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Saint Dominic

We must sow the seed, not hoard it.

Saint Dominic OP was a Castilian priest and founder of the Dominican order

Saint Dominic was born in Caleruega in Old Castile, Spain on August 8th, 1170 near the Benedictine abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos. His family gave him his name Dominic to honor Saint Dominic of Silos. His mother, suffering from unable to conceive, made pilgrimage to the Abbey at Silos and had a vision in which a dog leapt from her womb carrying a flaming torch in it's mouth. The entire world caught flame from the torch the dog carried. In another vision she was told by Saint Dominic of Silos that her son would be a shining light to the church. His mother, Saint Jane of Aza was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1829. At his baptism, Saint Dominic's godmother saw a star on his forehead and his mother saw a moon on it.

As a child, Saint Dominic was raised by his parents and received heavy Catholic teaching from his uncle, an archbishop. At fourteen Saint Dominic attended the Premonstratensian monastery at Santa Maria de La Vid before transferring to other schools in Palencia to study theology and the arts. As 1191 approached a terrible famine gripped Spain, causing widespread poverty. Rather than clutching tighter to his possessions Saint Dominic gave away any money he had, sold his clothes, furniture and manuscripts to help fund missions for feeding the poor and needy. He said to his fellow students:

"Would you have me study off these dead skins when men are dying of hunger?"

Saint Dominic was formally ordained as a priest in 1194 and joined the canonry of the Cathedral of Osma. Four years later Saint Dominic was assigned to be the subprior of the chapter under Diego de Acebo, Bishop of Osma. The two were sent on a diplomatic mission for King Alfonso VIII in 1203 to help secure a bride in Denmark. Though their mission was successful, the princess in Denmark died before leaving for Castile, and so the two travelled home together. On their path back to Osma they encountered Cistercian monks who had been tasked with preaching against the Cathars by Pope Innocent III. Saint Dominic and Archbishop Diego began to believe that the mission's failures against the Cathars were due to the very different lifestyles - the Cathars had a very ascetic lifestyle while many of the Catholics had much more extravagance and pomp. They both formed a mission in southern France to help convert the Cathars and vowed to live a much more ascetic life. When Archbishop Diego died, Saint Dominic was left alone in the mission.

“Whatever troubles may be before you, accept them bravely, remembering Whom you are trying to follow. Do not be afraid. Love one another, bear with one another and let charity guide you all your life. God will reward you as only He can.”

In Toulouse, Saint Dominic gathered together with six followers and formed a new type of organization to address the growing spiritual needs of cities. A wealthy man by the name of Peter Seila donated them a house and in 1215 Saint Dominic formed this organization. It was one that would combine education with dedication and a much more flexible organization. It was also to be subjected to the monastic rules of prayer and penance. During the Fourth Lateran Council, Saint Dominic travelled to Rome for approval from Pope Innocent III. He received written authority in December of 1216 and the following year Pope Honorius III gave him authority to form the Ordo Praedicatorum or Order of Preachers.

One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.

Saint Dominic centered his headquarters of the order in Rome. Pope Honorius III invited them to take up residence at the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina. Though Saint Dominic and his companions had been living in the basilica since 1220, the official legal transfer of the property from Pope Honorius III to the Order of Preachers occurred on June 5th, 1222. The studium at Santa Sabina was a forerunner of the studium generale at Santa Maria sopra Minerva which would become the College of Saint Thomas and then the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.

Saint Dominic abstained totally from meat, observed many fasts and periods of silence and always chose the "meanest" of clothes. He never slept in a bed and frequently travelled barefoot while singing praises to God during storms and other troubles on the road. The spread of devotion to the Rosary has long been attributed to the preaching of Saint Dominic. Pope Pius XI famously said:

"The Rosary of Mary is the principle and foundation on which the very Order of Saint Dominic rests for making perfect the life of its members and obtaining the salvation of others."

In 1221, Saint Dominic travelled to the convent of Saint Nicholas at Bologna, Italy but arrived there tired and with fever. In his last moments of the illness he told his fellow monks to have charity, guard their humility and make their treasure of poverty. On August 6th, 1221, at noon, Saint Dominic passed away.

Pope Gregory IX canonized Saint Dominic in 1234 and oversaw his remains being moved to a new shrine made by Nicola Pisano. Saint Dominic is venerated as the patron saint of Astronomers, the Dominican Republic and many others. His feast day is celebrated on August 8th.

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