Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 18 February

detail from an antique Italian holy card of Blessed Lorenzo of Ripafratta, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiBlessed Lawrence of Ripafracta, O.P.

Blessed Lawrence was already a deacon when he entered the Order. He showed himself above all a child of obedience and a mirror of purity, and though an ulcer on his leg greatly tried his patience, it did not prevent him from laboring manfully for sixty years to restore regular discipline. Herein lay the great grace of his life, a grace which corresponded with the needs of the times. He had the discernment needed to form souls and was skilled in lighting up in the souls of those with whom he conversed the first spark of the love of God, leaving it to the slow action of grace to develop the first flame. He was careful to cultivate the special aptitudes of his religious, one for contemplation, another for the apostolate of art, as for example Blessed Angelico and Fra Benedetto his brother, a celebrated miniature painter. Saint Antoninus was one of Blessed Lawrence‘s novices and took pride in being the heir and propagator of his spirit. When dying, Blessed Lawrence exhorted the brethren to seek always the glory of God and to maintain unchanged the observances established by the Fathers in their religious life. “I grieve for my own loss,” wrote Saint Antoninus on his death, “for I shall receive no more those tender letters which he wrote to increase my zeal in fulfilling the duties of the pastoral office.” (1457)

Prayer

Blessed Lawrence, give us great constancy and regularity in all our exercises of devotion.

Practice

Read chapter eighteen of Book I of the “Imitation of Jesus Christ.”