mercredi 14 octobre 2015

Saint DOMINIQUE LORICATUS (l'Encuirassé), ermite bénédictin et confesseur

Saint Dominique

ermite ( 1060)

Ermite surnommé "l'encuirassé" à cause des instruments de pénitence qu'il portait sur lui en réaction contre la décadence morale du clergé de son époque. Il vécut d'abord dans les Marches d'Ancône dans la solitude et un rigoureuse pénitence. Il portait directement sur sa chair une cuirasse de fer qu'il ne quittait que pour se donner la discipline en expiation de ses fautes et en réparation de celles des autres chrétiens. Son père spirituel lui permet de partir pour Font-Avellano dans la province de Spolète, où il prit le chemin du ciel.


Saint Dominique l’Encuirassé

Fête le 14 octobre

† 1060

Lorsqu’il découvrit que ses parents avaient acheté l’évêque pour qu’il devienne prêtre, il refusa de dire la messe une fois de plus, et se fit ermite. Son surnom « l’Encuirassé », provient de la cotte de mailles qu’il portait. Saint Pierre Damien fit de lui le prieur d’un ermitage près de San Severino Marche, aux environs de Tolentino.

Dominic Lauricatus (Loricatus), OSB Hermit (RM)

Born in Umbria, Italy, in 995; died 1060. Throughout his life Dominic wore a coat of rough iron chain mail next to his skin (hence the name Loricatus, which means clothed in armor). He wore it not for protection, but for mortification. His father had him ordained a priest in contravention of canon law by means of a bribe. Upon learning about this, Dominic determined to do penance for the rest of his life.

He remembered the words of St Paul: "I find then a law that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:21-24). Dominic took stock of the respective strength of his body and his soul, and found that his body was the stronger. He therefore attacked it resolutely, violently, scourging himself without mercy.

He became a hermit, then a Benedictine monk. Fontavellana Abbey to which he belonged had no fixed rule, each inmate was left to perfect himself as his own way and to invent his own method of mortification. Saint Dominic's was to wear his iron coat of mail next to his skin, removing it only when scourging himself, at which time he also recited Psalms. His particular exercise was to recite the psalter as quickly as possible, and at the same time give himself as many strokes as possible.

We would be wrong to laugh at him, for our own century is even more ridiculous with its constant search for records, and moreover Dominic harmed no one, not even himself, since in the long run he proved himself worthy of God.

The only chink in his armor was that he could not live peacefully with the other monks and had to change his hermitage frequently. A champion of violence against himself, he was perhaps too violent with others as well, not physically but in his attitude. Violent personalities such as his often arouse hostility and fear.

His superior, Saint Peter Damian, once pointed out to him that "gentle patience is a virtue," but Dominic preferred to suffer physically at his own hands than to suffer in his spirit at the hands of others. And if there is more than a touch of pride in this, we should remember that Dominic was a man like the rest of us.

It might perhaps seem that he was insulting his Creator by thus maltreating the body that had been given him. (It was so much against his nature to treat his body other than harshly that he died of the first medicine that, out of obedience, he was obliged to take). But God sees into our hearts and souls, and the strange and disconcerting attitude of Dominic was, in the last analysis, an attitude of love. For far greater than the love or hate of one's body is the love of God, and if Dominic scourged his body it was from love of God.

Everyone is free to express this love in his own way--there are probably no two ways which are exactly alike for reaching God. Few will follow that of Saint Dominic; for even Saint Paul, who despised his body, did not advise us to clothe ourselves in armor literally, but rather to arm ourselves in spirit:

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:11- 17) (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

He is portrayed as a hermit scourging himself in the cold with a coat of mail nearby. Venerated at Fontevellana (Roeder).

October 14

St. Dominic, Confessor

Surnamed Loricatus.]  THE SEVERITY with which this fervent penitent condemned himself to penance for a fault into which he was betrayed without knowing it, is a reproach to those who, after offending God with full knowledge, and through mere malice, yet expect pardon without considering the conditions which true repentance requires. Dominic aspired from his youth to an ecclesiastical state, and being judged sufficiently qualified, was promoted to priest’s orders; on which occasion his parents had made a simoniacal stipulation with the bishop, to whom they had made a handsome present. The young clergyman coming soon after to the knowledge of this crime, condemned by the divine law, and punished with the severest penalties and censures by the canons of the church, was struck with remorse, and could never be induced to approach the altar, or exercise any sacerdotal function. In the deepest sentiments of compunction he immediately entered upon a course of rigorous penance. In a desert called Montfeltre, amidst the Appenine mountains, a holy man called John led a most austere life in continual penance and contemplation, with whom, in eighteen different cells, lived so many fervent disciples who had put themselves under his direction. Amongst them no one ever drank wine, or ate flesh, milk, butter, or any other white meats. They fasted every day with only bread and water, except on Sundays and Thursdays; had a very short time allowed them for rest in the night, and spent their time in manual labour and assiduous prayer. Their silence was perpetual, except that they were allowed to converse with one another on Sunday evenings, between the hours of vespers and compline. Severe flagellations were used among them as a part of their penance. Dominic, after spending some time in a hermitage at Luceolo, repaired to this superior, and begged with great humility to be admitted into the company of these anchorets, and having obtained his request, by the extraordinary austerity of his penance gave a sensible proof how deep the wound of sorrow and compunction was, with which his heart was pierced. After some years, with the leave of his superior, he changed his abode with a view to his greater spiritual improvement, in 1042, retiring to the hermitage of Fontavellano at the foot of the Appenine in Umbria, which St. Peter Damian then governed according to the rule of St. Bennet, which it changed in the sixteenth century for that of Camaldoli. The holy abbot, who had been long accustomed to meet with examples of heroic penance and all other virtues, was astonished at the fervour of this admirable penitent. Dominic wore next his skin a rough iron coat of mail, from which he was surnamed Loricatus, and which he never put off but to receive the discipline, or voluntary penitential flagellation.

The penitential canons, by which a long course of most severe mortifications was enjoined penitents for grievous sins, began about that time to be easily commuted, through the indulgence of the church, out of condescension to the weakness of penitents, among whom, few had courage to comply with them in such a manner as to reap from them the intended advantage. Being therefore found often pernicious rather than profitable to penitents, they were mitigated by a more frequent concession of indulgences, and by substituting penitential pilgrimages, crusades undertaken upon motives of virtue for the defence of Christendom, or other good works. It then became a practice of many penitents to substitute this kind of voluntary flagellation, counting three thousand stripes whilst the person recited ten psalms, for one year of canonical penance. Thus the whole psalter accompanied with fifteen thousand stripes was esteemed equivalent to one hundred years of canonical penance. Dominic, out of an ardent spirit of mortification, was indefatigable in this penitential practice; which, however, draws its chief advantage from the perfect spirit of compunction from which it springs. If in sickness he was sometimes obliged to mingle a little wine with his water, he could never be induced to continue this custom after he had recovered his health, even in his old age. St. Peter, after an absence of some months, once asked him, how he had lived? To which Dominic replied with tears: “I am become a sensual man.” Which he explained by saying, that, in obedience, on account of his bad state of health, he had added on Sundays and Thursdays a little raw fennel to the dry bread on which he lived. In his last sickness his spirit of penance, far from being abated, seemed to gather strength. The last night of his life he recited matins and lauds with his brethren, and expired whilst they sung Prime, on the 14th of October, 1060. See his life written by his superior and great admirer, St. Peter Damian, l. 1. ep. 19. Also compiled at large, with several dissertations, by Mr. Tarchi, printed at Rome, an 1751.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Saint Dominic Loricatus

Also known as
  • Domenico Loricato

To get Dominic ordained, his parents made a gift to their local bishop, committing the sin of simony. Learning of it, Dominic devoted himself to penance, even wearing an iron cuirass next to his skin. Hermit at Luceolo, Italy. Hermit in Montefeltro, Italy. Monk at Fonte Avellano Abbey. Spiritual student of Saint Peter Damian.

  • 1060 of natural causes