Friday, August 08, 2008

The Dominican Shield

Every so often somebody asks me for an explanation of Dominican symbols, so I guess the feast of St. Dominic is a good time to post an explanation of the Dominican shield from the Barry University website (not meant, by the way, as an endorsement of Barry University):

The Dominican shield consists of four white and four black gyrons or triangles. These symbolize the unity of a body of people working together for the common good. The "cross fleury" (or cross with a fleur de lis at each end) superimposed upon the gyrons, signifies victory, duty and self-sacrifice. The sable or black of the shield symbolizes wisdom, silence, fortitude and penance. The light color (which could be white, argent or silver) signifies peace, purity, charity and sincerity. Sometimes, the motto of the Order surrounds the shield. It reads "Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare," which means "to praise God, to bless His people and to preach His gospel." Frequently too, the shield may also be surounded by the six or eight pointed star which is the distinguishing symbol of St. Dominic.

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