Joan of Aza, Bl.

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Mother of St. dominic; b. castle of Aza, in Old Castile, Spain, c. 1140; d. Calaruega, c. 11901203. She married Felix de Guzman of Calaruega and bore him four children. The two eldest, Bl. Mannes (d. c. 1230; feast: July 30) and Antonio having become clerics, Joan visited the shrine of St. dominic of silos to pray for another child. When her prayer was heard, she resolved in gratitude to name the child Dominic. According to tradition, she dreamed that "she bore a dog in her womb and that it ran with a burning torch in its mouth to set the world aflame." This is the origin of the symbolic dog representing the Dominican Order. Joan's fourth child, a daughter, became the mother of two sons who entered the order. Joan is buried at Peñafiel; her cult was confirmed in 1828.

Feast: Aug. 8.

Bibliography: Année Dominicaine, August 1 (Lyons 1898) 3148. m. c. de ganay, Les Bienheureuses dominicaines (2d ed. Paris 1924) 1321. l. berra, a. mercati and a. pelzer, Dizionario ecclesiatico, 3 v. (Turin 195458) 2:135. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 3:283284.3.

[m. j. finnegan]