Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Quiz for Dominicans and friends...



This picture of St Peter Martyr is found in our Priory. Another similar image is found in the Library of this Priory. What did it signify and in particular, what did the pose he adopt mean in the Dominican tradition?

Replies, Guesses, Answers etc via comments (below) or email please.

A Winner will be announced before Sunday or I shall supply the answer then...

16 Comments:

Blogger Lauren said...

St. Peter Martyr is often depicted with a finger to his mouth to silence heresy. (I blogged about this once, briefly -- http://cnytr.blogspot.com/2005/06/st-peter-martyr-vrs-heresy-shh.html).

9:39 pm  
Blogger Moniales said...

St. Peter's is shushing (however you spell that) the friars in the library at DHS in Washington, DC and the novitiate at the Dominican Nuns in Summit, NJ...and probably the friars in the library over the pond, there in Cambridge.

10:47 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

I repeat the question: what did the pose he adopt mean in the Dominican tradition?

Lauren, your post is very convincing and I'm sure that your explanation makes sense but it's not what the pose initially meant...

At least 2 US Dominican historians have commented on this. Start searching those books! :0)

11:06 pm  
Blogger happyguy7 said...

There is a painting by Fra Angelic entitled "St. Peter Martyr enjoins silence" so I suppose it meant that the friars should be silent when not preaching.
Daniel J

4:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The word of the Preacher must flow from a Soul of silence:

Silentium, pater Praedicatorum.

4:37 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Daniel & Anon, you're all on the right track and I agree that a Preacher must first be silent before he can preach effectively...

But... is that really what St Peter Martyr (or indeed, any friar in the 13-14th centuries) in adopting this pose actually meant?

9:09 pm  
Blogger Zadok the Roman said...

Hmmmm... didn't I read somewhere that it is said that he used to converse with the angels? One evening, another friar heard the angels and assuming they were women had St Peter punished. St Peter endured the punishment rather than divulge the special favours that God bestowed on him.
Therefore, the finger to the lip reflects silence, discretion and holy humility.

10:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't it have something to do with keeping the darn servers quiet in the sacristy?

5:39 am  
Blogger Andrew said...

Does it have to do with the Credo in Unum Deum written by St Peter with his finger in his own blood on the ground as he lay dying?
Does it refer to this Profession of Faith in the One God in the Dominican tradition?

9:46 am  
Blogger Andrew said...

Typo. It should read:
Does it have to do with the Credo in Unum Deum written by St Peter with his finger in his own blood on the ground as he lay dying?
Does it refer to this Profession of Faith in the One God and pointing the way to heaven in the Dominican tradition?

9:51 am  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Zadok et al.:You all give very good interpretations for this picture of St Peter Martyr and it may well be that Fra Angelico intended his painting to enjoin silence etc.

However, this particular gesture by which St Peter Martyr is depicted has a more ancient meaning in the Dominican tradition that has been lost, thus we take it to be an admonition.

I repeat: what did the pose he adopt mean in the Dominican tradition?

My friends, better get more Dominicans to help out! Summon the OP blogosphere! And it may help if you scour the OP history books!!

Failing that, all will be revealed on Sunday! ;0)

10:58 pm  
Blogger Zadok the Roman said...

Ah! Perhaps I have the answer!

A little research reveals that silence was originally strongly enjoined upon Dominicans. Speech outside of recreation, liturgy, learning and the Chapter ran contrary to the manner in which life was lived in Dominican houses.

10:33 am  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Zadok: Very close... so... what does the sign made by St Peter mean?!

9:46 pm  
Blogger Moniales said...

Well, Fr. Hinebush says that when the friars wished to speak they put their finger across their lips to ask permission so that's probably what you are getting at?

We don't use signs much but when a sister wishes to talk to another sister and she is at a distance she'll often tap her lips with her finger to say, "I'd like to speak to you." However, it's done with the inside of the finger. Another sister tends to tell sisters to quiet down with the same gesture if their voices get too loud!

However, I STILL don't think that this is the gesture Peter is making...The books we have on Fra Angelico say that Peter is enjoining silence and given the story of his being falsely accused that would make more sense...

6:55 pm  
Blogger Zadok the Roman said...

Very close... so... what does the sign made by St Peter mean?!

Be quiet! I'm having my picture taken! :)

10:41 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Sisters, WELL DONE!

I ought to point out that the painting used in this post is not by Fra Angelico and we have no indication it is St Peter Martyr. I just guessed it was him...

Just thought it was interesting that the finger across the lips was once a request to speak rather than an admonition to be silent!

2:48 am  

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