Imagine if you were to hear an announcement of your death by martyrdom BEFORE it happened?
Such was the case of Bl. Sadoc and his 48 companions whose feast we celebrate today in the Dominican Order.
According to tradition Blessed Sadoc received the habit from Saint Dominic himself at the General Chapter of Bologna in 1221 was chosen to accompany Master Paul of Hungary, who had been commissioned to establish a province in Hungary. Later Blessed Sadoc moved on to Poland where he preached the gospel for nearly forty years.
One night in 1260 after the Tartars had invaded Poland, the friars rose as usual and sung Matins. Then a novice chanted the martyrology for the day. What he saw before him were the words, "At Sandomierz, the sufferings of forty-nine martyrs of the Order of Preachers."
Friar Sadoc and the brothers listened struck with fear and asked to see the book. As they looked the words which seemed to be written in gold gradually began to disappear. The brothers spent the day preparing themselves for death, all but one willingly accepting the grace of martyrdom.
The next evening the Tartars began to attack the town of Sandomierz and came upon the Church of St. James. The slaughter began. One novice, terrified hid himself but hearing his brothers singing the Salve Regina, he realized that they were going off to heaven without him (that's Dominican community life for you!) and offered himself and died with the others.
The custom of singing the Salve Regina at the deathbed of Dominicans stems from this incident.