Discovery of previously unknown documents and better understanding of the religious culture of the laity in the Italy of St. Dominic and St. Francis have radically changed the accepted narrative for the origins and development of the “Penitents of St. Dominic,” perhaps best known as the “Dominican Third Order of Penance,” now the “Dominican Laity.” These developments have very much changed the context of the vocations of early lay collaborators of the Order, in particular St. Zdislava of Lemberk and St. Catherine of Siena. The results of these developments, on which Fr. Thompson will speak, are surprising, challenging, and, in many ways, empowering for modern Lay Dominicans.
Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP, is professor of history at DSPT and has written extensively on the religious life of lay people in Medieval Italy. He is a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the GTU, American Catholic Historical Society, American Historical Association, American Society of Church History, The Medieval Academy of America, and Iuris Canonici Medii Aevi Consociatio (International Society of Medieval Canon Law).