03 November 2010

San Martin de Porres

Happy feast day to all my brothers and sisters in the Province of St. Martin de Porres!

St. Martin is one of the Order's more fascinating saints:  medic/healer, animal-lover, tireless worker among the poor, and bi-locator.

Icons of Martin depict him in the (now defunct) Dominican habit of a lay brother. . .

Note that his capuce (hood) and scapular are black rather than white.  The lay brother habit was suppressed in the 1960's by General Chapter. . .much to the consternation of many of the lay brothers!

My province maintains Martin's shrine at St Peter's in Memphis, TN.

A prayer for the intercession of St Martin:

To you Saint Martin de Porres we prayerfully lift up our hearts filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you. Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every color the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of his kingdom, so that through mutual benevolence in God men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.

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  1. I didn't know that about the lay habit.

    I've seen modern pictures of lay people being "ordained" (or inducted or whatever the verb is) to the third order wearing something like a habit. Perhaps it was just an alb of some kind?

    And even more unfortunately, I read a while back in a Pew Forum survey that no group in the Church has declined as severely as "lay brothers". It's too bad really but it's a beautiful life in many ways - very hidden and Christ-like.

    Most of the churches where I live (the Canadian Arctic) were built by lay Oblates of Mary Immaculate from Quebec. Of course, nowadays, there are hardly any more Oblate priests, let alone brothers.

  2. If the lay habit has been suppressed, then what habit do lay Dominicans wear on those occasions when one is still worn (e.g., into the grave, or at chapter meetings, as I understand the Vietnamese lay Dominicans do)?

  3. Anita, the lay brother/cooperator brother habit has been suppressed. Brothers wear the same habit as the Fathers do. Lay Dominicans wear a modified scapular at their profession. Not sure what they wear at burial.

  4. Anonymous9:13 PM

    I find it interesting that the lay brother's habit has been suppressed by the Order. It is almost as though the Dominican Order wishes to promote its own extinction. Amazing.

    1. Honestly, I think that there are many OP's who want the Order to disappear.