Baptism of St. Dominic

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Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

Before Dominic’s birth his mother, Jane of Aza, had a vision of a hound racing through the world with a flaming torch in it’s mouth, igniting everything it touched. A second extraordinary sign occurred at his baptism, which took place in the parish of San Sebastian in Caleruga. While the water was being poured on his head, his Godmother saw a bright star shining on his forehead. These two images–a dog with a torch and a star–have since been associated with Dominic, and paintings and statues usually show him with a star over his forehead and accompanied by a dog with a torch in it’s mouth. His baptismal name, Dominic, means “the man of the Lord.” Through baptism, one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic tradition, Dominic received God’s presence in his life and the grace he radiated to others.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.