Wednesday, August 8 was the Feast of Saint Dominic.
Until yesterday, the first time I paid any attention to his Day, I knew nothing of Saint Dominic.
Dominic de Guzman was born to wealthy Spanish nobility at born at Calaroga, in Old Castile in 1170. His Mother became Blessed Joan Aza. When his Mother was pregnant with him she 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.
Dominic would set the world on fire supporting the teachings of his faith and fighting heretics.
At Dominic’s baptism, Blessed Joan saw a star shining from his chest, which became another of his symbols in various art works, and led to his patronage of astronomy. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Palencia. He became a priest and Canon of the cathedral of Osma. He worked intently for clerical reform.
Dominic was a lifelong apostolate among heretics (those that denied Christ), especially in France. This French connection is the reason so many Vietnamese have become Dominican priests (Vietnam was at one time a French Colony and the French brought the Catholic faith to Vietnam).
Dominic 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 life.This is why the Dominicans wear the rosary still today.
Dominic was a 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 turned out to become Saint Francis of Assisi.
Oldest image of Saint Dominic
by an unknown 14th century artist
Priory of the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna, Italy