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St. Hyacinth

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.

Known as the “Apostle of Poland,” Hyacinth (1185 – 1257) was born of a noble family in Silesia. Trained as a priest, he was appointed a canon by his uncle, the bishop of Krakow, who took him to Rome on church business in 1220. Here Hyacinth met Dominic, who influenced him so profoundly that he became a Dominican. In 1221 he was sent to Krakow, where he established the first Dominican house in Poland. During one of the Tartar invasions Hyacinth’s convent was attacked. While hurrying to hide the Sacrament, Hyacinth heard Mary, who had earlier appeared to him and told him that she would never refuse him anything, tell him not to leave her statue behind to be desecrated. It was a large statue, and Hyacinth did not see how he could carry it. “I will lighten the load,” Mary assured him. With the sacrament in one hand and the statue in the other, Hyacinth ran through the flames and escaped from the burning convent.

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.

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