I really think that next year I will celebrate your feast with Saint Dominic in “the inheritance of the saints in light”[Col 1:12]; this year, I am recollecting myself once again in the heaven of my soul to celebrate a very private feast day with you, and I need to tell you that; I need also, Father, to ask for your prayer, that I may be wholly faithful, wholly attentive, and may ascend my Calvary as a bride of the Crucified.
“Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Divine Son” [Rom 8:29].
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 304 to Père Gonsalve Vallée, O.P.
2 August 1906
Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
The story of the Devil’s appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and singed his fingers.
This candle-illuminated scene is inspired by a famous lost masterpiece of antiquity. Antiphilus of Alexandria’s Boy Blowing on a Fire was renowned for its beautifully rendered effects of firelight. In St. Dominic and the Devil, Pietro della Vecchia’s oil on canvas painting makes deliberate reference to it and to his own celebrated ability to imitate earlier masters. This artwork was completed ca. 1630 and is in the collections of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Our thanks to the museum for sharing this marvelous story in their gallery label.
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