Monday, February 14, 2011

SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMAN: Priest and Founder of the Order of Preachers


SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMAN

c.1170-1221
Priest and Founder of the Order of Preachers


Saint Dominic was born around 1170 at Caleruega in Spain of the noble De Guzman family.  After completing his studies at Palencia, he was ordained to the priesthood and became a Canon Regular in the Cathedral Chapter at Osma.  But soon he was called from his hidden life of liturgy and contemplation to the more active ministry of combating the Albigensian heresy, which at that time was rife in Southern France.  Using as a base the little group of nuns he had established at Prouille, he spent more than ten years ranging the countryside, begging from door to door, preaching indefatigably.  During this time, he became convinced of the need of a special body of trained priests who would spread the truth by preaching and teaching in apostolic poverty.  Out of this conviction the Order of Preachers, formally approved by Pope Honorius III  in 1216, was born.

The Founder was essentially a man of prayer and study, with a burning zeal for the salvation of souls – characteristics which he indelibly impressed upon his Order.  From these qualities stem  others easily  associated with them: his love for silence, his compassion for sinners, his joyous spirit, his singular purity of life and delicacy of conscience.  Dominic was also a leader, an innovator, a founder, and he had traits admirably suited to the dimension of his life: the ability to grip the essence of a problem and its most apt solution, a capacity for organization bordering on genius, a boundless trust in the capability and goodwill of his collaborators.  He had, in addition, a charism for ministering to women and for associating women in his ministry, attested not only by the establishment of three monasteries of nuns during his lifetime, but also in the recollections of many devout lay women who cared for his needs during his years in Southern France.

August 6, 1221, Saint Dominic died in Bologna and was buried, as he wished, beneath the feet of his brethren.  His close friend, Pope Gregory IX canonized him in 1234.

                                    Shining light of the Church, teacher of truth, excelling in patience, pure as whitest ivory, freely you have poured out the water of wisdom: bring us, preacher of grace, into the company of the saints.

                              O God, who has enlightened your church by the eminent virtues and preaching of St. Dominic, your Confessor and our Father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be provided against all temporal necessities and daily improve in all spiritual good. This we ask through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


FEASTDAY:  AUGUST 8

SOLEMNITY

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