Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we make a commemoration of Blessed Mannes, Confessor, of the Order of Preachers. Since today is a ferial day, the ferial office is prayed according to the rubrics, and a commemoration is made of Bl. Manes at Lauds only. In addition, a commemoration is made at Lauds of Ss. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs.
At Calaruega in Spain, Blessed Mannes, brother of our Father St. Dominic. He possessed sincerity and simplicity to a high degree, and was devoted to contemplation. Rich in merit and renowned for his miracles, he died a holy death in the Cistercian monastery of St. Peter at Gamiel.
Blessed Mannes was the second son of Don Felix Guzman and Blessed Jane of Aza, and elder brother of Saint Dominic, and was born in Spain, probably about the middle of the twelfth century. That he was considerably older than Saint Dominic, who was born in A.D. 1170, is proved by the fact that he and his eldest brother had already made choice of the ecclesiastical state before the birth of the Founder of the Friars Preachers. Of the early life of Blessed Mannes we know little or nothing, save that he was much given to prayer and contemplation. When Saint Dominic began to evangelize Languedoc, Blessed Mannes came to share his labors, and was one of the sixteen first companions of the Saint who made their profession in his hands at Prouille, on the Feast of the Assumption, A.D. 1217. He was immediately despatched to found the Order in Paris, and arrived in that city in company with Father Michael de Fabra and a lay brother, on September 12th of the same year.
God had bestowed on him a marvelous power of attracting souls; the peace, gentleness, and serenity of his character exercised an irresistible influence on all who approached him. We next hear of him as discharging for a time the office of chaplain to the nuns at Prouille, after which he was entrusted with the care of the newly established Convent of Dominicanesses at Madrid, a post for which his contemplative spirit and his intimate knowledge of the ways of perfection eminently fitted him. Blessed Mannes probably filled this office for about twelve years. The last notice we find of him regards the establishment of a chapel in honor of Saint Dominic at Calaroga, the scene of his birth. On hearing of his brother's canonization in the year 1233,
Blessed Mannes visited their ancestral home, and exhorted the people to build a chapel in honor of him who was truly the glory of their village. "Content yourselves for the present with a modest oratory" said he; "my brother, when he chooses, will know how to enlarge it." About thirty years later, this prophecy was verified, when King Alphonsus X. laid on this hallowed ground the foundations of a magnificent church and of a Convent of nuns of the Order.
O God, by wondrous ways you led your blessed confessor, Mannes, into the path of perfection; by the same gracious mercy direct our actions, that we may be able to seek out what you command and obtain what you promise. Through Our Lord...