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Our Program of Formation involves eight years of academic and ministerial training rooted in our Thomistic tradition, a one year novitiate, two years of philosophy, a Residency year, and four years of theology. Throughout all that time our student friars in formation depend completely on the generosity of others and so keep our benefactors in particular at the center of our prayer life. Pleased do add your own regular donation to our continuing need. We thank you now and will continue to thank you with our prayers.
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The Angel of Judgment
With zeal and grace, St. Vincent Ferrer brought many to conversion of mind and heart during his 58 years as a Dominican friar. Read some of that life by clicking on the title of this post.
Saint Vincent Ferrer
This great ornament of the Dominican Order was born about the year 1346 at Valencia in Spain, of pious and well-to-do parents. Even before his birth wonderful signs presaged his future sanctity; and, after a childhood of singular holiness, he took the habit of a Friar Preacher; entering on his eighteenth year. During the years of study and teaching which followed his profession, he doubtless practiced the lesson he so beautifully gives to others in his "Treatise on the Spiritual Life," a book which in its day enjoyed as great a popularity as the "Imitation of Christ" and the "Spiritual Combat” in our own times. "When you are reading or studying, you should often turn to our Lord to converse with Him, and to ask Him to give you understanding. . . . Hide yourself in the Wounds of Jesus and then resume your reading."
Never, perhaps, had Europe stood in such need of being evangelized by a Saint as during the latter half of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century. Two terrible scourges, each bringing countless evils in its train, were desolating the Church and the world. One was the awful pestilence known as the Black Death, which is said to have carried off one third of the human race ; the other was the Great Schism, during which sometimes as many as three rival Popes divided the allegiance of Christendom. It was by no means easy at the time to know which election had been valid; and, whilst England remained faithful to the true Pope, France and Spain, probably in perfect good faith, supported the Anti-Pope, who had established himself at Avignon. Saint Vincent Ferrer was for some time Confessor to the Anti-Pope, Peter de Luna (Benedict XIII.). The anxieties of this office caused the Saint a severe illness, but our Lord appeared to him and cured him, at the same time bidding him quit the Pontifical Court and go forth to preach throughout the length and breadth of France and Spain the approach of the Last Judgment. With extreme difficulty the Saint at length obtained from Benedict permission to obey the command, and entered upon his commission with ample powers as Legate of the Apostolic See. The Divine Head of the Church, who was thus providing for her needs in her hour of trial, endowed this messenger with miraculous gifts almost unparalleled in history.
The remaining twenty years of Saint Vincent's life were spent in evangelizing the countries which our Lord had assigned to him as his field of labor. He also preached in Savoy and Italy. In Christian art he is depicted with wings, in allusion to the passage in the Apocalypse relating to the "angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to preach unto them that sit upon the earth, and over every nation, and tribe, and tongue and people," bidding them "fear the Lord, and give Him honor, because the hour of His judgment is come." For the common theme of Saint Vincent's preaching was to exhort men to prepare for the coming of the Judge.
A large multitude of people was accustomed to accompany the Saint from place to place, the number amounting to many thousands. These often followed him either simply from devotion and to have the advantage of his daily sermon, or they were penitents, great sinners converted by him and anxious to atone for their past life. It was calculated that more than 100,000 persons, who were considered hopelessly obstinate in an openly wicked life, were brought to sincere and lasting repentance by the preaching of Saint Vincent. Wherever he appeared, heresy was put to flight, enemies were reconciled, and deadly feuds extinguished. God was pleased by his means to convert 25,000 Jews and 8000 Moors in various parts of Spain. By his persuasion a large number of churches, monasteries, and hospitals were erected in various places and he also caused many bridges to be built over rivers for the benefit of the people. He loved to collect children around him and would teach them how to make the sign of the cross and to say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed, instructing them in the simplest words how to show their love for God, to obey their parents, and to do good to others. He is regarded in Spain as the special patron of orphans and was the founder of some celebrated orphanages, which were placed under the care of Dominican Tertiaries.
After his daily sermon, Saint Vincent, to satisfy the devotion of the people, was obliged to allow them to kiss his hand in token of reverence and to bring the sick that he might lay his hand upon them with prayer. An immense multitude, whose number is known only to God, were thus perfectly cured of every kind of disease. On more than one occasion he raised the dead to life and he may be considered the great Thaumaturgus of the Dominican Order. In the midst of these astonishing signs of the Divine power working through him, Saint Vincent's humility remained ever his most distinguishing virtue. To a Franciscan friend, who, in the midst of a public ovation, said to him, " Brother Vincent, how is pride now? " the Saint replied with a smile, " It comes and it goes, Brother, but it never stays ; " and no one was ever more sincere in acknowledging himself an unprofitable servant.
Worn out with age and labor, Saint Vincent was attacked by his last illness at Vannes, in Brittany, and happily departed to our Lord on Wednesday, April 5, A.D. 1419, at the age of seventy-three. He was canonized by Pope Callixtus III. in the year 1455.
Among St. Vincent's writings are: “De suppositionibus dialecticis"; "De natura universalis"; "De monderno ecclesiae schismate", a defence of the Avignon pontiffs; and "De vita spirituali". His "Sermons" were published at Antwerp (1570), Augsburg (1729), and Lyons (1816); and his complete works at Valence (1591). He was canonized by Calixtus III at the Dominican Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome, 3 June, 1455.
O God, who drew to the knowledge of your holy Name a multitude of the nations by the admirable preaching of Blessed Vincent, your Confessor, grant, we beseech you, that we may be found worthy to have Him as our rewarder in heaven whom Vincent announced on earth as the Judge to come, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
 Any book written by a saint is a treasure, but a book written by one who was hailed in his time as the "angel of the Apocalypse," his Treatise consists of 19 brief instructions on a variety of timeless spiritual topics, all but two of which are easily translatable to the lay apostles of today. The reader will find especially relevant this great Dominican preacher's remedies for getting rid of the Devil, keeping him always at bay, and discerning true from false revelations. If you want to be a saint, do as Louis Bertrand did, and take to your heart and to your domestic hearth this handy and portable book, written by a thaumaturgus (wonderworker) who raised over 30 dead people to life and who converted 25,000 to the Catholic faith. [Amazon.com]
 Only the Bible has been more influential as a source of Christian devotional reading than The Imitation of Christ. This meditation on the spiritual life has inspired readers from Thomas More and St. Ignatius Loyola to Thomas Merton and Pope John Paul I. Written by the Augustinian monk Thomas à Kempis between 1420 and 1427, it contains clear instructions for renouncing worldly vanities and locating eternal truths. No book has more explicitly and movingly described the Christian ideal: "My son, to the degree that you can leave yourself behind, to that degree will you be able to enter into Me." [Amazon.com]
 The Spiritual Combat is known as one of the greatest classics in ascetic theology, along with The Imitation of Christ. In both cases the authors are shrouded in mystery. Several 17th century editions were published under the name of the Spanish Benedictine, John of Castanzia. Some writers of the Society of Jesus have ascribed the book to the Jesuit, Achilles Gagliardi, but most critics however consider Fr. Lawrence Scupoli as the author of this famous treatise. The first known edition was published in Venice in 1589 and contained but 24 chapters; later editions appeared with more chapters, so it is possible that the Theatines or another religious order may have been part of the composition. Whatever may be the solution of the problem of the author, doubt of the actual one or ones, can take nothing away from the value and efficacy of this "golden book" as St. Frances de Sales called it. It was "the favorite, the dear book" of this great master of the spiritual life who, for 18 years, carried in a pocket a copy which he had received from Fr. Scupoli in Padua himself. The Saint read some pages of it every day, entrusted to its supernatural and human wisdom, the guidance of his soul, and recommended it to all under his direction. The purpose of the work is to lead the soul to the summit of spiritual perfection, by means of a constant, courageous struggle against our evil nature, which tends to keep us away from that goal. [Catholictradition.org]