Blesseds Diana and Cecilia with companion receive a blessing from St. Dominic
Blessed Diana d'Andalo (1200-1236) was converted to a religious way of life by Blessed Reginald, OP, and she confided her desire to become a nun to St. Dominic, who encouraged her and established the monastery of St. Agnes in Bologna, Italy for her. Blessed Cecilia (1204-1290) also became a Dominican nun through the influence of St. Dominic. She entered religious life in Rome, but ended up prioress of St. Agnes in Bologna.
Diana is also remembered for the correspondence between herself and Blessed Jordan of Saxony, OP (the first successor of St. Dominic as head of the Order). Unfortunately, we don't have any of Diana's letters, but Jordan's are wonderful. In one of these he writes to Diana, "Do you therefore, beloved, more and more flee to [God]; then, no matter what hardship or sorrow may befall you, your heart will be established upon so solid and firm a foundation that it will never be moved. Think often of this and impress it deeply upon your heart, and urge your sisters to do likewise." (Letter 46)
In her old age, Cecilia dictated a series of anecdotes about St. Dominic to another nun in her monastery...these have come down to us as the "Miracles of St. Dominic". In one of these Cecilia gives a description of St. Dominic: "He was slender and of medium height. His face was handsome and somewhat ruddy. His hair and beard were reddish and his eyes beautiful. From his brow and eyes emanated a kind of radiance which drew everyone to revere and love him. He was always cheerful, except when he was moved to compassion at the sight of someone's affliction."
Tradition holds that there was a third Dominican nun honored on this day--Blessed Amata--but she has been dropped from the calendar on the grounds that she probably never existed. That's why there are three nuns in the picture above! Anyway, we ask these holy Dominican nuns to intercede for us all today!