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The Rector Magnificus
It is said that the Dominicans have the best sense of humor, and this is because humor is a necessary part of Dominican spirituality. Without question the funniest guest we have had yet at the Lay Centre is the Rector Magnificus (read: President) of the Angelicum, Father Charles Morerod.
After celebrating the Eucharist with us, the topic of Father Charles’ discussion was on what it means to be a Dominican. A Swiss Dominican serving as rector of the Angelcium, Secretary of the International Theological Commission, and one of three Catholic representatives on the ongoing dialogue with the schismatic sect of Marcel Lefebvre, there was plenty beyond the Order of Preachers to ask about. (as if that resume is not enough, Fr. Morerod is actually on Facebook! Yes, you can find him on my friend list!)
St Dominic was a Cathedral canon with the Bishop of Osma, Spain on a journey to make arrangements for a royal wedding which never happened. Passing through regions of France dominated by the Albigensians/Cathars, Dominic was taken by the lack of good preaching in the region, which lead the poorly catechized residents to gravitate toward the dualist heresies. Further, he was disturbed by the fact that many of the preachers that were available to the people of the region were failry weatlthy monastics or papal legates. So, instead of returning home, he stayed to preach and eventually a following grew.
He was an efficient organizer, and conscientious that the community not become “his” community (reminds me of Father Scott!) – In fact, his humility was so complete that when he died, his order buried him and promptly forgot which grave was his. When, 13 years later, Pope Gregory IX wanted to formally canonize Dominic, the Order was not entirely sure where to find him. Making their best guess, they opened a sarcophagus and discovered “the smell was quite pleasant, so, it must be the saint!”