Feast of St. Dominic, August 8

This is a repost from August 8, 2006

This is a special feast day in my extended family. We celebrate one brother’s birthday, one sister’s wedding anniversary, and it was Great, Great Aunt Clair’s birthday, a very special, saintly lady, may she rest in peace.

About St. Dominic, see Catholic Culture, Patron Saints Index, and a goldmine of links from the Dominicans (of course!).

St. Dominic was born in Spain, but fought Albigensianism, a Christian heresy in western Europe. Father John Hardon has an excellent explanation of Albigensianism.

Dominic founded the Order of Preachers. The reason why so many people were being sucked into this heresy was plain ignorance. So his mission was preach the Gospel, the Truth. From the Encyclopedia of Catholic Saints (August), there are some interesting notes on his life:

It was while he was still a student that he was given the first opportunity to show that charity and loving kindness which were to be the hallmarks of his life. The harvests had been poor, the reserve supplies of food were quickly running out, famine was already devastating the countryside and would soon reach Palencia. As always it was the little people, the poor and the humble, who were the first to be affected. The professors at the university took no notice; so long as they were paid they could always buy something on the black market. The students were as carefree as usual; if the worst came to the worst, they could always go somewhere else in search of learning and food. But Dominic at once sold all his possessions, including all the books that he had annotated with his own hand. For a scholar, and particularly for a scholar in those days, this was a great sacrifice, but Dominic explained it simply: “I do not wish to study dead parchments when men are dying of hunger.” He used the money to buy food for the poor, but the words that he spoke–clear, simple and full of the spirit of the Gospel–aroused his fellow-citizens to their duty, and works of charity began to multiply all over the city. For Dominic was a scholar whose search for truth had drawn him closer to his fellow-men and not, as so often happens, away from them.

So beautiful! What a reminder on what our studies and reading should bring us. And these actions at the age of 16!

I couldn’t find many quotes from this saint…but the ones I did find all point back to penitence and fasting. Another prod that in this day mortification is still very much needed.

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A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either command them or be enslaved to them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.

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Fight the good fight, my daughters, against our ancient foe, fight him insistently with fasting, because no one will win the crown of victory without engaging in the contest in the proper way.

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Possess poverty. (Dying words)

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For this saint’s feastday, I don’t think anything elaborate would be appropriate. We won’t be fasting, but simplicity will be the aim. I’m going to trace back to Dominic’s Spanish roots and use a recipe (once again) from my favorite Spanish cookbook My Kitchen in Spain by Janet Mendel for the main dish. My tomatoes are ripening and this recipe is perfect for using some of those luscious fruits, Chicken Sautéed with Fresh Tomato. Accompanying this I will have brown rice, a simple green salad and fresh fruit salad for dessert.

Chicken Sautéed with Fresh Tomato

Pollo con Tomate

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs
4 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 8 large tomatoes)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pimentón 2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. brandy
Choppped fresh flat leaf parsley

Heat the oil on medium high heat in a deep skillet, then add and brown the chicken pieces, about 10-15 minutes. Remove when browned all over, and drain extra fat except 2 tablespoons.

Either microwave or boiling water method, blanch and peel the tomatoes. Seed the tomatoes and chop coarsely, making 5 1/2 to 6 cups.

Heat remaining oil in skillet on high, add all remaining ingredients except parsley. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken back to the pot. Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered, about 45 to 75 minutes. Remove the chicken when done, but continue cooking the tomato sauce over medium heat until very thick and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Add chicken back to the pot to reheat. Remove bay leaves, serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Another sidenote on St. Dominic. He’s the patron of scientists, astronomers and astronomy. I wish I realized this before I went to the grocery store. Seems a star fruit would be in order for our fruit salad. 😉 But we’ll eat out on the porch and perhaps do a little star-gazing tonight, as the night is clear.

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