August 8th is the feast of St Dominic Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order. This year St Dominic’s feast is special because we are celebrating the eighth centenary of his entrance in heaven.
As a Franciscan I cannot not rejoice in this beautiful feast day! In an interesting reflection regarding the life of St Dominic and the Order of Friars Preachers, Br Lawrence Lew O.P, a member of the English Province of the Order of Preachers, gives the following comment about the friendship struck between the two founders to the two great mendicant orders, the Franciscans and the Dominicans:
Tradition holds that during Dominic’s second visit to Rome, in 1216, he met Francis of Assisi in one of the churches there. Both were negotiating with the Holy See through their mutual patron, Cardinal Ugolino, later Pope Gregory IX, to obtain papal confirmation of their respective orders–the Order of Preachers and the Order of Friars Minor. Having seen Francis in a vision the night before, Dominic recognized him and rushed to greet him. A close friendship sprang up between the two, and to this day Dominicans and Franciscans exchange visits on each other’s founder’s feast days as a sign of unity towards a common goal. The mutual influences of Dominic and Francis can be seen in the development of their orders: Francis may have influenced Dominic to expand the practice of the vow of poverty, and the Friars Minor adopted the Dominican constitutional system as a result of their turbulent history after Francis’ death.