Friday, December 16, 2016

Dominican Ordo for 2017 Available

Dominican Liturgy Publications is happy to announce the publication of the Ordo for The Dominican Rite in 2017, which is the work of the editor of Breviarium S.O.P.  This booklet is intended for use by anyone who prays the 1962 Dominican Rite Breviary. It includes a complete calendar for the Dominican Rite liturgical year for 2017.

In addition, it includes the collects for the Dominican blesseds who are not on the calendar (so that a votive commemoration can be made of their feast), obits of the deceased masters of the Order, and announcements of days when Lay Dominicans can obtain plenary indulgences.  Finally, it contains an English translation of the Office of Prime, which was omitted from the 1967 English translation of the Dominican Breviary.

It can be purchased here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dominican Rite Calendar for 2017 REVISED VERSION

I have made some corrections in the Dominican Rite Calendar for 2017 and this revised version is now available on the left sidebar here at Dominican Liturgy.  You can now download it at the link called "Dominican Rite Calendar 2017."  Or down load it directly here.  The major change is the addition of memory of the American blessed Francis Xavier Seelos on October 5.  I have also added information to make it easier to find the ferials in the missal.

This calendar gives the Mass to be said on each day of the year, cross references for the 1933, 1939, and 1965 Missals when the feast is on another day according to the 1962 calendar, and, in Italics, any extra collects that should be said at Mass, Lauds, and Vespers.

At the end there is also a supplement with the local feasts for all dioceses where there are houses of the Western Dominican Province, as well as that for Washington D.C. The calendar itself includes particular feasts of the United States in brackets. Optional local Dominican blesseds are listed at the end of the Calendar with an indication of the provinces where they would be  used.  Finally,  Dominican saints canonized and placed on the Order's Calendar by a General Chapter since 1965 are included in the calendar with references to where suitable commons may be found in the Missal.

Should you notice any errors, please let me know in the combox below.  Should members of any other Dominican province wish to compile the local feasts for their houses using the same style and format I have used, send them to me and I will add an appendix for that province.  My email is found here at at Dominican Liturgy on the left sidebar near the top, just across from this post..

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Domincan Habit and the Holy Rosary

Dominicans Wearing Rosaries and Capelli Romani (Roman hats)
In the wake of a recent post on St. Martin de Porres, which included a discussion of the Tertiary ("Third Oder") habit that the oldest painting of his shows him wearing, a commentator asked when the Holy Rosary became an "official" part of the Dominican habit.  This seemed an easy question to answer, but it proved more complicated.  The first thing I did was to look in the most recent version of the Dominican Constitutions (2014), appendix 3, which describes our habit.  It says absolutely nothing about the Rosary.  Perhaps then, the Rosary was dropped after the major revision of our Constitutions in 1968.  I checked there in appendix 3: nothing on the Rosary.

However, I then found that n. 50 of the 1969 Constitutions, which says. "The habit of the Order consists of a white tunic with a white scapular and capuce, with a black cappa and capuce, a leather belt and rosary."   And so n. 50 reads for all revisions of the Constitutions up to the present age, even though Appendix 3 in each addition never mentions it.  This legislation is virtually identical to that no n. 601 of the Pre-Vatican-II constitutions of 1954 and 1932, although these specify that the Rosary is to hang from the belt.  These norms descend from n. 892 of the 1924 Constitutions, which mentions the Rosary but says nothing of where it is worn.  And this legislation is the first official entry of the Rosary into the Constitutions as part of the habit.  It was undoubtedly introduced as part of the reform of the older law (as witnessed in Jandel) in the wake of the new Code of Canon Law in 1917.So the Holy Rosary has been an official part of the Dominican Habit since the promulgation of the revised Constitutions of 1924.

So what of the Rosary and the habit before that date?  I find that, in 1879, the founder of my Western Dominican Province, Fr. Francis-Sadoc Vilarrassa, a noted canonist of his time, wrote, commenting on the Jandel Constitutions, “Though there is not any ordinance as to the wearing of Rosaries, it seems were are bound to wear them in virtue of the ancient and universal custom of the order.” So before 1924 Dominicans wore the habit Rosary, not because of legislation, but because of custom with force of law. How custom become law is no our topic here, but rather the question is when did the custom arise and when did it become “universal.”

Blessed Venvenuta
In the thirteenth century, the practice of reciting set numbers of Pater Nosters (Our Fathers) was already a popular lay devotion.  I have collected examples of this from the lives of Italian saints and blesseds of the period in my book Cities of God. My favorite is the Dominican blessed, Benvenuta Bojani (1254-1292) From the age of seven to twelve, she said 100 Paters and Aves daily, doing 100 prostrations in honor of the Lord's Nativity and a second 100 prostrations in honor of his Resurrection.  To this she later added 1000 Aves in honor of the Blessed Virgin, except on Saturdays, Our Lady's special day, when she doubled the number.  So she was not only saying Paters but also Aves.

In our primitive constitutions (ca. 1220), the conversi or lay brothers (now called cooperator brothers) were required to say set numbers of Paters for the various canonical hours, which they could not sing with the clerics because they normally were illiterate and had manual labor to do to support the community.  But in 1252 the Provincial Chapter of Dacia, held at Lund in what is today Sweden, made the first attempt to add a 100 Aves to 100 Paters lay brothers said in their suffrages for dead.  This did not last, but by early 1300s, 100 Paters and Aves had became the conversi suffrage for a dead member of their community.  Then, in 1366, the General Chapter at Rome first added Aves to all  Paters that the convesi said instead of the Divine Office.  After some back and forth, this practice was finalized by the early 1400. But none of this was the "Dominican" Rosary as we know it, with 15 decades of 1 Pater, 10 Aves, and a Gloria Patri.  As far as we can tell, that form, with a set of 15 mysteries to meditate on, first appeared in the writings of Dominic of Prussia (1382–1461), a Carthusian monk.  So, the custom of wearing the Rosary has to date after the mid-1460s.

Famously, Bl. Alan de la Roche, O.P. (d. 1475) promoted the devotion to the Rosary throughout the last 16 years of his life, preaching and writing about it.  In 1470, he founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.  Later legends (recorded only after his death) ascribe to him visions of Our Lady, the Rosary, and St. Dominic, supposedly dated to about 1460.  So the earliest date for Dominican habit Rosaries would be the late 1400s.  And, indeed, the earliest image I know of showing Rosary, is a woodcut dated to that period. It also shows Dominic (not wearing it) and I reproduce it here.

There is nothing that I have found that indicates any Dominican wearing of, or legislation on, the Holy Rosary, however, for another 100 years.  Then, I understand that, in the 1540s, Fray Domingo Betanzos, O.P. (d. 1549), first provincial of the Dominican province of Mexico, required friars of that Province to wear a Rosary around their necks.  This practice would then spread with Spanish Dominicans to South America and eventually to the Philippines and the Far East.  This then is the first example of wearing of the Holy Rosary with the habit, although it is not universal and not on the belt. On September 1569, the Dominican Pope, Saint Pius V, acknowledged as a "pious belief" the legends linking Dominic and the Holy Rosary, usually connected with Alan de la Roche, in his bull Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, which also granted indulgences for those saying it and meditating on the mysteries. Then in 1571 comes the first-known mention of the Rosary in any legislation of the Order as a whole.  The General Chapter at Rome in that year urged the promotion of the Rosary in preaching.  This is not surprising as that was the year of the great victory over the Muslim invasion of Christian Europe at the Battle of Lepanto, a victory that Pope Pius ascribed to praying the Rosary.

St. Dominic, no Habit Rosary, 1593
By 1583, however, the General Chapter at Rome first mentioned the recitation of the Holy Rosary in an ordinance of the whole order: It allowed lay brothers and Tertiaries (conversi et seculares) to replace the 100 Paters and Aves in suffrages for the dead with five decades of the Rosary.  In 1596, the order gave the title "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary" to the new province of the Philippines and the Orient.  I find, however, no evidence that the Spanish Dominion practice of wearing the Rosary around the neck had spread any beyond the Spanish missions.  In 1593, for example, a title page of Spanish catechism still shows St. Dominic without any habit Rosary. As you can see to the left.

Nevertheless, as is clear from the image of the elderly St. Martin de Porres I featured in my earlier post that, in the Spanish Dominions at least, the wearing of a Rosary around the neck had become common, even customary.  Then, in 1670, at the Rome Chapter, the daily recitation of the  Rosary in choir by all friars, priests as well as lay brothers, was mandated, a requirement that remains to this day when not impeded by pastoral responsibilities.

St. Dominc wearing the Rosary, by Coello
Artistic evidence in the later 1600s, suggests that it is in that period that the wearing of the Rosary, now on the belt, finally became a "universal" custom.  It is very difficult to trace the introduction of customs, but artistic representations are usually a good indication.  And it is in the 1660s and 1670s, that artists first begin to portray Dominican saints wearing a Rosary.  At good example from this period is the painting to the right by the Spanish late-Baroque painter Claudio Coello (1642–1693), It shows St. Dominic wearing the Fifteen-Decade Dominican Marian Rosary.  I do not claim that this is the earliest example of this iconography, only the earliest I have found.  If a reader knows of a dated earlier example, I would be happy to add it to this post.

St. Rose of Lima with a Rosary
It is interesting that the same artist did know that St. Rose of Lima (1586–1617) would have worn her Rosary around her neck as that was the practice among Dominicans in Peru during her time.  This, even though he has all the rest of her dress incorrect, painting her in the habit of a cloistered nun, rather than in the Tertiary habit she would have worn (white veil, no scapular, white tunic, black mantle). 

So, my conclusion is that the custom of wearing a habit Rosary become more or less universal  in the late 1600s.  It certainly was so by the 1700s, as I know of no images of Dominicans from that century or later without it.  If, however, anyone knows an image of that late date showing a Dominican without a habit Rosary, let me now and I will add it to this post.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Early Modern Reforms of the Traditional Dominican Rite.

The Dominican Rite, both for the Mass and Office is famous for its stability and resistance to liturgical changes.  And, at least for the text of the Mass, this is certainly true.  The Office, however, after resisting many changes affecting
Elevation at the Solemn Mass (Star of the Sea Church, SF 2015)
other Latin rites, such as the adoption of the reformed hymnal of Pope Urban VIII, did conform to the new Psalter arrangement of the Psalms in 1923.

    My recent historical work on the history of the Dominican lay brothers (today called "cooperator brothers"), included reading through the nine volumes of Acta of the Dominican General Chapters from 1220 to 1843.  As I was doing this, I noted the legislation that reformed or modified the liturgy.  Here are the major reforms.

    For me, the most suggestive piece of legislation was not directly liturgical, but involved the preparation of priests.  In 1345, the General Chapter at Manresa, required that the prior of the local priory (priestly formation was the responsibility of each priory in those days) make sure that any friar to be ordained "understand the Canon of the Mass from the Te igitur to the Pater noster. Ignorance of the meaning of the Latin was such a problem that neither subpriors or vicars were allowed to make this decision.  But now on to liturgical changes.

    Today some of the most controversial issues for Catholics in church involve how to show respect to the altar, cross, and Blessed Sacrament.  In the middle ages, the profound bow was the usual way of showing respect.  The Dominican Rite only slowly adopted genuflection that became the Roman practice in the later middle ages..

Dominicans added the Elevation of the Chalice in about 1300
The General Chapter of Rome 1569 (Acta Capitulorum Generalium S.O.P., 5: 90) explicitly required that the priest bow ("inclinet") after each of the Consecrations, a clear sign that some Dominican priests were imitating the Roman practice of genuflecting.  This chapter also strictly forbad the priest to say the Words of Institution in the Canon out loud, "which certain priests are doing contrary to many chapters and the decree of the Council."  It was only some forty years later, at the Paris General Chapter of 1611 (ACG 6:145) that the Dominican Rite finally suppressed the use of bows at the Consecration and Elevation, replacing them with the modern four genuflections. This was also the point that the rite adopted the use of a genuflection before and after touching the Sacred Species, a practice often considered traditionally Dominican.

    Introduction of genuflections where the medieval Dominican Rite prescribed bows had actually begun earlier than that.  For example, the General Chapter of Rome 1569 (ACG 5: 90) instructed the priest to simply bow while all others present knelt at the words Incarnatus est in the creed.  Rome 1580 (ACG 5: 192) then introduced kneeling at the word "procedentes" in the Epiphany Gospel, during the Te Deum, and at the word "vereremur" in the hymn Tantum Ergo, "following Papal Chapel example."  And finally the chatper of Lisbon in 1618 (ACG 6:300) confirms for general use the "pious custom" in Spsnish Provinces of kneeing at the words "Eia ergo" in Salve Regina.

A Dominican Deacon Sings the Gospel (ca. 1950)
   Early modern chapters also changed the texts of the medieval liturgy and modified rubrics to conform to Roman practice or developed theology.  For example, the Rome Chapter of 1569 (ACG 5: 102) changed the collect of Pope St. Gregory the Great from "ex poenis aeternis" to "ex poenis purgatorii," to reflect the developed doctrine of Purgatory.  Famously, and against considerable resistance, the Chapter of Rome in 1589 (ACG 5: 281) mandated the reading of the Last Gospel at the end of Mass, as in the Roman Rite.  Later, the chapter of Rome, 1656 (ACG 7: 390) required that the priest at Solemn Mass read the Gospel quietly before deacon chanted it, duplication finally made optional by rubrical reforms in 1060.  I find nothing about the priest's reading the Epistle quietly at sung Mass. Probably introduced by custom about this time like the Gospel.  Another change in practice, that of Rome 1656 (ACG 7: 394), which rquired the priest is to say the Sign of the Cross and the verse "Confitemini Domino" in a loud voice at Low Mass, which explains this practice during the use of the "moderate" voice during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, something I have often wondered about..

    The early modern period also so introducted ritual changes that friars often think of as dating back to the
Salve Procession after Vestition, St. Dominic Church, SF, 2012
days of Humbert of Romans in the thirteenth century.  Take, for example, the lighting of the Sanctus Candle during the Canon at Low Mass.  This was not made obligatory until the Rome Chapter of 1580 (ACG 5: 169), although it does seem to have been a custom at Solemn Mass already.  This introduction was again approved at Lisbon in 1618 (ACG 6: 296).  Bologna 1625 (ACG 6: 241) introduced the wearing of the cope and stole when incensing the Sacrament during Benediction, as well as requiring the singing of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin during the procession after Compline on Saturdays.  Finally, in 1622, the Chapter of Milan (ACG 6: 325) introduced the "Dominican" practice of moving to center of the altar for the Dominus Vobiscum when Mass is before the tabernacle so that the priest's back not be turned to the Sacrament.  This is a clear sign that Dominicans were adopting the modern practice of reservation of the Sacrament on the main altar.  This chapter also introduced the practice of  priests wearing the stole over their cappas when receiving Communion on Holy Thursday, as well as placing over the cappa of a deceased friar prior to interment.

    I had always wondered about the origin of the idea that medieval friars broke sleep to rise for "Midnight Matin" and then returned to their cells for a couple hours rest before Lauds.  This was not the case.  In the middle ages, the friars rose early, usually around 3 a.m. to sing both Matins and Lauds together, finishing before dawn.  I now know that the first example of breaking sleep is only witnessed at the Chapter of Valencia in 1647.  It was then confirmed at Rome in 1650 (ACG 7: 282), where the "usus" of rising for "Midnight Matins," is required of all priories in the order, "according to the custom of the provinces as to when midnight is."  This is the first time Matins is separated from Lauds as a "midnight" office."  But small houses, at least, could rise before dawn for the traditional single office of Matins-Lauds.  In the north the combined office of Matins-Lauds should be at 4 am in winter and 3 am in summer, as it was usually in all the middle ages.

    Finally, I now know when the Order finally adopted a ritual for distributing Communion to the laity present
at conventual Masses, something not done in the middle ages.  The Chapter of Rome, 1583 (ACG 5: 239) provided as follows:  First, the Confiteor was recited by the laity with the priest giving the two absolutions.  Then he asked each communicant, "Credis hunc esse verum Christum Deum et Hominem?" as he displayed the Host.  The recipient responded "Credo" and then recited the formula "Domine non sum dignus, etc." three  times.  The priest then gave Communion using the usual formula, "Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christ," etc.

    I have also found some interesting legislation on music and the use of the organ, but will save that for another posting.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If you are in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. you may be interested in this event organised by 'Juventutem DC'. There will be a Low Mass in the Dominican rite at the Lourdes chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Dominican blessing of roses and Rosaries – please bring your own if you would like to avail of this sacramental blessing. There will also be a short talk after this entitled The Rosary: Medication against Spiritual Alzheimer's. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. of the Province of England will deliver the talk and also say the Mass.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Gloria and Credo in the post-1960 Dominican Rite

I have been asked to summarize the use of the Gloria and Credo at Mass in the Dominican Rite according to the  rubrcs in force in 1962.  This means under the new ranking system of feasts and the new assignations of the chant ordinaries. Here is a summary

All 1st-class Feasts:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
         Mass Ordinary I. "In Festis solemnibus" Graduale S.O.P., p. 126*ff
                 Except when it is a feast of the Blessed Virgin, then:
         Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All Sundays of the Year except Easter and Pentecost
       Credo is always said, Gloria is said outside of Advent, Lent, and Passiontide.
       Mass Ordinary II. "In Duplicibus communibus et Dominicis majoribus" GSOP p. 132*ff

2d-class feasts of Apostles:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
        Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" GSOP, p.135*ff
 2d-class feasts of BVM:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
        Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All other 2d-class feasts: 
         Gloria is said but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" p.135*ff

Note that during Paschal Time on 1st- and 2nd-class feasts. not of the Virgin, the Easter
        Kyrie is used from Mass Ordinary IV. "Tempore Paschali" p. 138*

 3d.- and 4th-class feasts of BVM (i.e. Votive on Saturday): 
         Gloria is always said, but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All other 3d-class feasts: 
         Gloria is said but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary  VI. "In Semiduplicibus et Simplicibus" GSOP p.143*ff

All other 4th-class ferials and days of penance (i.e. 2d-class Ember Days) 
         Gloria and Credo are never said
         Mass Ordinary VI. "Profestis diebus"  GSOP p.145*ff with "Ite Missa" in 1985 Missal
         Note  the "Benedicamus Domino" is only used when some function IMMEDIATELY
              follows the Mass---e.g. Procession on Holy Thursday---see 1965 Missal

Other Mass Ordinaries may, of course, be substituted for the Dominican Cycle.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

St. Martin de Porres, Donatus


As some readers know, I am currently on research leave (commonly. but incorrectly. called "sabbatical") from my teaching at the Dominican School of Philosophy in Berkeley.  The project I have been working on will, I hope, result in a history of the non-ordained Dominican brothers.  Today these brothers are normally called "cooperator brothers," but in the past they were referred to as "lay brothers" (in contrast to priest brothers, who are "clerics") or, most commonly in written documents, conversi (singular conversus), a word hard to translate into English, but basically meaning an individual who has undertaken a "conversion" of life to live like a religious, often within the context of a monastery. In our order, however, conversi (lay brothers) made solemn vows and were not mere affiliates of the order, but brothers in the same sense that the clerics are and were. One of the surprises for me during this research  was to discover that there is no contemporary evidence whatsoever that the great Dominican saint Martin de Porres (1579–1639) was ever a lay or cooperator brother.

The usual version of the saint's life (for example, in Butler's Lives of the Saints, the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, or even Giuliana Cavallini's biography prepared for his canonization in 1962) says that originally Martin was first a member of the Dominican Third Order who was permitted to live in the Dominican community, what was and is still called a donatus, which might best be translated "oblate," a term usually associated with the Benedictines. Then, because of his holiness, he was supposedly allowed to make profession as a lay brother, the date usually being 1603.  This struck me as strange, as the oldest painting of the saint, reproduced in this post, does not show him in the habit of a conversus or lay brother.  Rather, he is wearing the habit of a tertiary.  Modern members of the Dominican Laity do not wear a habit, unlike those before the 1700s.  The reason is that before the late 1700s all Dominican tertiaries made a promise of celibacy. They were in a loose sense "religious" as we now understand the term.  Their habit was a white tunic bound with a leather belt and a black cape or mantle. They did NOT wear a scapular of any color.  Contrary to the usual images and statues, this is how St. Catherine of Siena dressed, as can be seen in the oldest painting of her by her contemporary Andrea Vanni, which I also reproduce in this post.  She correctly wears a white (tertiary) veil, no scapular, and a black mantle, just like Martin de Porres in the famous painting. Technically in the language of the time, Martin would have been a "religiosus donatus" or a "tertiarius professus."  The former term, donatus is still used for men who have made promises as a member of the Dominican laity but are allowed to live in a Dominican community and wear the modern clerical (white) habit.

Therein lies a problem that had been bothering me.  After his supposed profession as a lay brother in 1603 at the age of 24, Martin de Porres, would not have worn a tertiary habit. When professed, he would have worn the lay brothers' habit, which, in his time, had a gray scapular.  The lay brothers' scapular was changed to black in the late 1600s, after his death.  Nearly every painting and statue I have ever seen of Martin shows him, anachronistically, with the "modern" black lay brothers' scapular.  But the problem with the painting is that it portrays Martin in late middle age, not in his twenties, and he is still wearing the tertiary habit.  That the image is accurate is shown by a modern reconstruction of Martin's face based on forensic reconstruction from his skull.  I have also included a photo of that reconstruction to the right.You can read about this here. If accurate for the face, even more so for the habit. So, now the problem: why isn't the elderly Martin wearing a lay brother's habit?

In the course of my work, I discovered the startling reason.  After Martin's death, his obituary was included in the acts of the Dominican General Chapter of 1642.  When I reached those acts in the nine-volume Latin edition of the "acta" of all the chapters from 1220 to 1844, I was shocked to find that he is not called "conversus" but rather "donatus."  The text reads: "In provincia s. Ioannis de Perù in conventu Limensi ss. Rosarii obiit vir mirae virtutis et santimoniae fr. Martinus de Porres, donatus,"  That is: "In the province of St. John [the Baptist] of Peru, in the priory of the Holy Rosary in Lima, a man o f great virtues and holiness died, brother Martin de Porres, donatus."  Note it does not say "conversus" that is "lay brother."  And this is not an accident.  The same acts also give obituaries for two holy lay brothers of the Province of Peru, and it calls them "conversus."  This led me to try and find any evidence that contemporaries referred to St. Martin as a lay brother (conversus).  I found none.  Instead, I find that the life composed in Spain at the time of the first move to canonize him in 1675 specifically calls him "de la tercera Orden de N.P. Santo Domingo" ("of the third order of Our Holy Father Dominic"), not a lay brother.  And the process of his canonization published in 1686 calls him "religiosus donatus professus" ("professed oblate religious"), not "lay brother."  I have not found any evidence that anyone ever referred to him as a lay brother before the twentieth century.  In fact, at the time of his beatification in 1837, the life prepared for that process (which is available online) specifically calls him "terziario," a member of the Third Order, not a lay brother.

So where did the idea that he was a lay brother come from?  I suspect, and this is just a guess, that, it happened when statues started to be made of him after his beatification, like that reproduced on the left.  It was natural to portray him like a nineteenth- and twentieth-century donatus, who would have worn the "modern" lay brothers' habit.  No one would have remembered what a seventeenth-century tertiary habit looked like, just as they would not have known what a lay brother's habit of Martin's time (gray scapular and a large black poncho rather than the modern cappa or cape) would have looked like.  So the saint's image in modern art is, I suspect, the origin of the mistaken idea that he was a lay or cooperator brother.

UPDATE: I now have found more information on St.  Martin's status.  The Lima Process for his canonization, containing witnesses questioned in 1660, 1662, and 1671 (ed. Valencia, Spain, 1960), consistently refers to the saint as "religioso donado," as do the later documents I have already cited.  But the testimony given in 1683 at Lima by Bernardo de Medina, who wrote the first biography of Martin, reads as follows: "sa' che il detto servo di Dio Fra Martino de Porres fu religioso donato professo dell'ordine de Predicatori, e che in quanto ad giorno, mese, e anno che ricevette l'abito e professo', si rimette ai libri delle profezioni."  That is: "He knows that the said servant of God, Bro. Martin de Porres, was a professed oblate (donado) religious of the Order of Preachers, and as to the day, month, and year when he received the habit and professed, one may refer to the books of profession."  What this profession entailed, is explained in the Summarium prepared in 1732 as part of his canonization process.  It reads as follows: "Vix quindecim annos natus Ordini S. Dominici tamquam donatus  seu tertiarius laicus nomen dedit, ac post noviciatus annum, ad sollemnem trium votorum professionem, quod perraro hac tempestate donatis concessum est, die 2 iun ii anno 1603 admissus fuit."  That is :At about the age of fifteen years, [Martin] give in his name as a donatus or lay tertiary, and after a year of novitiate he was allowed on June 2, 1603, to make solemn profession of the three vows, something very rarely permitted to donati at that time.  I quote these texts from Acta Sanctorum 68 (Nov. III): 111, 115.

So St. Martin's status is now clear.  He was not a conversus or lay brother, but a tertiary oblate (donatus), however one who was granted the privilege of making solemn vows as would clerical friars, lay brothers, or cloistered nuns.  But he did so while remaining a donatus and not thereby changing his category to that of a lay brother.  So, the profession of 1603 and his tertiary habit in he painting are now both explained.  All that remains to trace is the origin of the erroneous identification of him as a lay brother, something that seems to be 20th-century.

Now (Aug. 28) another update! I just got a copy of Celia Cussen's book Black Saint of the Americas: The Life and Afterlife of Martín de Porres, which came out from Cambridge Univ. Press in 2014. This is a major work and the first "historical" study of St. Martin. She correctly identifies him as a donado. The "afterlife" section includes a review of images of the saint in art. These show, with one interesting exception that up to the 1800s he was always shown in the tertiary habit, not the lay brother's habit. The one exception she considers 17th-century, but it is "anonymous" and "whereabouts unknown." If it is authentic, it is the earliest example of the mistaken habit. Oddly, Dr. Cussen does not notice the discrepancy. I urge those intenersted in Martin and his remarkable life to take a look at this book. It seems that I am not the first to wonder about whether St. Martin was actually a lay brother.