Saint of the Day – 30 July – Blessed Manés de Guzmán OP (c 1168-1235) Dominican Priest and Frair, older Brother of Saint Dominic (1170-1221- born as Manés de Guzmán y Aza in c 1168 at Caleruega, Castile (in modern Burgos, Spain) and died in 1234 in the Monastery of San Pedro de Gumeil, Izan, Castile (in modern Burgos, Spain) of natural causes. Also known as – Mamerto, Mamés, Manez, Mannus. According to an early source he was “a contemplative and holy man, meek and humble, joyful and kind and a zealous preacher.”
Manés was the second son of Félix Núñez de Guzmán and Juana de Aza . His younger brother was Dominic de Guzmán , Founder of the Order of Preachers and whom Manés helped in his reforming goals throughout his life. His older brother was Antonio de Guzmán, who became a Diocesan Priest in a hospice and devoted himself unreservedly, to works of mercy in the service of the poor. He received the first teachings from his Parents and his Uncle, Archpriest Gonzalo de Aza in Gumiel de Izán. Initially, in 1183, he joined the Cistercians in the San Pedro Monastery in Gumiel de Izan.
In 1215, Dominic established himself, with six followers, in a house given by Peter Seila, a rich resident of Toulouse. Dominic saw the need for a new type of Order to address the spiritual needs of the growing Cities of the era, one that would combine dedication and systematic education, with more flexibility than either Monastic Orders or the secular Clergy. He subjected himself and his companions to the Monastic Rules of prayer and penance; -Bishop Foulques gave them written authority to preach throughout the territory of Toulouse. Pope Honorius II approved the the Ordo Praedicatorum (“Order of Preachers”) in the same year.
On 15 August 1217, Manés, having left the Cistercian Monastery, joined his brother as one of the first 15 Dominican. He placed himself under his brother’s guidance from the foundation of the Dominican Order.
In the same year, he helped establish the Priory of St Jacques in Paris and his brother arranged ,that, accompanied by Friar Miguel de Fabra, he make a trip to Spain in order to consolidate and strengthen the new houses of the Order in their Country of origin. In 1219 , he was entrusted, by his brother, with the care of the Dominican nuns of the Madrid Convent. .
After the Canonisation of his brother ( 3 July 1234 ), he marched to Caleruega to propose the construction of a Church in the place where St Dominic and himself were born in honour of the new Saint. Just a couple of weeks later, he died in the Monastery of San Pedro de Gumiel de Izán and was buried there, where some members of his family were lying, including his mother, Juana de Aza. Having a reputation for holiness, he was buried with all kinds of honours. When they began to venerate and pray at his tomb, his relics were transferred from his family’s crypt to the main Altar, there they were exposed for public veneration.
In the personality of Manés we can guess at common traits with Dominic: austerity, sobriety and the manners of the Castilian male. His spirit of service and attachment to the founding principals of his brother’s Order, shows that he had a gregarious spirit and the humility of obedience in service.
Likewise, Manés reveals a community spirit, obedient and based on the mission that was presented to him. His way of being and his way of doing shows a Dominican spark: – “making oneself while making the community” and vice versa, “making the community while making oneself.”
Being Dominic’s brother does not hide Manés’ importance as Dominic’s partner, not only in his childhood in Caleruega but also throughout their time together in the new Order. Over time, Manésy showed himself as a brother by blood but also as a brother in faith and in the hope of saving souls. Domingo felt him by his side and trusted him. The results of the orders carried out by Manés, speak for themselves.
Blessed Mané is one of the most beloved figures in the Dominican family, as the blood brother of St Dominc and his companion in the founding of the Order. His contemporary Friars said of him:
“He was a contemplative and holy man” – Friar Gerardo de Frachet
“Gentle, humble, jovial and benign and ardent preacher” – Friar Rodrigo Cerrato ….. Ana OP