Life of Saint Dominic
Dominic's Catholic Church, Torrance
|Dominic de Guzman
Born of wealthy Spanish nobility. Son of Blessed Joan of Aza.
When she was pregnant, his mother had a vision that her unborn
child was a dog who would set the world on fire with a torch it
carried in its mouth; a dog with a torch in its mouth became a
symbol for the order which he founded, the Dominicans. At Dominic's
baptism, Blessed Joan saw a star shining from his chest, which
became another of his symbols in art, and led to his patronage
Studied philosophy and theology at the University of Palencia.
Priest. Canon of the cathedral of Osma. Augustinian. Worked
for clerical reform. Lifelong apostolate among heretics, especially
Albigensians, and especially in France. Worked with Blessed
Peter of Castelnau. Founded the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans)
in 1215, a group who live a simple, austere life, and an order
of nuns dedicated to the care of young girls. Friend of Saint
Amata of Assisi.
At one point Dominic became discouraged at the progress of
his mission; no matter how much he worked, the heresies remained.
But he received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath
of roses, representing the rosary. She told him to say the rosary
daily, teach it to all who would listen, and eventually the
true faith would win out. Dominic is often credited with the
invention of the rosary; it actually pre-dates him, but he certainly
spread devotion to it, and used it to strengthen his own spiritual
Reported miracle worker who brought four people back from the
dead. Legend says that Dominic received a vision of a beggar
who, like Dominic, would do great things for the Faith. Dominic
met the beggar the next day. He embraced him and said, "You
are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together,
no earthly power can withstand us." The beggar was Saint
Francis of Assisi.
Born: 1170 at Calaruega, Burgos, Old Castile
Died: 4 August 1221 at Bologna
Canonized: 13 July 1234 by Pope Gregory IX at Rieti, Italy
Feast Day: 8 August
Name Meaning: belonging to God
astronomers; astronomy; prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes, Philippines;
diocese of Bayombong, Philippines; Dominican Republic; falsely
accused people; Malta scientists;
Santo Domingo Indian Pueblo; Valletta.
Fausto Appetente Die: On Saint Dominic, by Pope Benedict XV
Adapted from the Catholic
Dominic possessed such great
integrity and was so strongly motivated by divine love, that
without a doubt he proved to be a bearer of honor and grace.
And since a joyful heart animates the face, he displayed the
peaceful composure of a spiritual man in the kindness he manifested
outwardly and by the cheerfulness of his countenance.
Wherever he went he showed himself in word and deed to be a
man of the Gospel. During the day no one was more community-minded
or pleasant toward his brothers and associates. During the night
hours no one was more persistent in every kind of vigil and
supplication. He seldom spoke unless it was with God, that is,
in prayer, or about God; and in this matter he instructed his
Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would
deign to grant him genuine charity in caring for and obtaining
the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he
be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally
for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Savior
of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So,
for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident
planning, he founded the Orders of Friars Preachers.
In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers
of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments.
He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and
the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he
almost knew them from memory.
Two or three times he was chosen bishop, but he always refused,
preferring to live with his brothers in poverty. Of him Pope
Gregory IX declared: "I knew him as a steadfast follower
of the apostolic way of life. There is no doubt that he is in
heaven, sharing in the glory of the apostles themselves."
Adapted from various writings on the history of the Order of Preachers
Gallery of images of Saint Dominic
Other Saints of the Church
Dominic and the Rosary:
The story is that Our Blessed Mother gave
St. Dominic the Rosary and asked him to spread devotion to Christ
through it. Many Catholics will say that this is just a pius legend.
They point to the fact that the practice of saying 150 Hail Mary’s
predates St. Dominic and therefore this story, they claim, is
[ The Hail Mary was shorter back then, not including the "Holy
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of
our death. Amen." The saying of the 150 Hail Mary’s
had grown out of the devotion of the priests who recited the 150
Psalms. Since the lay people could not read they said the Hail
Mary’s or Our Father’s.]
However, the other side of the story is that the *Rosary is*
identified with the *meditation* on Fifteen Mysteries of Christ’s
life while saying, or rather praying, the Hail Mary’s
and the Our Father’s.
So perhaps Our Lady did attach the meditation to the reciting
of the prayers, therefore we could legitimately have attributed
to her and her influence with
St. Dominic this venerable and time tested prayer we call the
No one denies that she promoted the Rosary at Fatima, so it
is not hard to imagine her telling St. Dominic about it.
I have to admit I have been slow to really appreciate this prayer.
But, the little things just kept adding up. I can no longer
ignore the importance of this powerful prayer. Most, if not
all, of the recent saints have had a deep devotion to Mary and
the Rosary, whereas most of the dissenters do not. Our Holy
Father John Paul II is very devoted to the Rosary. He even put
the bullet that he was shot with in the crown of the statue
of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom he attributes the miraculous
intervention that saved his life when he was shot at point blank
range on May 13, 1981, the Feast of Fatima. Mother Angelica
was healed while saying the Rosary after decades of suffering.
We could go on and on with miracles of the Rosary.
I used to think that it was only nice, cute, and generous of
the Holy Father when he would give a Rosary to each child that
would come up to the Altar to meet him. But after years and
years of seeing him give away the Rosary, I have to ask, "Is
he trying to send a message with this gift ? If he wanted to
promote the Rosary, what other method would be more profound,
yet subtle ? Sincere, yet humble ?
Anyway, I see a lot of people, even in the Church, thinking
that they are doing the right thing, yet making terrible and
sinful choices. Yet, I have to hasten to add that I see more
culpability in my own sins since I see what is only a glimmer
of my own guilt. And I cannot judge the guilt of others. I to
often do things that I know are wrong. This world has terrible
pitfalls, yet I am a man with a fallen human nature. I decided
that I better play it safe, and say the Rosary, meditating on
the life of Christ, each and every day.
Saint Dominic and his role in the Rosary:
St. Dominic had a great devotion to the Mother of God. And she
did use him to inspire others to know and follow the One True
Lord, Jesus Christ, through devotion to the Holy Rosary.
The Albigensian Heresy:
The Albigensian heresy had plagued southern France in St. Dominic’s
time, the 13th century. It was based on the belief that there
were two supreme beings, a good God who created the spirit world,
and an evil god who created the material world.
The proponents of this heresy also taught the following:
that the spiritual world is essentially good, and the material
world (including the human body) is essentially evil,
that the evil god (Satan) imprisoned spirits in material bodies,
one can do to be released from that prison (including suicide)
that since matter is evil, marriage and the procreation of mankind
that that Christ was not truly a man, and therefore, neither
was Mary truly the Mother of God,
and that the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ were
only illusions, and consequently the whole concept of the cross
in the Christian life was rejected.