St. Dominic Studies at Palencia

Stained glass window from St. Dominic's Church in Washington, D.C.
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.

At about the age of fourteen Dominic began studying in Palencia, then the only flourishing center of higher learning in Castile. There he devoted himself to the study of theology and philosophy and became known for his quick, inquisitive mind as well as for his ability to put his learning into action. His preaching and debating skills and his concepts of Christian living were undoubtedly formed during these years.

Many aspects of theology would become fundamental to Dominic’s vision for preaching and Christian living: his emphasis on the integration of study and spirituality, his passion for truth, his recognition of all human beings as having been created in the image of God, his compassion for those mired in darkness and despair, and his burning desire to communicate his message. Dominic’s skills in reasoning and logic enabled him to isolate theological error and heresy. He developed an ordered mind, as seen in his disputations and in the organization of his Order. During this time Dominic increasingly turned to prayer and the idea of combining the fruits of contemplation and prayer, a prominent characteristic of the Order. To this day Dominican tradition and spirituality emphasize the role of theology in preaching the Word contained in the Scriptures.

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.