Thursday, December 19, 2002

20 DECEMBER II


This is the feast of St. Dominic of Silos. He restored the Benedictine monastery of Silos in Spain. This is the monastery whose monks produced the album ‘Chant’ a few years back that made Gregorian chant a household word in this country. St. Dominic the founder of the Order of Preachers was named after today’s saint. From Engelbert’s “Lives”: “Expectant mothers invoke [St. Dominic of Silos] for a happy delivery. When a queen of Spain was on the point of giving birth to a child, the abbot of Silos took St. Dominic’s staff and carried it into the royal palace, and this relic remained there until the happy event had taken place.”

The commemoration of the Irish saint Ursinus (or Ursicinus) is also kept on this day. He was forced to leave the monastery of Luxeuil with St. Columbanus and traveled into exile as far as the wilderness above the river Doub. The legend says that the area was populated only by bears whom the saintly Ursinus got to do his bidding. He acquired the nickname “Ursinus” from these companionable bears and his real name is no longer known. There exists a bell which is said to have belonged to him and is of antique Irish design. [All from D’Arcy]