St. Michael’s is pleased to offer enrollment in The Angelic Warfare Confraternity every January 28, on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican Priest and Doctor of the Church. The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is one of 3 ancient Confraternities associated with the Dominican religious order, also known as the “Order of Preachers” (O.P.).
What is the Angelic Warfare Confraternity?
“The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is a fellowship of men and women bound to one another in charity and prayer, dedicated to pursuing chastity under the patronage of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary.” — www.opwest.org
How Did the Confraternity Originate?
“At the age of 18, Thomas Aquinas decided to join the Order of Preachers. But because the Dominicans were new and had little prestige, his family was fervently against it. In order to keep Thomas away from the Dominicans, they held him captive in one of their castles. Eventually his brothers came up with a plan they were sure would cause Thomas to abandon his vocation. They hired a prostitute to seduce him, but the plan backfired. When the prostitute entered the room, Thomas grabbed a searing hot poker from the fireplace and drove her out, chasing her from his room, but not hurting her. Slamming the door and falling to his knees, he prayed to be preserved in chastity and his vocation. His prayer was answered in a vision. Two angels came to him and tied a cord around his waist, saying, “On God’s behalf, we gird you with the cincture of chastity, which no attack will ever destroy. Saint Thomas Aquinas’ vision of the angels is the foundation of one of the oldest groups associated with the Order of Preachers, the Angelic Warfare Confraternity.” —www.opwest.org
When was the Confraternity founded?
“After the death of St. Thomas Aquinas the cord of purity which he had worn was preserved by the brethren and made available for public veneration in the Italian city of Vercelli (though today it resides in the Dominican Church in the town of Chieri, outside of Turin, Italy). Long before the confraternity was officially established, it seems that people began to visit the cord of St. Thomas and to pray for purity. It seems that many would have cords touched to the relic and would wear them, hoping that the prayers of this most pure saint would aid them in the struggle for chastity. Most people consider Fr. Francis Duerwerders, OP, to be the first one to organize the devotion as it comes to us today. He established it as a confraternity at the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium, in the middle of the 17th century. The Confraternity began to grow in different parts of Europe and was officially founded for the whole Church in 1727 by Pope Benedict XII. It is one of the three ancient Confraternities of the Dominican Order.” —www.angelicwarfareconfraternity.org
What is Required of Confraternity Members?
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Prayer for Purity
Dear Jesus, I know that every perfect gift, and especially that of chastity depends on the power of Your providence, and without You a mere creature can do nothing. Therefore, I beg you to defend by Your grace the chastity and purity of my body and soul.
And if ever I have imagined or sensed anything that could stain my chastity or purity, blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers, that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service; offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity, all the days of my life. Amen.
Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas for Purity:
Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas, who kept chaste the robe of baptism and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels, I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb, and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins.
Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I, who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh, may also share your purity, and after imitating you on earth may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.