Blessed Humbert

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

Of all the early Dominican writers, Humbert of Romans (1200 – 1277), the fifth master general of the Order, most clearly recapitulated the Dominican ideal. His major concern was to help his brothers understand their vocation as preachers and to clarify Dominican law and Dominican life. His profound writings on the “grace of preaching” stress the requirements of enthusiasm, discipline, knowledge, and compassion and emphasize the nobility of the preacher’s calling. Humbert codified the Dominican liturgy, wrote commentaries on the Dominican Constitutions and rule, and cast the Constitutions in their present format. His most important work is a lengthy treatise of the founding of the Dominican Order and a detailed description of Dominican offices. In his left hand Humbert holds a master copy of the Dominican Constitutions, which he always carried so that when he visited the various houses a copy could be made.

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.