By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Lay members of religious orders and other laity gathered at St. Louis Bertrand Church June 1 for the annual Day of the Laity, an event meant to encourage and enrich lay Catholics.
It was hosted by members of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic and attended by members of the Third Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and the Secular Franciscan Order, among others.
Participants heard a variety of presentations and worshipped together during the event. In the afternoon, Dominican Father Louis Bertrand Lemoine gave a presentation about St. Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Dominicans, describing what it means to imitate the 12th-century saint.
Father Lemoine discussed the lives of nine Dominican saints who were highlighted in the book “The Image of St. Dominic” by the late Father Guy Bedouelle, a Dominican theologian. The book proposed that each Dominican saint revealed a different facet of the grace of St. Dominic.
For example, he said, St. Louis Bertrand exemplified St. Dominic the preacher; St. Thomas Aquinas exemplified St. Dominic the scholar and St. Martin de Porres exemplified St. Dominic’s humility and love of God.
“Each Dominican saint captured one little virtue of St. Dominic,” said Father Lemoine.
“All together they give us a picture of the grace of St. Dominic in the church.”
Father Lemoine went on to share with listeners that they need not even look far in the past to see this at work.
“Think of the Dominicans that have touched your life,” said Father Lemoine. “Even in our own day, think of the Dominicans that you know, how all of them in their variety and in the ways they are different hopefully capture something of the grace of St. Dominic.”
Father Lemoine noted that although every Dominican is involved in preaching, “not all Dominicans are rockstars.”
“You can be involved in preaching in very humble ways, even in ways that no one sees except God alone,” he said, adding, no matter their style, each contributes to the order in their own way.
Father Lemoine urged his listeners to strive to be faithful to the pillars of Dominican lay spirituality — prayer, study, community and apostolate.
Cecilia Hansell, a lay Dominican who helped coordinate the event, said the yearly gathering is aimed at helping the wider Catholic community get to know who the religious laity are.
“We’re in the Archdiocese of Louisville, but not well known,” she said, adding that the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic has been around since the 12th century.
There are four chapters of the fraternity in the Archdioese of Louisville. Two are based at St. Louis Bertrand — the St. Louis Bertrand chapter, which is for women, and the Our Lady Queen of Peace chapter for men and women.
Hansell noted that members of the lay Dominicans are involved in stewardship in their own parishes, reaching out to inmates and helping pregnant mothers through the Little Way Resource Center, for instance. Being a member has also provided her with a “great gift” of learning more about her faith.
Deacon Franco Cottrell, who is president of the Our Lady Queen of Peace chapter, said members of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic “wish to serve the church.”
They are not a “card club” he said, noting that his chapter has reached out in service to a Carmelite monastery in Peru that was damaged by flooding, for example.
Deacon Cottrell said this annual gathering is important in order to “bring other groups together to share our charism and see how we can assist with the mission of the church and the salvation of souls.”
For more information on the St. Louis Bertrand chapter, contact Mary Ellen Brandi at 222-5576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Our Lady Queen of Peace chapter, contact Mary Lou Gregory at 403-8065 or email@example.com.