The feast day of St. Dominic is celebrated on August 8th. He was born in 1170 to Felix Guzman and Blessed Joan of Aza in Caleruega, Spain. After studying at the University at Palencia he was ordained a priest at the age of 25. St. Dominic was known for self-denial, holiness, piety and apostolic zeal. He refused to eat meat or sleep on a bed. He also renounced wealth.
In 1215 he founded an order of Dominican Nuns. Their mission was to care for young girls. This was followed by the founding of the Order of Preachers, which became known as the Dominicans. The purpose of the order was to preach the Word of God. They were also known as the “Black Friars”. The rule followed the Rule of St. Augustine. Their focus was on liturgical prayer and lifelong study.
The primary heresy the Dominicans preached against was Albigensianism. This was the belief that there are two dueling principles, good and evil, and that all matter was regarded as evil. They also taught that the devil is the creator of the material world.
A devotion which St. Dominic helped to spread is the Rosary. a Marian devotion, which combines meditation on the life of Christ, with memorized prayer. Tradition tells us that when Dominic became discouraged with the slow progress of his work of preaching against the Abligensian heresy, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him with a beautiful wreath of roses. She asked him to say the Rosary every day and to teach the people to say the Rosary. Soon the heresy began to disappear. The devotion of the rosary continues today.
After forming his order Dominic had a dream vision in which he met another person, a beggar. The next day, Dominic recognized this man when he came into his church. It was St. Francis of Assisi the future founder of the Franciscan Order. Dominic embraced him saying,
“You are my companion and must walk with me. For if we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.”
St. Dominic and St. Francis were lifelong friends. Their orders celebrate their meeting on the feast day of their saint.
The motto of St. Dominic is: “To praise, to bless, to preach”. St. Dominic once said;
“Arm yourself with prayer, rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes.”
St. Dominic died on August 6, 1221 from a fever. Because of his love of learning and teaching, St. Dominic is known as the patron of astronomers.
Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you
after my death and I shall help you then
more effectively than during my life.
Quote of St. Dominic
St. Dominic in Art
August is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.