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Our Program of Formation involves eight years of academic and ministerial training. 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 ad 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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Western Dominican Province
5890 Birch Court
Oakland, CA 94618-1626
Our Dominican School
The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA offers Masters and other degree and certificate programs rooted in the tradition of the Dominican order and our brother, St. Thomas Aquinas. Faithful to the teaching of Holy Mother, the Church, our school prepares not only young men studying for the priesthood, but also other men and women who will be the leaders of local communities of faith. Please do join in supporting this essential ministry of the Western Dominican Province.
Blessed Augustine of Biella,
Friar and Priest
Bl. Augustine Fangi was born of noble parents at Bugella, also called Biella, in Piedmont, in the first half of the fifteenth century, and received the Dominican habit at an early age in the convent of his native place. He led a life of extreme innocence and rigorous penance, and was gifted with an heroic patience, of which he gave proof under a terrible illness with which he was visited, and in which he was covered with ulcers from head to foot. During the long and cruel surgical operations to which he was subjected, he remained absorbed in prayer, uniting his sufferings with those of his Divine Master, and not even uttering a groan. His prayer was continual, and in it he was often seen raised from the ground in ecstasy. He had the gift of tears, which flowed abundantly from his eyes, especially when he was saying Mass or reciting Office in Choir. His miracles were very numerous, especially in casting out devils. He raised to life an infant who had died without baptism ; and on one occasion, seeing a boy weeping inconsolably for having broken a vessel full of wine, he was touched with compassion, made the sign of the Cross over the fragments, and restored the vessel to him, whole and full of wine as before. He governed many Convents with much charity and prudence, restoring regular discipline where it had become relaxed, and giving a fresh impulse to fervent Communities. The success of his preaching and his many miracles drew upon him what is ever the most painful portion of the Saints—the esteem and admiration of men. To escape these distasteful honors, he begged to be removed to some Convent where he was unknown, and was accordingly sent to Venice, in which city he passed the last ten years of his life. His renown followed him, and was transformed after his death into religious veneration.
Blessed Augustine joyfully prepared for his passage to eternity by a devout reception of the Sacraments and by making acts of fervent love. At length, raising himself upon his knees and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he cried out with a loud voice : "Praise be to God ! praise be to the Most High I" and, with these words on his lips, he expired on the 22nd of July, A.D. 1493. He was buried in a corner of the Lady Chapel, which had been specially dear to him and where he had almost daily celebrated Mass, calling it "St. Mary's of Paradise." Many miracles were worked at his tomb. When it was opened, four years after his death, the coffin was found literally swimming in water, but the body of the holy man and his garments were as fresh and entire as though he had only been buried that morning.
During the troublous times which ushered in the nineteenth century, the Church of Saint Dominic at Venice was doomed to destruction to make room for public gardens; and the relics of Blessed Augustine now repose in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, which is served by the Franciscan Fathers. He was beatified by Pius IX.
Grant us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus, through the merits and imitation of Blessed Augustine You Confessor, so to quench the desires of the flesh by penance as ever to grow in Your grace and in the knowledge of You. Who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.