Blessed Giovanni Dominici
(BANCHINI or BACCHINI was his family name).
Cardinal, statesman and writer, born at Florence, 1356; died at Buda, 10 July, 1420. He entered the Dominican Order at Santa Maria Novella in 1372 after having been cured, through the intercession of St. Catherine of Siena, of an impediment of speech for which he had been refused admission to the order two years before. On his return from Paris, where he completed his theological studies, he laboured as professor and preacher for twelve years at Venice. With the sanction of the master general, Blessed Raymond of Capua, he established convents of strict observance of his order at Venice (1391) and Fiesole (1406), and founded the convent of Corpus Christi at Venice for the Dominican Nuns of the Strict Observance. He was sent as envoy of Venice to the conclave of 1406 in which Gregory XII was elected; the following year the pope, whose confessor and counsellor he was, appointed him Archbishop of Ragusa, created him cardinal in 1408 and sent him as ambassador to Hungary, to secure the adhesion of Sigismund to the pope. At the Council of Constance Dominici read the voluntary resignation which Gregory XII had adopted, on his advice, as the surest means of ending the schism. Martin V appointed him legate to Bohemia on 19 July, 1418, but he accomplished little with the followers of Hus, owing to the supineness of King Wenceslaus. He was declared blessed by Gregory XVI in 1832 and his feast is observed 10 June.
Dominici was not only a prolife writer on spiritual subjects but also a
graceful poet, as his many vernacular hymns, or Laudi, show. His
governo di cura familiare, written between 1400 and 1405, is a valuable
pedagogical work (edited by Salvi, Florence, 1860) which treats, in four books,
of the faculties of the soul, the powers and senses of the body, the uses of
earthly goods, and the education of children. This last book has been translated
into German by Rosler (Herder's Bibliothek der katholischen Pädagogik, VII,
Freiburg, 1894). His
Lucula Noctis (R. Coulon, O.P., Latin text of the
fifteenth century with an introduction, Paris, 1908) in reply to a letter of
Nicola di Piero Salutati, is the most important treatise of that day on the
study of the pagan authors. Dominici does not flatly condemn classical studies,
but strenuously opposes the paganizing humanism of the day.
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