St Dominic was also called Domingo Felix de Guzman or Dominic of Osma or Caleruega.
He was a Catholic priest and founder of the Dominican Order.
He was born on August 8 1170 in Caleruega, Castile, Spain and died on August 6 1221 at the age of 50 in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
His feast day is celebrated on August 8 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint Dominic, Priest Biography
|Date of Birth
|August 8 1170
|Place of Birth
|Caleruega, Castile, Spain
|Catholic priest and founder of the Dominican Order
|Date of Death
|August 6 1221
|Place of Death
|Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
|By Pope Gregory IX at Reiti Cathedral, Italy on 13 July 13 1234
|Patron Saint of
St Dominic de Guzman Biography
St Dominic was born in Caleruega, Castile, Spain. His father was called Felix Guzman, an influential man in his village and his mother was Blessed Jane of Aza (Juana de Aza).
A narrative goes by that Dominic’s mother had been barren for a long time before he was born. She made a pilgrimage to the Benedictine abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos which is a few miles north of Caleruega.
Her mother had a dream that a dog had jumped from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth and set the world on fire.
His parents, therefore, named him Dominic from the words Domini canis meaning “Dogs of the Lord”. This story gained traction when he formed his order, the Dominican Order, and named it after himself.
When he was fourteen years of age, Dominic joined the Premonstratensian monastery of Santa María de La Vid. He later went for further studies in Palencia where he studied art and theology for six years.
Dominic’s disassociation from money and material wealth started manifesting clearly in 1191, when he sold most of his property and used that money to feed the poor and the hungry during a drought in Spain. He told his fellow students that he couldn’t study in affluence when men were dying of hunger.
In 1194, Dominic was ordained as a priest at the age of 24, and thereafter became a canon in the Cathedral of Osma.
He became very close to Bishop Diego de Acebo, the Bishop of Osma, and around 1203 Dominic accompanied the bishop on a diplomatic mission to Denmark to secure a bride for crown prince Ferdinand, the son of Alfonso VIII, King of Castile. Unfortunately, the princess died before settling in Castile.
When Fr Dominic and Bishop Diego de Acebo were returning to Castile, they were requested to go to Southern France, in the region of Languedoc where they met with some Cistercian monks who, under request from Pope Innocent III, were unsuccessfully trying to preach against the Cathars who were preaching the Albigensian heresy.
The Albigensian heresy purported that all material things in this world are evil including the human body itself. They would even starve themselves to death intentionally. They also denied the Incarnation and the Sacraments, whereas the Catholic Church proclaims the very resurrection of the Body.
The reason why the Cistercian monks were unsuccessful, was because they were extravagant, obtrusive, and showy as compared with the Cathars who were austere and ascetic.
Fr Dominic and Bishop Diego de Acebo decided to embrace and adopt the austere and ascetic way of life in order to convert the heretic Cathars. As they were in the process of this exercise, Bishop Diego de Acebo died and left Fr Dominic to handle the task alone.
After St Dominic managed to quell the spread of the heresy, he saw the need to establish an institution in Southern France where the residents there could educate and rear their children away from hostile heretics.
In 1206, Dominic established a convent at Prouille Fanjeaux, France which became the first Dominican house and the initial Dominican headquarters. Today the monastery is known as the Notre-Dame-de-Prouille Monastery.
Around 1215, while in the Toulouse region in France, Dominic with six other companions established a new organization type that would offer a balance and flexibility between dedication to monastic orders and dedication to systematic education.
He intimated that the preachers had to be educated and have the theological know-how in order to preach effectively. They however embraced the monastic rules of penance and prayer. Meanwhile, they were given a formal go-ahead to preach throughout the region of Toulouse by Bishop Foulques.
In the same year, Bishop Foulques and Fr Dominic set on a journey to Rome to seek the approval of their “Order of Preachers” (the Dominicans) from Pope, Innocent III.
The approval process did not take long because a year later, the new pope, Honorius III gave them written authority in December 1216 and January 1217.
St Dominic made Rome the headquarters of the Dominicans but frequently visited the friaries he has established in other places.
In 1219, Pope Honorius III requested the Dominicans to move from their temporary residence at the convent of San Sisto Vecchio and occupy the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina.
Pope Honorarius III had realized that the women’s religious orders in Rome had relaxed in their discipline and therefore requested St Dominic to restore their discipline. He gave the Dominicans the old dilapidated Church to undertake this task.
Dominic renovated it and to accomplish the Pope’s mission, persuaded several orders of nuns to relocate there. This new convent was called the Convent of San Sisto Vecchio.
When St Dominic managed to accomplish the Pope’s mission his order was rewarded with a new residence at the Basilica of Santa Sabina which to this day remains the headquarters of the Dominican order.
St Dominic shied away from eating meat and frequently fasted and observed great moments of silence. He was averse to comfortable accommodations and nice clothes. Most of the time he would travel barefoot and would praise God whenever he encountered any discomfort.
An old lady named Cecilia Cesarini who had joined the Dominicans described St Dominis as thin and of middle height, with a handsome face, beautiful eyes, and a pleasant voice, reddish beard and hair, long and fine hands.
At the time of his death, St Dominic instructed the monks at the convent of St Nicholas in Bologna, Italy to lay him on the floor on a sack.
His last words were of encouraging his followers to embrace charity and humility and to realize that their true and most cherished heavenly treasure will surely be made out of poverty.
The Dominicans keep Holy Rosary close to their hearts and are devoted to spreading it to the whole world.
The Dominican order grew rapidly throughout the world becoming a global congregation dedicated to education, publishing, scholarship, preaching, and Gospel evangelization.
Saint Dominic Birth
St Dominic was born on August 8 1170 in Caleruega, Castile, Spain. His father was called Felix Guzman, an influential man in his village and his mother was Blessed Blessed Jane of Aza (Juana de Aza).
Saint Dominic Death
St Dominic died of a fever at noon on August 6 1221 at the convent of St Nicholas in Bologna, Italy at the age of fifty-one.
St Dominic’s body was preserved in 1233, in a simple stone coffin but in 1267 they were interred in a shrine at the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna, Italy.
Saint Dominic was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on July 13 1234 at the Reiti Cathedral in Lazio, Italy
St Dominic Feast Day
Saint Dominic is the Patron Saint of
- Valletta, Malta
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, USA
- Prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes, Philippines
- Picpus Fathers
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Falsely accused people
- Diocese of Bayombong, Philippines
- Campana, Calabria, Italy
- Birgu, Malta
- Archdiocese of Fuzhou, China
St Dominic’s Quote
“Whoever governs the passions is master of the world. We must either rule them, or be ruled by them. It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.”St Dominic, Priest
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