Tag Archives: commentary

An American story about an Irish priest, a brave girl, and the KKK

Father James Coyle                                                     en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Each and every one of us is an individual work of art, crafted by God for Himself. Why would He do that? He does it because He is Love and wants to share Himself with us. We all are truly special in His eyes. He loves us all, individually and without reservation.

 

He will forgive each and every one of us for anything we might do to offend Him. All we have to do is admit it and ask Him for his forgiveness. However, that great interloper called “Pride”, oftentimes places for many, immovable roadblocks to humility, everyone’s needed ally on their path to Love.

 

What follows is an “American” story about a Catholic priest and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is about love and hatred in America. This is not about the present day. This happened in Birmingham, Alabama in the year 1921.

 

Father James Edwin Coyle had been born and raised in Ireland and, at the age of 23, was ordained a priest in Rome. The year was  1896.  That same year he was dispatched to the Diocese of Mobile, Alabama to begin his ministry. Father Coyle served eight years in Mobile. While there he also became a charter member of Mobile Council 666 of the Knights of Columbus.

 

Birmingham was rapidly growing and was turning into one of the primary steel-making centers in America. Thousands were flooding into the area and Bishop Patrick Allen assigned Father Coyle to be pastor of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham. This was in 1904.

 

In 1915, inspired by the silent film, “Birth of a Nation” , the second generation of the Ku Klux Klan rose up (the link can explain the first and third generations). These folks were not only anti-black they also hated Roman Catholics, Jews, organized labor and foreigners. They started the use of the “burning cross” as their symbol. By the mid-1920s, there were over 4 million klansmen nationwide.

 

Father Coyle was a passionate priest who loved his faith deeply and this love was infectious. He taught and inspired his parishioners about the beauty and importance of the Mass and Holy Eucharist and he held a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother.

 

The parish grew as Catholics gravitated to the Irish shepherd in their midst. He became the chaplain for the Birmingham Council 635 of the Knights of Columbus and his presence there brought in more members from the growing Catholic community.

 

As the Catholic population in Alabama grew, virtual hysteria on the part of the Ku Klux Klan began to permeate daily life. The Klan was spreading rumors and innuendo about Catholics kidnapping protestant women and children and keeping them imprisoned in convents, monasteries and Catholic hospitals. The Klan even spread the narrative that the Knights of Columbus was the military arm of the Pope and that they were stockpiling weapons for the upcoming insurrection.

 

One of the leading Catholic-haters of the day was a klansman by the name of  Edwin Stephenson. Stephenson lived about a block or two away from St. Paul’s Church. His daughter, Ruth, at about the age of 12, had become fascinated by the comings and goings of the Catholics at St. Paul’s every day. One day she walked down to the church and  Father Coyle was outside. They began to talk. Her father saw talking to the priest and, screaming at his child, demanded she go home immediately. Then he had a few choice words to say to Father Coyle. He then went home and beat his daughter.

 

Young Ruth was undeterred and over the next several years even managed to secretly take instruction from the nuns at the Convent of Mercy. She was baptized a Catholic on April 10,1921. She was 18 years old. When her parents found out their wedding gift to her was the worst beating she had ever received.

 

On August 11, 1921, Ruth Stephenson, of legal age, was seeking full emancipation from her parents. She did this by marrying Pedro Gussman, a former handyman who had worked at the Stephenson house several years earlier. The priest that performed the wedding was a reluctant Father James Coyle.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Stephenson loaded up his rifle and began walking to St. Paul’s Church. He had just found out that it was Father Coyle who had performed the wedding. His heart was not filled with love. Rather, with hatred spilling from his eyes, he walked up onto the porch of St. Paul’s where Father Coyle was sitting down reading and shot the priest three times. The final bullet went right through Father Coyle’s head. He died in less than an hour.

 

Stephenson turned himself in and was charged with Father Coyle’s murder. The KKK paid for the defense, the judge was a Klansman and the lawyer who defended Stephenson was Hugo Black, the future U. S. Supreme Court Justice. Although not a Klan member at the time of trial, Black did become a member afterward. The verdict took only a few hours to come in. It was “Not Guilty”.

 

Father James Edwin Coyle was a Catholic priest who loved his God, his Faith, and his Church. He was hated and murdered because of it. May he forever rest in peace.

 

copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

Venerable Henriette Delille–A Catholic Woman of Color on the Road to Sainthood*

Venerable Henriette Delille Aletaia.org

Honoring Black History Month; 2019

By Larry  Peterson

I’m sure most of us have heard of the people known as French Creoles. The Creoles are simply descendants of the settlers of Louisiana who were of French descent. The term also became applied to African descended slaves who were born in Louisiana. One of those descendants was a woman by the name of Henriette Delille.

Henriette was born in 1813 in New Orleans. Her father had been born in France and her mom was a “free woman of color”. Theirs was a common-law marriage which was quite typical at the time in New Orleans. The people practiced the placage, a recognized “legal” system whereby European men, although legally married,  entered into relationships with non-European women of African, Native  American or mixed-race descent. As a Creole, Henriette was a qualified ‘candidate’ for a placage common-law marriage and her mom was resolved to see that it happened. Her daughter was not so determined.

Henriette’s mother, on a quest to see that her daughter became a common-law wife to a wealthy white man, trained Henriette in the fine arts of dance, literature, and music. She made sure that Henriette attended as many “quadroon balls” as possible. There was one problem; Henriette was not interested. Her mind, heart, and soul were pointing in a different direction.

Henriette had developed a deep faith in Catholicism and its teachings. She wanted no part of the life her mother was planning for her. Rather, she became an outspoken adversary of the placage system because it violated the Church’s teachings on the Sacrament of Matrimony. Henriette’s objections to her mom’s wishes began causing serious discord between mother and daughter.

When Henriette was 22 years old, her mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was declared by the courts as “incompetent”. Henriette was granted control of her mom’s assets and immediately made arrangements for her to be provided for. After ensuring her mom would was well taken care of and in good hands, she sold all the other assets. She took the remaining proceeds and founded a small, unrecognized  order of nuns. They called themselves the Sisters of the Presentation. The order consisted of seven young Creole women and a young French woman.

Henriette and her little group began their fledgling ministry by taking in some elderly women who had no place to go or help take care of them. In effect, Henriette Delille had opened America’s first Catholic home for the elderly. To this day this is one of their primary charitable works. (Ironically, during the same year of 1836, a woman named Jeanne Jugan was in France acquiring a small cottage and beginning a new order. She brought a blind, crippled elderly woman into her home and so began the Little Sisters of the Poor. She had two followers with her.)

Henriette Delille had officially devoted her life to God. In 1836 she wrote, “I wish to live and die for God.” She and her group began caring for the sick, helping the poor,  teaching both free and enslaved men, women and children. Henriette became a frequent sponsor for mixed-race babies at Baptisms in nearby St. Louis Cathedral and in St. Augustine Church. She also became very active in St. Claude School,  founded for young women of color.

In 1837 Henriette’s new order received recognition from the Holy See. In 1842 the congregation changed its name to the Sisters of the Holy Family.  Today the Sisters of the Holy Family have over 200 members continuing to serve the poor by operating free schools for children, retirement homes and nursing homes in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, California and Belize.

Henriette Delille died in 1862. She was 49 years old.  On March 27, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI, declared that Henriette Delille had led a life of “heroic virtue” and declared the Creole woman from New Orleans, “Venerable”. When the sisters in her order heard the news they quickly gathered together, headed to their chapel and sang the Te Deum, praising God for the great blessing.

I believe that Venerable Henriette may well become the first African-American woman to be canonized a saint.   (This article appeared in Aleteia on Nov 4, 2016)

Father Augustus Tolton is the first African American  ordained a priest in America. Born a slave, his story is also in Aleteia. He has been declared a “Servant of God” and is on the road to sainthood..

Venerable Henriette Delille, please pray for us.

©Copyright Larry Peterson 2016

From American Slave to Catholic Priest: Meet “Good” Father Gus; the First Black Man in the United States ordained a Catholic Priest

Father Augustus Tolton                                                     www.youtube.ocm

By Larry Peterson

Honoring Black History Month; 2019

April 1, 1854, Brush Creek, Missouri:  Peter Tolton, paced nearby as his wife, Martha Jane, gave birth to their second son. They named him Augustus (after his uncle) and, before the month was out, the baby was baptized in nearby St. Peter’s Catholic Church.  Mrs. Savilla Elliot stood as Augustus’ godmother.

The baptism of Augustus was a bit unusual. That was because Mrs. Elliot was married to Stephen Elliot, who happened to be the “owner” of Augustus’ mom and dad. Mr. and Mrs. Tolton were slaves and their three children, Charley, Augustus, and Anne, were born into slavery. The slave master made sure his slaves were baptized and his family and his slaves were all Catholic.

After the Civil War began, the Toltons, seeking freedom, ‘ran away’. Peter joined the Union army and the rest of the family headed north.  With the help of Union soldiers, Martha Jane and her children arrived in Illinois, a “free” state. Martha Jane and the children settled in Quincy, Illinois. Young Augustus Tolton, aged eight or nine, was soon to meet Father Peter McGirr.

Martha Jane and her oldest boy, Charley, were hired by a local tobacco company to make cigars while Augustus, charged with taking care of his little sister, began spending a lot of time across the street from St. Peter’s Church. The pastor was Father McGirr.

Father McGirr, had noticed Augustus and his sister and, after a while, approached the boy. He introduced himself and asked a frightened Augustus if he would like to go to school. Augustus was thrilled with the prospect and said, “YES!”

Most of the white parishioners did not want a black student being taught along with their white children. Father McGirr held fast and firm and insisted the boy study at St. Peter’s. Martha Jane was shocked that her boy had been offered such an opportunity and agreed for him to go. Augustus Tolton’s life journey had been set before him even though he did not know it.

Father McGirr may have been moved by the Holy Spirit because he saw something in Augustus that others did not. The boy received his First Holy Communion, became an altar boy and proved to be a brilliant student. By the 1870s, when prejudice was basically taken for granted, Father McGirr was attempting to enroll Augustus in a seminary so he might study for the priesthood. The young black man was rejected by every American seminary to which he applied. But a tenacious and determined Father McGirr never gave up.

They both continued praying and trying and finally, Father McGirr secured admission for Augustus to St. Francis  Solanus College located right there in Quincy. Upon graduation, Augustus was accepted into the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.  In 1886, at the age of 32, Augustus Tolton was ordained to the priesthood in Rome.  He was the first black Roman Catholic priest in the United States

Newspapers from across the country told the story of the former slave now ordained as a Catholic priest.  When Father Tolton arrived back in Quincy he was greeted as a hero.  A brass band played and Negro spirituals were sung as thousands of people, both white and black, sang together, lined the streets together and held hands together as they waited to catch a glimpse of the former slave boy who had been ordained a Catholic priest.

Father Tolton walked down the avenue dressed in his cassock and wearing the biretta.  When he arrived at St. Boniface Church, hundreds were crowded inside wanting to receive his blessing.  His very first blessing went to Father McGirr who was still by his side. The next day Father Tolton said his first Mass at the church which was once again packed inside while thousands of others stood outside. For these few days prejudices in Quincy, Illinois, were non-existent. The Golden Rule—Ruled.

Father Tolton had been ill for quite some time and had never told anyone.  On a steaming July day in 1897, with the temperature at 105 degrees, Father Tolton was returning from a retreat in Bourbonnais, Ill.  When he stepped from the train he collapsed.  Taken to the hospital, he died a few hours later from sunstroke. He was only 43 years old.  His community was shocked.  They had lost a dear friend.  “Good Father Gus”, as he was lovingly called by his parishioners, was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery near Quincy.

If 130 years ago white people and black people could join hands in song to honor a black Catholic priest, why could something like this not happen again?  Maybe instead of a Ferguson, Missouri we could have a replay of a Quincy, Illinois, circa 1889.  With God, anything is possible. We should pray to Good Father Gus for this. Who knows, maybe a new Augustus Tolton will one day step from the shadows to help us once again achieve such a moment.

Father Augustus Tolton aka “Good Father Gus” was declared a “Servant of God” on February 13, 2012,  placing the priest on the road to canonization.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2016

When it comes to Life and Death, the Paradox that is Humanity is Inexplicable

Angel watching over his new charge                           www.jesusmariasite.org

By Larry Peterson

On January 22, 2019, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law the Reproductive Health Act. This was also the anniversary of Roe v.Wade.

When the governor finished signing this bill, a suffocating wind exploded from the halls of the capitol caused by the cheers and screams of those upstanding “lawmakers” who had voted to legalize infanticide. Indeed, the wind has moved like a tsunami across our land leaving behind a foul and repugnant odor.

There is an inexplicable paradox that engulfs humanity. I believe there are a far greater number of women and men who are willing to lay down their very lives for their child, even if it is still unborn.  And then there are those people who rejoice in the death and destruction of the most innocent and helpless of all God’s creations. I have no answers for this human phenomena.

The signing of this bill and the cheering that followed brought me back to a day 40 years earlier. The date was September 6, 1978. For my young family that was also a day about the life and death of a baby. Mostly, it is about how one woman would go to any lengths to save her unborn child.

Loretta had entered her sixth month of pregnancy, and in the days preceding September 6, there had been little movement from the baby. On September 5, the doctor had appeared concerned but had only said that the heartbeat “could be a bit stronger.”  He wanted her to return in a week.

The rest of that day there was no movement. We had gone to bed and fallen asleep. I was on my right side, and Loretta was lying against my back. Suddenly something jabbed me in the back. It was hard enough to wake me. I sat up and said, “The baby just kicked me.”

She said softly, “Yes, I know.”

It was 2 a.m., and all was dark and peaceful, but we did not fall back asleep. We just laid quietly, side by side, holding hands and waiting.  A second kick never came.

The next morning, after I had gone to work, Loretta began to hemorrhage. Her mom had been staying with us for a few days and thank God she was there. She called 911 and then called and left a message for me at work. My first stop was only ten minutes from the hospital, and I arrived there before the ambulance.

When they pulled the gurney out, I was stunned at what I saw. My wife had lost so much blood that her hair was smeared with it. Her eyes were closed and she was not moving. I stood by helplessly as they rushed her into the ER.

For those who reject and scoff at the wonder of God’s human creations here is an example of how one woman did not. As I was standing there not knowing what to do or where to go, a priest came in and asked me if I was Larry Peterson.  I just nodded, and he told me that my mother-in-law had called his parish.  As Loretta was being wheeled out of the house, she made her mother promise to have a priest waiting to baptize her child. Her mom kept her promise.

There was a hospital ten minutes from our house. I was told that the paramedics wanted to go there but that  Loretta demanded they take her to the Catholic hospital a half hour away. They told her it was way too risky because of the amount of blood she was losing. She would not relent, and they did as she asked. She was determined to have her child baptized. She had knowingly and willingly put her life on the line for her baby.

Loretta survived and the baby did not. She was baptized. A few days later, the remains of  Theresa Mary Peterson left the funeral home in a tiny white casket. The casket was placed on the front seat of a limousine. We followed it to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y. She was buried with my parents, and her name is on the tombstone. She did exist and will always be remembered.

As the great Pope, St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

Lest evil prevails, we must pray like never before that our nation overcomes this onslaught against the very image of God Himself.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

St. Yvo of Chartres: This little-known Saint is responsible for much of the Code of Canon Law

St. Yvo de Chartres                                                             pt.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

His name was quite unusual; it was Yvo.  He was born in the year 1040 near Chartres, France, which is why he is called Yvo of Chartres. Not much is known about his family background and his adolescent life. The documented history of his life seems to begin when Yvo became a student in Paris and began studying at the Abbey of Bec in Normandy, a Benedictine Monastery.

It was at the  Abbey of Bec that Yvo studied alongside Anselm of Canterbury, a man who would become a saint and a doctor of the church. Anselm and Yvo became good friends, and both men learned from each other. Yvo was still an unknown quantity but that began to change when he was ordained a priest.

His reputation as an outstanding teacher spread and his firm stand against religious abuse of power quickly became noticed. In 1080, at the request of the bishop, Yvo was sent to Beauvais to teach Canon Law at the Abbey of San Quentin. During his years at the Abbey, he established himself as one of the best teachers in France.  Under his guidance, the Abbey of San Quentin came to be recognized as the preeminent school of sound theology.

While here he established himself as a staunch opponent of the practice of simony ( making a profit by selling church goods and services), which at the time,  was being used by many of those within the religious ranks. In the year 1090, Yvo was appointed Bishop of Chartres. This appointment came because of his high standards, sound judgments, and humility.

His episcopal directives and rules were spread over a period of twenty-five years. During this time, his writings became well known and admired. He was always faithful to his duties, respectful of all people, loyal to the papacy and his country. At the same time, he never failed to disapprove of what he considered sinful and/or against church dogma.

Yvo was the ‘go-to guy” on matters about theology, liturgy, and political issues. But what he was most sought out for was his opinions and decisions relating to canonical matters. For example, during the period in the church, there was a situation that was causing a great division among the ruling class and the church hierarchy. It was called “Investiture.”  This differences became so intense that it developed into an actual struggle for supremacy between the monarchy(s) and the church.

Investiture was the practice of allowing the rulers to have the choice of whom to invest as bishops and abbots.  They would choose them and install them into office presenting them with their symbols of that office. When the church leaders objected to this practice there was a huge controversy that developed between the laity and the ecclesiastics. The ruling class believed this was their right. The papacy disagreed. It was Yvo of Chartres who wrote the opinions that were finally accepted by all parties at the Concordat of Worms in 1122. Thus was the end  of the practice of “Investiture.” His work stands to this day.

Yvo of Chartres left behind volumes of writings mostly covering three categories; canonical writings, sermons, and letters. The letters alone number 288. These letters all dealt with canonical and dogmatic questions and were predominantly based on the virtue of Caritas (charity). His canonical works were called the Collections of Ancient Canons and included twenty-five volumes dealing with the topic.

Yvo wrote most of his existing works while he was Bishop of Chartres. He became known as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval era and became a famous religious figure. He died on December 23, 1115, at the age of seventy-five.

Yvo of Chartres was beatified by Pope St. Pius V on December 18, 1570. His exact date of canonization is not known but he considered a canonized saint. He is the Patron Saint of Canonists. His feast day was December 23 (his date of death) but it has been moved to May 23.

St. Yvo of Chartres, please pray for us.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019

 

Roe v Wade—46 years later hurting Baby Turtles is illegal but, in America, killing Baby People is a “guaranteed right.”

Loggerhead Sea Turtle                                    en.wikipedia commons.org

By Larry Peterson

Sea turtles are protected by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Act of 1977. They are also protected by federal law which prohibits disturbing sea turtles while they are “nesting” (aka; unborn). Also, the Marine Turtle Protection Act  states that “no person may take, possess, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, sell, offer for sale, transfer, molest or harass any marine sea turtle or its nests or eggs at any times.”

Yes, we sure love our turtles, especially here in Florida where they nest around the entire peninsula. In fact, we love them so much we have penalties for “disturbing” them.  A first offense could cost a person up to 60 days in jail and a $100–$500 fine. A second charge could put you in the slammer for six months with a punishment of $1000.  After that, the penalties continue to increase with each additional offense. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense.

Naturally, we do need laws to protect our wildlife and our environment. But what about “Baby People?” Don’t they count? Why is it perfectly “legal” to kill Baby People who have not been born and you can go to jail for harming or disturbing a baby turtle that has not been born? Does that make sense?

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is one of these protected turtles. It can be found (like Baby People) all over the world. However, its primary habitat is the Florida coast, north to Virginia. It is estimated that these turtles build 67,000 nests a year along the beaches. The female lays her eggs in the sand and buries them. After two months they hatch, crawl to the sea and begin their lives. Those that survive will live close to 60 years.

It is illegal to harm, harass, or kill any sea turtles, their eggs, or hatchlings. It is also illegal to import, sell, or transport turtles or their products. It is perfectly legal to kill Baby People who have not been born. Since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973, over 61,000,000 abortions have been performed in the United States. Sixty-one million baby people have been vanquished from existence, many of them burned alive via the Saline Abortion method. That extrapolates out to, on average since 1973,  1,326,086  Baby People a year killed in America.

In 2017 there were 3.86 million births in the United States. That means that approximately one out of every four pregnancies in our country results in a life extinguished. Sea turtles are given every chance to survive with the government going so far as to put people in prison who might interfere with their survival. On the other hand, Baby People are welcomed into legalized and sweetly painted extermination camps and, unmercifully and without fanfare or emotion, eradicated.

Whatever are we doing? We civilized people have allowed a portion of our past to be destroyed. We are allowing our present to be vilified by what can only be called a great lie fabricated as the virtue of “helping” women. We have short-circuited the future of our children and grandchildren. We have  taken away from them the possibility of another Rembrandt, or a Mozart or a Jonas Salk, or a Martin Luther King Jr., or even an Abraham Lincoln living among them.

Most of all, we have taken away the meaning of the beauty and wonder of human life. We have changed it from a wondrous mystery, given to us by God our Creator. Instead, we have turned it into a disposable commodity that can be discarded at will under the guise of “reproductive rights.” Does not “reproductive rights” mean having the freedom to reproduce—not to destroy? Un-reproducing leaves only one result; that result is death.

There is a world-wide abortion counter that ticks off the abortions around the world as they happen. Look for yourself. More than one life a second is being aborted. Genocide of the innocent, living in and out of the womb, is rampant on planet Earth. Whatever have we wrought?

As the great Pope, St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

©Larry Peterson copyright 2019

St. Dominic of Silos…His intercession is credited with the birth of St. Dominic, the Founder of the Dominicans

St. Dominic of Silos                                            http://www.uCatholic.org

By Larry Peterson

Dominic of Silos was born in the year 1000 to a family of peasants. Their home was on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees Mountains, in Navarre, Spain. At an early age, Dominic was out in the fields working as a shepherd boy helping his father to manage their flocks. It was during these early years that Dominic developed a love of solitude.

When he was of age (probably his teenage years), he joined the monastery of San Millan la Cogolla and became a Benedictine monk. Dominic was ordained a priest and then appointed the Master of Novices. Soon he was named “Prior” (a position as a superior (not Abbott) in the monastery).

As Prior in the monastery Dominic came into conflict with the King of Navarre over lands surrounding the monastery.  The king insisted these lands belonged to him, but Dominic opposed the “land-grab.” The king drove Dominic and the other monks out of the monastery, and they were forced to flee the area. They eventually settled in Castille.

In 1041 Dominic and his small group of followers settled in Silos. When King Ferdinand I of Leon heard of Dominic’s arrival, he placed him and his band under his protection and allowed them to move into the Abbey of St. Sebastian.

The place was in a state of serious decay and needed much work. Dominic was named Abbot by the king and was fully in charge of their new home. As the new abbot, he realized that a complete ‘makeover” was necessary. He set out to not only restore the physical presence of the monastery but also the spiritual lives of the monks. Dominic and the other monks (in the beginning there were six monks) immediately got busy refurbishing the monastery.

Under Dominic’s leadership, the cloisters were rebuilt, and a scriptorium was added. This addition turned the monastery into a place of learning and knowledge. There was a gold and silversmith shop added and this brought in needed funds to help the monks in their charitable works. He preserved the Mozarabic Rite (a variant of the Latin rite), and the monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarabic liturgy. Within the walls of the monastery work also moved forward in the preservation of the Visigoth script of ancient Spain.

Lastly, Dominic was dedicated to ransoming Christians from the Muslims. He solicited donations from the wealthy and Dominic was personally instrumental in freeing more than 300 prisoners. At the time of Dominic’s death on December 20, 1073, the monastery had been turned into a center for scholarship, learning, and liturgical preservation but also a place of rescue and safety. Also, the number of monks active in the monastery had grown from six to forty.

There is a miraculous sidebar to Dominic’s story. Joan of Aza lived about a hundred years after Dominic of Silos. She and her husband Felix had four sons and a daughter. When the two oldest boys were grown, Joan journeyed to the Abbey at Silos, and she prayed to St. Dominic for another son.  Dominican tradition has it that she had a dream in which St. Dominic appeared to her and told her that she would have another son and that he would be a shining light to the church.

When the child was born Joan named him after the saint she had prayed to, St. Dominic of Silos. He grew up and became St. Dominic, who founded the Dominicans. Joan of Aza was beatified and declared Blessed by Pope Leo XII in 1828. Interestingly, from the time of the birth of Joan’s son, Dominic, up until 1931, it was customary for the abbot of Silos to always bring the staff of St. Dominic of Silos to the royal palace when a queen was about to give birth. St. Dominic of Silos is the patron saint of pregnant women.

St. Dominic of Silos is canonized under the pre-congregation system. His feast day is December 20.

©Larry Peterson 2019