Blessed Pierre Claverie and Dominican "apostolic" holiness

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(Br Gianni Festa op - Postulator General of the Order)

 

The forthcoming beatification of Pierre Claverie op (December 8, 2018) and his entry into the Santoral of the Order of Preachers (according to the latest statistics, the Santoral of the Order of Preachers is composed as follows: 83 saints, 287 blessed, 25 venerable, 119 servants of God) brings us back to the image of holiness as it was conceived and promoted by the hierarchy of the Order, from the beginning (I mean the canonization of St. Dominic of Caleruega in 1234). This model of holiness is expressed in the triad: preacher/doctor, virgin (religious) and martyr. The first modern saint to whom the three haloes have been attributed is the Dominican Saint Peter Martyr of Verona; but also Saint Dominic, according to the hagiography and the primitive liturgy of the Order, is rewarded with haloes, not three but two: those of virginity and that of the doctor/preacher. However, there is no lack of allusion to the image of Dominic "martyr": when, for example, several times in the reference of the hagiographic text is made to his desire for martyrdom or to the danger he faces - that of being killed by the Cathars - when he went around to preach. Finally, Saint Catherine of Siena is celebrated in the liturgy as honored with the triple crown of the preacher/doctor, virgin and martyr.

This historical-hagiographical premise is important because it helps us better to understand what we can call the "apostolic model of Dominican holiness" and which recalls the first saints that the Order has proposed to the piety and imitation of the brothers and sisters according to the triad of the preacher/doctor, virgin, martyr (Dominic, Peter Martyr, Thomas Aquinas and Catherine of Siena). At the beginning of the third millennium, therefore, the figure of Blessed Pierre Claverie not only inaugurated the procession of the saints whose holiness was officially recognized but in its completeness and depth unquestionably re-proposed the identity of the Dominican charism. An identity that can be defined as follows: that of the consecrated person in religious life who, called to the mission of preaching, with the means of study and common life, dedicates himself to the service of the Church and of humanity as a priest and bishop, and as the creator of an original and innovative "theology of the encounter with the other", until the complete gift of himself in the witness of martyrdom. A holiness never sought after at the table, never planned, but the effect of a total availability to the will of God that makes its way every day more and more into contact with the various realities in which it will find itself living.