Miracle at Fanjeaux

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.

Extraordinary deeds, recognized as miracles, are attributed to Dominic. The miracle at Fanjeaux, France, is now believed to have occurred at Montreal, about five miles from Fanjeaux, where heretical practices and beliefs were common. In medieval times public debates, or disputations, were a customary means of settling theological arguments, and numerous disputations were held between Catholics and dissenters. About 1206 Dominic was challenged to a public debate by the Albigenses concerning doctrinal truth. To test which beliefs contained divine truth, Dominic and a representative of the Albigenses each threw their writings into a fire. The heretic’s dissertation was consumed by the flames, but Dominic’s writings were miraculously saved and expelled from the fire three times. As the fame of the miracle spread, Dominic was seen as a champion of truth.

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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