Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blessed Reginald of Orleans

We observed the Memorial of Blessed Reginald of Orleans yesterday according to the Dominican calendar. Blessed Reginald had an inspirational zeal for the salvation of souls and was given to teaching and preaching in a very convincing manner. He is associated with a well known miracle that is recorded by his friend and later Master of the Order, Blessed Jordan of Saxony:
While Master Dominic was in Rome in 1218, Master Reginald, then dean of St. Aignan in Orleans, arrived there, intending to go overseas. He was very highly thought of, a most learned man and a prominent public figure. He had taught canon law in Paris for five years.

On his arrival in Rome, he fell seriously ill, and Master Dominic went to vist him several times, urging him to follow the poverty of Christ and to join his Order. He prevailed upon him to agree, fully and freely, to enter the Order, so much so that he bound himself to it by vow.

So he was rescued from the serious, well-nigh desperate peril of his illness, not without a miracle of divine power. While he was feverish, with a high temperature, the queen of heaven and mother of mercy, the Virgin Mary, came to him visibly and anointed his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, navel, hands, and feet with a healing balm which she had brought wth her, saying as she did so things like, “I anoint your feet with holy oil to make them ready to spread the gospel of peace.” She also showed him the complete habit of the Order.

He was cured immediately, and his whole body was restored to perfect health. It happened so suddenly that the doctors, who had more or less given up hope of his recovery, were astonished to see him looking so well. This remarkable miracle was made known afterwards by Master Dominic to many people who are still with us today. I was present myself on one occasion when he told the story publicly during a conference he was giving in Paris.

His health restored, Master Reginald fulfilled his desire to go overseas, although he was already bound to the Order by profession. On his return, he went to Bologna, which he reached on December 21, and at once he threw himself utterly into preaching. His fervent eloquence fired the hearts of all who heard it as if it had been a blazing torch; hardly anyone was rock-like enough to be proof against its heat. The whole of Bologna was in ferment; a new Elijah seemed to have arisen among them.

During this period he received many people into the Order in Bologna, and the number of the disciples began to grow, as more and more were added to them.

Brother Reginald, of holy memory, came to Paris and preached Christ Jesus and him crucified. But God soon took him from the earth. Finishing his course in a short time, he had accomplished a full life’s work.

Brother Matthew, who had known him when he was living in honor and luxury in the world, several times asked him, in some amazement, “Do you ever fell depressed, Master, that you put on the habit?” With his eyes lowered, he replied, “I very much doubt if there is any merit in it for me, because I have always found so much pleasure in the Order.”

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