August 2: Bl. Jane of Aza

Blessed Jane of Aza is beloved to all her "children" because she is the mother of our Father, St.Dominic. She had a reputation for holiness in her lifetime as did her husband, Felix, which shows that the universal call to holiness isn't something new! The Libellus of Bl. Jordan tells us about Mama Jane that she "was honorable, pure, prudent, full of compassion for the unfortunate and the afflicted; and that she excelled all the other women in the area by her good reputation. His mother was most merciful." Doesn't that sound a little like our father, St. Dominic? Once it happened that Venerable Felix was away on a trip. Jane gave all of the wine from a huge cask and everyone in the area knew about it. After all, Caleruega was a small town then just as it is now!

On Felix's way home some of the neighbors told him about Jane's "excess". So, when he got to Guzman castle he asked Jane to refresh him and the neighbors present with some wine. Poor Jane! Her cupboard was bare! What was she to do!

"She quickly went to the cellar where the aforementioned wine was, and, kneeling, asked the Lord, saying: "Lord Jesus Christ, although I am unworthy to be heard on the basis of my merits, Yet hear me for the sake of your servant, my son, whom I have given over to your service." For the mother knew the holiness of her son, and rising, fully confident, she went immediately to the jar and found it full of wine. Giving thanks to the Giver of all Graces, she had this wine served abundantly to her husband and others, and everyone was surprised!"

We know that Blessed Jane's three sons: Anthony, Dominic and Mannes, became priests. There was probably also a daughter of which we know absolutely nothing which is maddening to say the least. It's also curious that she isn't somehow mentioned given St. Dominic special charism to minister to women. In fact, on his death bed he accused himself of enjoying more the company of young women than being talked to by older ones!

From Blessed Jane's example of caring for the poor and sick in the area St. Dominic must have received his own love for the poor, even selling his preciously annotated books to get money to feed the poor during a famine.

The short video below is about Caleruega, the birth place of St. Dominic, which to this day centers village life around this very holy family and the monastery of Dominican Nuns built on the de Guzman property.

Although the video is in Spanish it is still very interesting to watch. You can see the baptismal font in which St. Dominic was baptized, Bl. Jane's wine cellars, the monastery of the Nuns and the priory of the friars.