Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 3 February

Blessed Matthew of Paris, O.P.

Whilst he was dean of the Church of Saint Vincent the Martyr at Castres, Blessed Matthew saw Saint Dominic rapt in ecstasy and raised an arm’s length above the ground. This wonder attracted him to the saint, who accepted him as his child and made him the first superior of the Convent of Paris. Though the Order had received many Papal Bulls, it had not yet acquired full autonomy, or an independent footing, the right of celebrating the Divine Office in its houses, of burying the dead, or of exercising the sacred ministry for the benefit of souls. Blessed Matthew labored with a rare prudence and great perseverance and moderation to obtain these privileges for his convent. He succeeded in winning over for this object the opinion of good people, by giving them to understand that, according to the words of the Holy See itself, this greater freedom “is for the glory of God, not for any motive of temporal interest” and that the Friars, in forming a more closely united family with a better regulated apostolate, far from upsetting the well-being of the different dioceses, serve the interests of souls with greater profit. As many as five hundred to six hundred religious took the habit under this holy prior, several among them are honored with the title of Blessed. Blessed Matthew had the happiness of giving the last sacraments to Blessed Reginald, and died himself full of years and merits (1227).

Prayer

Give us, O Lord, the bread of life and the water of Heaven” (Words of Saint Dominic on giving the habit to Blessed Matthew).

Practice

Make a spiritual Communion in the evening by way of Viaticum.