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Monday, 26 August 2013

Blessed Dominic Barberi's wise advice on a vision


Fr Dominic Jacob, of the Oxford Oratory, has been posting on Facebook today concerning his patron saint, Blessed Dominic Barberi whose feast day it is. I thought that this story was just too good not to share on the blog:
A woman once came to Blessed Dominic, claiming to have had a vision of the Father and the Son.

" At what time of day did this take place?" he asked her gently. "At 6pm " she told him. "And when did you dine?" She replied "at 5 o'clock Father", " and what did you have for dinner?" "Two glasses of port wine Father." "Well my child, next time have three glasses, and I promise you will see the Holy Ghost too."
Father also posted earlier that Blessed Dominic's command of English was never that great and that he once told a group of nuns to whom he was giving a retreat: "Without face we cannot be shaved."

Presumably this is an Italian proverb that does not quite translate. It reminded me of Fr Gerald O'Collins at the Greg years ago. Some of the Professori were not so friendly to those from an Anglo-Saxon background. Fr O'Collins was, I think, mischievously balancing the account when he spoke Italian with an Aussie accent and used to translate English sayings literally into Italian. The one everyone remembers, along with the puzzled looks of non-English speakers, was "Questo veramente prende il biscotto."

[UPDATE: Commenters have tactfully pointed out that Bl Dominic's comment was not an Italian proverb but a mispronunciation of "without faith we cannot be saved." Doh!]

Lest, in these frivolities, anyone is unaware, Blessed Dominic Barberi was a great apostle for England. As Broderick noted, referring to the courageous Passionist who suffered ridicule and hostility in his mission:
The second spring did not begin when Newman was converted nor when the hierarchy was restored. It began on a bleak October day of 1841, when a little Italian priest in comical attire shuffled down a ship's gangway at Folkstone.
Blessed Dominic received Blessed John Henry Newman into the Church at Littlemore in 1845. In 1849, after suffering a heart attack on the train at Pangbourne, he was taken to the tavern next to Reading railway station where he died. I always say a prayer to him when stopping on the train at Reading.
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