Dominican Pleading with Queen Isabella

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.

The fifteenth century was the age of exploration, and the Dominicans became active missionaries to the newly discovered lands. An important advocate of Christopher Columbus’ great venture of 1492 was Bishop Diego de Deza, the Dominican bishop of Palencia, whose own goal was to establish missions along Columbus’ proposed route. Diego persuaded local Dominicans to plead with Queen Isabella for financing for Columbus’ expedition, this securing his own objective as well. Isabella I of Spain (1451 -1504) was known as the “Catholic Queen” because of her strong faith. Her confessors were Dominican friars, and she ensured that Dominican monasteries and convents in Spain were protected from attack. Isabella’s patronage of Columbus made possible his discovery of America; this great legacy is noted by Columbus’ ship in the background.

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.