29 September 2021

St Dominic Is Not Impressed With Your 'Risorgimento'

St Dominic expresses his displeasure at the Freemasonic Kingdom of Italy's conquest of the Papal States in 1870.

From Laodicea

By Thomas Cordatus

It was 15th September, 1870. The French had lost the battle of Sedan a couple of weeks before (Pope Pius IX, a witty man, remarked that France had lost ses dents). Just five days ago, on September 10th, King Victor Emmanuel II had written to the pope telling him that he intended to march into Rome and take it over. The following day, the 11th, the Italian armies had entered illegally into the papal domains. By the 20th, they will have taken Rome and the patrimony of St Peter will be no more.

But to the south, in Sobriano of Calabria, strange things were afoot. The town had a famous shrine to St Dominic. It dated from the 16th century; for, on 15th September, 1530, the friars of the convent had received a miraculous image of St Dominic, not painted with human hands. In memory of this favour, a papal bull allowed them to sing Mass at two in the morning every year on that day, since this was the hour when the painting had been received.

In 1865, a large new statue of St Dominic had been sculpted and placed inside the church. It was made of solid wood, weighing more than twenty stone, and had needed five men to put it into place. A single man could only with great difficulty move it even a little on its base.

At two in the morning, on the 15th September 1870, the Dominican provincial sang Mass. He lived by himself, near the church, since the ‘laws’ of the time had dissolved all religious communities. After the Mass, a few women present in the church thought that they saw the great statue of St Dominic moving by itself.

At eleven in the morning a solemn Mass in honour of St Dominic was sung. Normally there would have been a procession afterward, but this year for some reason it was cancelled. The people are disappointed. So they remain in the church to pray. Again, the statue is seen to move of itself, and by more people this time. It goes back and forwards, left and right, in the form of a cross. Not only this, but the face of St Dominic is clearly to seen to change expression: he looks alternately severe and peaceful. Often he turns to the statue of our Lady of the Rosary, with a tender, confident gaze. The colour in his face comes and goes. His lips open “like those of a man about to speak”. His right hand, which had been closed, opens and gesticulates. The lily in his left hand moves in all directions; so do the star and halo above his head. Wrinkles appear on his forehead, which is bathed in sweat, and his eyes move in all directions.

By noon, the fact has become public in the town. A large crowd, both of locals and of visitors, come to look. Some stand afar off, some go close to examine, all marvel. The platform on which the statue rests does not move. There are no cords attached to the statue, nor is it moved by some concealed person. The movements are not caused by the wind, for neither the draperies of the canopy which overhangs the statue nor the candles on either side of it are moving. In any case, the church door looks north, and there was a strong west wind that day. The bolder folk go to take hold of the statue, and they find themselves being moved by its motion. It rises some inches above the surface on which it rests. Above all, though, it is the head of the saint that moves, and his expression that changes – severe, threatening, then gentle once more.

On 19th January 1871, the bishop, Philippe Mincione, announces an investigation. Sixty-one witnesses depose under oath to what they have seen, including Fr Thomas Sarraco, the Dominican provincial. Many more people had wished to testify, but the bishop decided to call a halt.

On 11th February, the episcopal verdict is pronounced. There is no natural explanation for what has happened. Further proof of this, says the bishop, lies in the many graces, and even temporal blessings, received in Sobriano since. The moral effects on the diocese have been excellent. “Having invoked the holy name of God, we declare that everything is supernatural and miraculous in the movements of the statue of St Dominic on 15th September, 1870”.

{from Fr Pie Marie Rouard de Card, Le Miracle de Saint Dominique à Sobriao, Louvain (C. J. Fonteyn) and Paris (Poussielgue Freres), 1871}

O God, Who hast been pleased to shed throughout thy Church the light of the worthy deeds and healthful teaching of thy blessed Confessor Dominic, grant unto the same, with the help of his prayers, that she may never be either helpless in things temporal, or barren in things spiritual.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen.

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