St. Louis Bertrand

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.

A Dominican friar, Louis Bertrand (1526 – 81) was born Luis Beltran in Valencia, Spain, where he spent most of his ministry. However, he is renowned for his missionary work in Colombia, Panama, and the Lesser Antilles from 1562 to 1568 and is credited with baptizing many Native Americans. First assigned to the territory of New Granada, he found it difficult to understand the native language. Louis prayed for the gift of tongues, and his prayer was answered, for the natives understood him and were converted. When attacked by an armed man in Colombia, he made the sign of the cross over the gun and it was transformed into a crucifix. Louis was one of the earliest Spanish missionaries to raise his voice against the rapidity of his countrymen in the New World. Well known for his role in training young religious, he is the Dominican Order’s patron saint of novice masters.

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.