The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Venerable Dominic of the Mother of God

Blessed Dominic BarberiPope Gregory the Great sent monks to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons to the Church. Among recent Popes another Gregory sent messengers of the Faith from Italy to England to win back our separated brethren to the Church by word and example. Saint Augustine of Canterbury, the envoy of Gregory I, received King Edelbert into the Church. The envoy of Gregory XVI, who received into the Church a prince of the spiritual kingdom, John H. Newman, was a modest Passionist, the Venerable Dominic of the Mother of God (a matre Dei). Providence chose a worthy instrument and the Church has already undertaken his beatification. The family name of the Venerable Servant of God was Dominic Barberi. He was born of poor country people on 22 June 1792, near Viterbo. But he lost both parents at an early age, had scarcely any elementary training, and had to work for an uncle, tending cattle and laboring in the field. A companion taught him to read and a friendly Capuchin took an interest in him. Dominic devoured all the books he could lay his hands on. Fortunately there were only good ones which tended to nourish his sense of the ideal and his deep piety. When twenty-two years old he joined the Congregation of the Passion and took the name of Dominic of the Mother of God. After ordination to the priesthood he was placed in the most important offices of the Order and also labored as a missionary preacher. In 1840, Father Dominic established the first Passionist residence in Belgium and in 1842 did the same in England, at Aston Hall, Staffordshire. He labored only seven years in England and died on 27 August 1849, at a Httk railroad station near Reading. But his brief time of activity produced the most consoling results. Many distinguished converts made their confession of faith to him, among them, besides John Henry Newman, were two of the latter’s companions, E. S. Bowles and R. Stanton, John Dalgairns, and others. In 1846 he had the happiness of receiving into his own Congregation the convert George Spencer, who, under the name of Father Ignatius of Saint Paul, was most successful in his labors.

– this text is taken from The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, by Father Constantine Kempf, SJ; translated from the German by Father Francis Breymann, SJ; Impimatur by + Cardinal John Farley, Archbishop of New York, 25 September 1916