Devotion to the Holy Name falls loosely into three periods. The first phase is the very early Church and was cultivated by the Apostles and the early disciples. In this period devotion is to the Name of Christ, to the Name of Christ Jesus, to the Name of the Lord, and to the Name of Jesus.
The second phase is found in the early middle ages. Here devotion to the Holy Name was fixed specifically to the Name of Jesus. Pope Gregory X (1271 - 1276) and the Council of Lyons in 1274 initiated a call of the Universal Church to this special devotion. Through the works of Blessed John of Vercelli, the sixth Master General of the Order of St. Dominic, the Dominicans began preaching on the virtues of the Holy Name and built special altars where the lay faithful could venerate the Holy Name of Jesus.
The third phase was brought to life by St. Bernardine of Siena (1380 - 1444). St. Bernardine made the object of devotion the Monogram of the Holy Name. St. Bernardine painted a special wooden tablet with the Monogram of the Name of Jesus surrounded by rays of the sun. St. Bernardine and his contemporary St. John Capistran popularized this devotion and made it so widespread that the monogram of the name of Jesus, even today, stands at the side of the cross as a symbol of Christianity.
The Holy Name Society is spiritually rooted in the zealous devotions that began in the Dominican Order and flourished through the work of St. Bernardine and his Franciscan Brothers.