Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a prominent feature of Dominican spirituality from the Order's beginnings. Our beautiful Dominican Salve Regina is one testament to our filial love for the Mother of the Church and the Protectress of the Order.
Every night, the brothers sing Compline before bed, concluding with the Dominican Salve Regina. The singing of the Salve Regina after Compline in honor of the Virgin Mary is one of the oldest traditions in the Order, dating back to the first generations of Dominican friars. In fact, the Church's practice of singing the Salve (or some other Marian antiphon) after Compline grew out of this early Dominican practice.
(text from the web site of the Province of St. Joseph)
our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished chidren of Eve,
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, o most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us
and after this our exile
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary.
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve!
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes,
In hac lacrimarum valle.
Eja ergo, Advocata nostra,
Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
Nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende,
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
From the Central Province,
salve1.rm (RealAudio) salve.wav 3,451 k
O Light of Holy Mother Church,
Teacher of truth divine!
Sweet rose of patience, ivory-white
Thy chastity doth shine.
Of wisdom’s living waters clear
All freely thou hast given:
Herald of grace, O join our souls
Unto the blest in Heaven.
“One evening, Dominic was praying in the church until midnight, at which hour he entered the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor where the Friars were asleep in their cells. Having finished his business, he resumed his prayers at the end of the corridor, when chancing to turn his eyes to the other end, he beheld three women approaching, the center on being the most beautiful and venerable. One of her companions carried a magnificent vase, and the other an aspersorium, which she presented to her mistress, who sprinkled and blessed all the Friars save one. Dominic, after noting who the Friar was, advanced to meet the woman, who had already reached the middle of the corridor, near the lamp suspended in that spot. He prostrated himself at her feet, and although he had recognized her, entreated her to tell him her name. At that same time, the beautiful and devotional anthem of the Salve Regina was not yet sung in the monastery and nunnery of the Order in Rome, but only recited, kneeling, after Compline. The woman replied, ‘I am she whom you invoke every eve, and when you say, Eia ergo, advocata nostra, I prostrate myself before my Son, entreating Him to protect this Order.’ The blessed Dominic then asked who her two companions were, on which the Blessed Virgin said, ‘One is Cecilia, and the other Catherine.’ The blessed Dominic then inquired the reason for her omitting to bless one of the Friars, and she replied, ‘Because he was not in a becoming posture.’ Then having finished her round, and sprinkled and blessed the Friars, she disappeared. The blessed Dominic returned to the spot where he had been praying, and hardly had he recommenced his devotions when he was raised in spirit to the presence of God. He beheld the Lord, having at his right hand the Blessed Virgin, who seemed to Dominic to be robed in a sapphire-colored mantle. Looking around and discerning Religious of every Order but his own, he began to weep bitterly, not daring to approach our Lord or his Blessed Mother. Our Lady motioned him to draw near, but he dared not comply until encouraged by our Lord. Then he approached and prostrated himself weeping bitterly. The Lord said, ‘Why weepest thou so bitterly?’ and he replied, ‘Because I see members of every Order but my own.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Dost thou wish to see thy Order?’ He tremblingly replied, ‘Yes, Lord;’ and the Lord rested His hand on the shoulder of the Blessed Virgin, saying to Dominic, ‘I have confided thy Order to my mother.’ Then He added, ‘Wilt thou indeed see thy Order?’ to which Dominic replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then the Blessed Virgin unfolding her mantle in Dominic’s sight, so that it covered the whole of the celestial abode, he beheld beneath it a multitude of his children. The blessed Father prostrated himself to render thanks to God and to our Lady, and the vision disappeared. As he recovered consciousness, the bell was ringing for Matins, and when they were ended, he convoked a chapter of his Friars, and discoursed to them on the love and veneration they ought to have to the Blessed Virgin, and among other things he related this vision. At the close of the chapter, he privately took aside the brother whom Our Lady had not blessed, and gently asked him if he had not kept back something in the general confession he had made. He replied, ‘Holy Father, my conscience accuses me of nothing, save that last night, when I awoke, I found I had been sleeping with no garments on.’ At Saint-Sixtus the blessed Dominic related his vision to Sister Cecilia and the others, as if it had been beheld by another person, but the Friars present made a sign to the sisters that it was Dominic who had seen it. It was on this occasion that the blessed Dominic enjoined that, wherever they slept, the Friars should wear their girdle and their sandals.”
English Dominicans - Salve Procession
Irish Dominicans - Salve & O Lumen Procession
The text of the O Lumen above is from Br Corwin Low, O.P, of the Western Domincan Province. Br Corwin has a project Typesetting Dominican Chant. This compliments Fr. Augustine Thompson’s thorough Dominican Liturgy website.
Return to Home page.
To Praise * to Bless * to Preach