Tuesday of each week has been dedicated to St. Dominic since the early days of the Order, to commemorate the translation of the relics of St. Dominic at Bologna on Pentecost Tuesday of 1233. The observance of the Fifteen Tuesdays prior to St. Dominic's feast as a specific devotion originated in the 17th century. Our community continues to observe the Fifteen Tuesdays in all houses. (Ceremonial and Customary of St. Cecilia Congregation)
Through the centuries, cures and wonders have been attributed to the devotion of “Fifteen Tuesdays in Honor of St. Dominic.” For our community, the Fifteen Tuesdays serve as a source of wonder, though not necessarily in the sense of bringing miraculous cures. As we practice this devotion, we are moved to wonder at our heritage, at the holiness of St. Dominic, at the graces shown to our Order, and at the gift of our own individual vocations.
The Fifteen Tuesdays devotion began in plague-ridden Florence in 1631. As disease and death devastated the city, its citizens looked up to heaven for help. Father Michael Bruni of the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Novella had counseled that the people seek St. Dominic’s protection. Father Bruni recommended that they consecrate to St. Dominic the fifteen Tuesdays before his feast. When the plague ended, devotion to the fifteen Tuesdays began. During that same year, St. Dominic is said to have appeared to a woman whose husband had been ill for years. Although the woman did not recognize St. Dominic, she obeyed his counsel: “Go to the church of the Friars Preachers. There, kneeling before the altar of St. Dominic, promise him that you will go to confession and approach the Sacred Table for fifteen consecutive Tuesdays in honor of the fifteen mysteries of the rosary and of our holy patriarch, and I promise you that your husband will be cured. I assure you besides, that all those who will embrace this devotion will be heard.” The obedience of this woman was rewarded, for when she returned from the church, she found her husband cured.
Tuesday is not a day arbitrarily associated with St. Dominic. It was on a Tuesday in 1233 that St. Dominic’s relics were solemnly translated. This translation was marked by signs of his sanctity, and in 1239 and 1272 the Dominican Order mandated that the Office and Mass be said in honor of St. Dominic each Tuesday. This is still our community intention for Mass and Holy Communion on Tuesdays throughout the year.
We give special honor to the Fifteen Tuesdays preceding St. Dominic’s feast. By tradition, Tuesday readings at table have featured meditations in honor of St. Dominic. In recent years, some of these reflections were those written by our sisters after their pilgrimage to the lands of St. Dominic in 2000. These meditations reveal a deep connection between the traditional devotion and our daily life as Dominicans. As we celebrate the Fifteen Tuesdays, we are moved to contemplate St. Dominic’s life as an embodiment of the mysteries of the Rosary. In his love for the Incarnate God, in his patient suffering for Christ’s kingdom, in his confidence in Mary, our Queen and Mother, St. Dominic lived the mysteries he preached. When we celebrate the Fifteen Tuesdays, we renew our dedication to our Dominican charism: to the contemplation of Christ and the preaching of his Truth.