Of Dominicans and cat-demons and soap

The wonderful Dominicans in Summit, NJ  – who do not belong to the LCWR – have been posting stories about St. Dominic on their blog.  According to the traditional, Roman calendar St. Dominic’s feast was 4 August, but it was moved in the post-Conciliar reform to 8 August.

One of the stories.  HERE:

Dominic Seignadou

Click for larger

A Monastery for Sisters is Founded at Prouille

In order to give assistance to certain women of the nobility whose parents were led by poverty to give them over to the heretics for training and support, he established a monastery between Fanjeaux and Montreal in a place called Prouille. There, to this day, handmaids of Christ give a pleasing service to their Creator. By the vigor of their holiness and the noble purity of their innocence, they lead a life which is of spiritual benefit to themselves, a source of edification to men, a joy to the angels, and a pleasure to God.

“One evening in 1206, outside the north gates of the village of Fanjeaux, St. Dominic sat reading about St. Mary Magdalen whose feast day it was. As he reflected on the life of the saint he was moved to ask God for guidance in what he should do. He also asked for a sign from the Blessed Virgin to help him. Just then a globe of fire came out of the heavens, hovered a bit and then in a blaze of glory settled over the forlorn and desolate church of Prouille which was nearby. The saint could not believe his eyes. He came back to the same spot the next evening and the sign was repeated. He returned again on the third evening and sure enough the vision appeared again. He took this as the sign he had prayed for and determined that the church at Prouille was the place God wanted him to begin his work. This vision is known as the Seignadou, “the sign of God” in the language of the place and time.”

Berengaria declared under oath that she was an eye-witness when Blessed Dominic told the nine women converted from error to behold the thing which possessed them: a demon in the form of a cat with fiery eyes as large as a cow’s and with a long tongue that breathed a firelike substance and with a tail as thick as a dog’s and more than a foot long. At his command this creature escaped through the opening for the bell-rope in the tower and disappeared from their sight. But before doing all this, he had told them to have no more fears, as he would show them the master they had been serving.

I hope you noted that word: Seignadou.

The Summit Dominicans are the legendary “Soap Sisters”.  Their enterprise is called “Seignadou Soaps“, and now you know whence the name came!

Actually, they are a great deal more than that, but it’s catchy and descriptive.

The sisters make wonderful soaps, and other things, by which they keep themselves going (along with prayers and the kindness of others).

I have bought their soap for my mother.

I see that they have beeswax candles.

Check out the “Don’t Bug Me” spray.   If only it worked on more than mosquitoes.

I use their shaving mug.

Remember that Dominicans are mendicants.  They have a building project. HERE

The other day I visited the motherhouse of one of the great foundations of Dominican women in these USA, the Sinsinawa Dominicans.  They conformed to the world and became weird.  They are dying out.  It was really sad.

These sisters, the faithful Summit Dominicans have to turn people away because they don’t have the space for them.  They are true to their purpose.   This is a cloistered community of contemplative sisters whose apostolate is the Perpetual Rosary. They are, bless them, “Mary’s Guard of Honor”.  They are a joy.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Allan S. says:

    I have also purchased their soap, and I too use the shaving mug and soaps – which are excellent! I did swap out the shaving brush for a boar bristle one though – less scratchy. I simply do not understand why all these much older orders, in the process of selling off their land and winding things up as they die off with no vocations, continually express wonderment and confusion at their lot.

    They need look no further than a mirror. They have no vacations because they have no identity – no habits. The orders that are flourishing do. Deeper analysis is not required to see the obvious. Let those who have eyes, see etc.

  2. de_cupertino says:

    Their beeswax candles are excellent. We bought several dozen pairs and had them blessed last Epiphany. We light them for family prayer in the evenings before bed. (Children who are well-behaved get to help extinguish them.)

  3. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Interesting, in the Dominican Rite the thumb is first cleaned with salted bread and then washed with water. (Sacerdos detergat pollicem cum sale et pane et abluat digitos aqua in vase mundo.”

    Shameless sales promotion follows.

    Just today (interesting coincidence!), I put up at Dominican Liturgy Publications a new book with all the rituals needed for tending the sick and dying according to the traditional Dominican Rite. Yes, we have our own version of sacraments that would be performed within a monastery (so none for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, or Holy Orders).

    Here is a link to the “Cura Infirmorum” order page where the volume is fully explained:


    So now Dominican Priests can have a sick call ritual in our Rite. The first republication since 1949.

  4. benedetta says:

    I very much appreciate knowing more about the Summit Dominican sisters’ charism and the origins of their call to contemplation on behalf of the Church. I think that their liquid hand soap is lovely and very useful; for that work of the sisters’ hands as a community and especially for their prayer, I am grateful to the Summit sisters.

  5. Dominicanes says:

    The nuns clothed a new novice yesterday as well!

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