Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 9 February

detail from a holy card of Blessed Bernard Scammacca, date and artist unknownBlessed Bernard of Scammaca, O.P.

After a very pious and promising childhood, Blessed Bernard fell into grave disorders in his youth, and even the remorse which tormented him did not convert his soul. A serious wound in his leg obliged him to cease his irregular life and was the means employed by God to bring him to a better mind. Cast down to the earth like Saint Paul, he consecrated himself to the Order of Saint Dominic, and after severe penance he became a model of regularity. When praying in the garden the birds came flying about him and perched on his hands and shoulders. One night when the brother porter came to call him to an errand of charity, he found Blessed Bernard in ecstasy, holding a book which a beautiful child lighted up with a torch. In this way God sometimes, not content with restoring repentant sinners to his full friendship, even treats them with a special preference, so as almost to make innocent souls jealous, if there were such a thing as jealousy among the saints (1486).

At the translation of his relics, a gentleman of the neighborhood who contemptuously said: “Let us go and see this so-called saint whom the Friars have recently been trying to pass off on us,” fell from his horse and broke his leg, but on making amends to the blessed he was completely cured.


“Purify me, O my God, and I shall be as white as snow.”


Lower your eyes modestly in a spirit of compunction and at the remembrance of your sins, or raise them with contrition and confidence towards your crucifix.