Almost eight hundred years ago, in December of 1216, the birth of a new religious order also took place. Father Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest, petitioned Pope Honorius II successfully for a new religious order, which would come to be called the Order of Preachers. Founded to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy, the teaching activity of the order and its scholastic organization placed the Preachers in the forefront of the intellectual life of the Middle Ages. The catapult for this success was the very same Dominic de Guzman who had petitioned the Pope. In honor of this divine historical event and to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the Catholic Church, this year’s Christmas Exhibit focuses on two pillars of the Dominican Order, St. Dominic de Guzman and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The exhibit consists of reproduction paintings by early renaissance artists, such as Diego Velazquez, Fra Angelico, Sandro Botticelli, and others depicting various scenes of the two Saints. In addition, the exhibit features the College’s 1632 printed edition of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, of which only a handful of copies are still in existence today. There is also one case in the exhibit highlighting the life of St. Martin De Porres, patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.
This exhibit celebrates the birth of our Savior, the coming eight hundredth year anniversary of the Dominican brotherhood, and the blessings these Saints have brought into the world as seen through the eyes of Renaissance artists.