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Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany
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Saint of the Day: Bl. Joan of Aza

The mother of Saint Dominic

© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC BY-SA 4.0

(d. ca. 1190)

Her life

+ Although devotion to Joan was officially confirmed in 1828—at which time she was given the title “Blessed”—we known relatively about her life.

+ Joan is said to have been born in the castle of Aza in Castile, Spain. She was most likely married at a young age and her husband, Felix, was warden of the small town of Calaruega.

+ According to Dominican tradition, Joan had prayed for the birth of a son and had a vision of Saint Dominic of Silos who told her she would give birth to a son. As an act of thanks, Joan named the child Dominic. This Dominic would go on to establish the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans).

+ During her pregnancy, Joan dreamed that she had a white and black dog in her womb which broke away from her. The dog carried a burning torch in its mouth and set the world aflame. This dog later became a symbol for the Dominican Order and inspired the pun Domini canes (“the watch-dogs of the Lord”).

+ Joan and Felix had three other children, including Blessed Mannes (who later joined the order founded by his brother).

For prayer and reflection

The woman who fears the Lord will herself be praised. Her children have called her most blessed, her husband has sung her praises.”—Proverbs 31:30, 28


O God, who wonderfully made known your servant blessed Jane, the grace of the heavenly calling of her son Dominic; we beseech you that imitating her and her son thus foreshown to her, we may, by the loving intercession them both, receive everlasting rewards. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(from The St. Dominic Missal [1959])

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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