St. Dominic Receives the Rosary

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 form of the rosary today is believed to have been shaped and organized by Dominic, although the use of beads in prayer is much older than he and is not necessarily Christian; the Buddhists, for example, use a rosary that is similar to the Catholic one. What is certain, however, is that the Dominicans popularized both devotion to Mary and the mysteries of the rosary. Some scholars theorize that Dominic worked out a combination of the rosary’s mental and vocal prayer in connection with his preaching, so that when his audience returned home and said the rosary in private the mention of the mystery would help them recall the sermon’s text. Tradition also holds that Mary made various promises to Christians who recite the rosary: those who faithfully recite the rosary shall receive many graces, shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of his graces, and at the moment of death shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

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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