Blessed Jane of Aza, Mother of Saint Dominic
Devotion to Our Lady was typical of medieval Spaniards, as indeed of any Christian of the time. But the devotion to Mary bequeathed by Saint Dominic to his children was something more than ordinary , and in the natural course of events it could come from only one source-his own mother. her name, the scanty records tell us, was Jane of Aza, and neither the date of her birth nor that of her death is known with certainty. Not being of great material importance , she made little impression on history; but the print of her personality will be seen for all time on the order founded by her son. Dominic must have had a very tender love for his mother to make him turn so constantly, trustingly, instinctively to Our Lady in all the troubles and joys of his later life.
Legend relates that before the birth of Dominic, Blessed Jane beheld a vision in which she saw her son , running as a swift greyhound through the world, bearing in his mouth a torch with which he illumined the world (The son became the founder of the Order of Preachers, known as the Dominicans thus the prophetic dream was fulfilled as the Dominican friars took the light of the gospel throughout the world. They became known as the Dogs of the Lord. In Latin the word Dominican would be Domini Canes, literally Dogs of the Lord). It was for her to fan and shelter that flame at its very kindling, and to teach this child of predilection the prayers he would say with such rich results for a lifetime of saintly action. Not only was it Jane who first taught her son the words of the Hail Mary- that key with which he unlocked heaven for so many souls – but it was she that gave to him the living example of Christian womanhood. If in later years his sons were to cherish such a chivalrous love for the gracious Queen of Heaven, much of it was due to the reverential awe and tender love with which this truly Christian lady inspired her three priest-sons. to every priest, his own mother is the personification of all that is good and lovable in woman; she is the ideal to inspire him, the lighthouse to beckon him, and the living picture of the Mother of the first Priest. It could have been no different for Dominic. Where else would he , brought up amid the scenes of war and the mans world of thee university, see in action the ideals of womanly purity, gentleness, and never failing help that he was to cherish as the attributes of his heavenly Queen?
History is silent regarding events in the Life of Blessed Jane. probably there were no great events to record. As the wife of the Castellan of Calaruega, a fortress castle on the border of Christian Spain, she would have led a life filled with the monotony of small things. Tradition relates that her two older sons, Anthony and Manez, were already preparing for the priesthood when Dominic was born. She named her youngest son for Saint Dominic of Silos, at whose shrine she was frequent pilgrim . Knowing that her solider/husband expected their third son to carry on the family name and fortunes, Jane seems still to have cherished for him the goal of the priesthood. Very likely Dominic- and we – owe to his understanding Mother the fortune that placed a book in his hands instead of a sword.
Pope Leo XII beatified Jane of Aza in 1828. Devotion to her has persisted through the centuries despite the poverty of records. The mother of three priest, one of whom died a death of heroic charity and two who were raised to altars of the Church, can safely be judged to have been not only a valiant woman but also a saintly one. Her picture, as that of any mother, can best be seen reflected in her sons.
Born: in Aza, Unknown date
Died: about 1202 in Calaroga
Beatified: Pope Leo XII in 1828 approved her cultus