscientious of their vocation and the will towards the restoration of religious observance.  The prodigy in some way, confirmed the policies of restoration which enabled the Order to enjoy a great degree of rebirth in the early XX century.  

This feast was suppressed when the memoria of our Lady of Sorrows was moved to this date.

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