St. Dominic Guzman
Feast Day: August 4th
St. Dominic: Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
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Founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known as the Dominican Order; born at Calaroga, in Old Castile, c. 1170; died 6 August, 1221. His parents, Felix Guzman and Joanna of Aza, undoubtedly belonged to the nobility of Spain, though probably neither was connected with the reigning house of Castile, as some of the saint's biographers assert. Of Felix Guzman, personally, little is known, except that he was in every sense the worthy head of a family of saints. To nobility of blood Joanna of Aza added a nobility of soul which so enshrined her in the popular veneration that in 1828 she was solemnly beatified by Leo XII. The example of such parents was not without its effect upon their children. Not only Saint Dominic but also his brothers, Antonio and Manes, were distinguished for their extraordinary sanctity. Antonio, the eldest, became a secular priest and, having distributed his patrimony to the poor, entered a hospital where he spent his life minis ministering to the sick. Manes, following in the footsteps of Dominic, became a Friar Preacher, and was beatified by Gregory XVI.
The birth and infancy of the saint were attended by many marvels forecasting his heroic sanctity and great achievements in the cause of religion. From his seventh to his fourteenth year he pursued his elementary studies tinder the tutelage of his maternal uncle, the archpriest of Gumiel d'lzan, not far distant from Calaroga. In 1184 Saint Dominic entered the University of Palencia. Here he remained for ten years prosecuting his studies with such ardour and success that throughout the ephemeral existence of that institution he was held up to the admiration of its scholars as all that a student should be. Amid the frivolities and dissipations of a university city, the life of the future saint was characterized by seriousness of purpose and an austerity of manner which singled him out as one from whom great thin might be expected in the future. But more than one he proved that under this austere exterior he carried a heart as tender as a woman's. On one occasion he sold his books, annotated with his own hand, to relieve the starving poor of Palencia. His biographer and contemporary, Bartholomew of Trent, states that twice he tried to sell himself into slavery to obtain money for the liberation of those who were held in captivity by the Moors. These facts are worthy of mention in view of the cynical and saturnine character which some non-Catholic writers have endeavored to foist upon one of the most charitable of men. Concerning the date of his ordination his biographers are silent; nor is there anything from which that date can be inferred with any degree of certainty. According to the deposition of Brother Stephen, Prior Provincial of Lombardy, given in the process of canonization, Dominic was still a student at Palencia when Don Martin de Bazan, the Bishop of Osma, called him to membership in the cathedral chapter for the purpose If assisting in its reform. The bishop realized the importance to his plan of reform of having constantly before his canons the example of one of Dominic's eminent holiness. Nor was he disappointed in the result. In recognition of the part he had taken in converting its members into canons regular, Dominic was appointed sub-prior of the reformed chapter. On the accession of Don Diego d'Azevedo to the Bishopric of Osma in 1201, Dominic became superior of the chapter with the title of prior. As a canon of Osma, he spent nine years of his life hidden in God and rapt in contemplation, scarcely passing beyond the confines of the chapter house.
In 1203 Alfonso IX, King of Castile, deputed the Bishop of Osma to demand from the Lord of the Marches, presumably a Danish prince, the hand of his daughter on behalf of the king's son, Prince Ferdinand. For his companion on this embassy Don Diego chose Saint Dominic. Passing through Toulouse in the pursuit of their mission, they beheld with amazement and sorrow the work of spiritual ruin wrought by the Albigensian heresy. It was in the contemplation of this scene that Dominic first conceived the idea of founding an order for the purpose of combating heresy and spreading the light of the Gospel by preaching to the ends of the then known world. Their mission having ended successfully, Diego and Dominic were dispatched on a second embassy, accompanied by a splendid retinue, to escort the betrothed princess to Castile. This mission, however, was brought to a sudden close by the death of the young woman in question. The two ecclesiastics were now free to go where they would, and they set out for Rome, arriving there towards the end of 1204. The purpose of this was to enable Diego to resign his bishopric that he might devote himself to the conversion of unbelievers in distant lands. Innocent III, however, refused to approve this project, and instead sent the bishop and his companion to Languedoc to join forces with the Cistercians, to whom he had entrusted the crusade against the Albigenses. The scene that confronted them on their arrival in Languedoc was by no means an encouraging one. The Cistercians, on account of their worldly manner of living, had made little or no headway against the Albigenses. They had entered upon their work with considerable pomp, attended by a brilliant retinue, and well provided with the comforts of life. To this display of worldliness the leaders of the heretics opposed a rigid asceticism which commanded the respect and admiration of their followers. Diego and Dominic quickly saw that the failure of the Cistercian apostolate was due to the monks' indulgent habits, and finally prevailed upon them to adopt a more austere manner of life. The result was at once apparent in a greatly increased number of converts. Theological disputations played a prominent part in the propaganda of the heretics. Dominic and his companion, therefore, lost no time in engaging their opponents in this kind of theological exposition. Whenever the opportunity offered, they accepted the gage of battle. The thorough training that the saint had received at Palencia now proved of inestimable value to him in his encounters with the heretics. Unable to refute his arguments or counteract the influence of his preaching, they visited their hatred upon him by means of repeated insults and threats of physical violence. With Prouille for his head-quarters, he labored by turns in Fanjeaux, Montpellier, Servian, Béziers, and Carcassonne. Early in his apostolate around Prouille the saint realized the necessity of an institution that would protect the women of that country from the influence of the heretics. Many of them had already embraced Albigensianism and were its most active propagandists. These women erected convents, to which the children of the Catholic nobility were often sent-for want of something better-to receive an education, and, in effect, if not on purpose, to be tainted with the spirit of heresy. It was needful, too, that women converted from heresy should be safeguarded against the evil influence of their own homes. To supply these deficiencies, Saint Dominic, with the permission of Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse, established a convent at Prouille in 1206. To this community, and afterwards to that of Saint Sixtus, at Rome, he gave the rule and constitutions which have ever since guided the nuns of the Second Order of Saint Dominic.
The year 1208 opens a new epoch in the eventful life of the founder. On 15 January of that year Pierre de Castelnau, one of the Cistercian legates, was assassinated. This abominable crime precipitated the crusade under Simon de Montfort, which led to the temporary subjugation of the heretics. Saint Dominic participated in the stirring scenes that followed, but always on the side of mercy, wielding the arms of the spirit while others wrought death and desolation with the sword. Some historians assert that during the sack of Béziers, Dominic appeared in the streets of that city, cross in hand, interceding for the lives of the women and children, the aged and the infirm. This testimony, however, is based upon documents which Touron regards as certainly apocryphal. The testimony of the most reliable historians tends to prove that the saint was neither in the city nor in its vicinity when Béziers was sacked by the crusaders. We find him generally during this period following the Catholic army, reviving religion and reconciling heretics in the cities that had capitulated to, or had been taken by, the victorious de Montfort. it was probably I September, 1209, that Saint Dominic first came in contact with Simon de Montfort and formed with him that intimate friendship which was to last till the death of the brave crusader under the walls of Toulouse (25 June, 1218). We find him by the side of de Montfort at the siege of Lavaur in 121 1, and again in 1212, at the capture of La Penne d'Ajen. In the latter part of 1212 he was at Pamiers labouring, at the invitation of de Montfort, for the restoration of religion and morality. Lastly, just before the battle of Muret. 12 September, 1213, the saint is again found in the council that preceded the battle. During the progress of the conflict, he knelt before the altar in the church of Saint-Jacques, praying for the triumph of the Catholic arms. So remarkable was the victory of the crusaders at Muret that Simon de Montfort regarded it as altogether miraculous, and piously attributed it to the prayers of Saint Dominic. In gratitude to God for this decisive victory, the crusader erected a chapel in the church of Saint-Jacques, which he dedicated, it is said, to Our Lady of the Rosary. It would appear, therefore, that the devotion of the Rosary, which tradition says was revealed to Saint Dominic, had come into general use about this time. To this period, too, has been ascribed the foundation of the Inquisition by Saint Dominic, and his appointment as the first inquisitor. As both these much controverted questions will receive special treatment elsewhere in this work, it will suffice for our) resent purpose to note that the Inquisition was in operation in 1198, or seven years before the saint took part in the apostolate in Languedoc, and while it was still an obscure canon regular at Osma. If he was for a certain time identified-with the operations of the Inquisition, it was only in the capacity of a theologian passing upon the orthodoxy of the accused. Whatever influence he may have had with the judges of that much maligned institution was always employed on the side of mercy and forbearance, as witness the classic case of Ponce Roger.
In the meantime, the saint's increasing reputation for heroic sanctity, apostolic zeal, and profound learning caused him to be much sought after as a candidate for various bishoprics. Three distinct efforts were made to miss him to the episcopate. In July, 1212, the chapter of Béziers chose him for their bishop. Again, the canons of Saint-Lizier wished him to succeed Garcias de l'Orte as Bishop of Comminges Lastly, in 1215 an effort was made by Garcias de l'Orte himself, who had been transferred from - Comminges to Auch, to make him Bishop of Navarre. But Saint Dominic absolutely refused all episcopal honors, saying that he would rather take flight in the night, with nothing but his staff, than accept the episcopate. From Muret Dominic returned to Carcassonne, where he resumed his preaching with unqualified success. It was not until 1214 that he returned to Toulouse. In the meantime the influence of his preaching and the eminent holiness of his life had drawn around him a little band of devoted disciples eager to follow wherever he might lead. Saint Dominic had never for a moment forgotten his purpose, formed eleven years before, of founding a religious order to combat heresy and propagate religious truth. The time now seemed opportune for the realization of his plan. With the approval of Bishop Foulques of Toulouse, he began the organization of his little band of followers. That Dominic and his companions might possess a fixed source of revenue Foulques made him chaplain of Fanjeaux and in July, 1215, canonically established the community as a religious congregation of his diocese, whose mission was the propagation of true doctrine and good morals, and the extirpation of heresy. During this same year Pierre Seilan, a wealthy citizen of Toulouse, who had placed himself under the direction of Saint Dominic, put at their disposal his own commodious dwelling. In this way the first convent of the Order of Preachers was founded on 25 April, 1215. But they dwelt here only a year when Foulques established them in the church of Saint Romanus. Though the little community had proved amply the need of its mission and the efficiency of its service to the Church, it was far from satisfying the full purpose of its founder. It was at best but a diocesan congregation, and Saint Dominic had dreamed Of a world-order that would carry its apostolate to the ends of the earth. But, unknown to the saint, events were shaping themselves for the realization of his hopes. In November, 1215, an ecumenical council was to meet at Rome "to deliberate on the improvement of morals, the extinction of heresy, and the strengthening of the faith". This was identically the mission Saint Dominic had determined on for his order. With the Bishop of Toulouse, he was present at the deliberations of this council. From the very first session it seemed that events conspired to bring his plans to a successful issue. The council bitterly arraigned the bishops for their neglect of preaching. In canon X they were directed to delegate capable men to preach the word of God to the people. Under these circumstances, it would reasonably appear that Dominic's request for confirmation of an order designed to carry out the mandates of the council would be joyfully granted. But while the council was anxious that these reforms should be put into effect as speedily as possible, it was at the same time opposed to the institution of any new religious orders, and had legislated to that effect in no uncertain terms. Moreover, preaching had always been looked upon as primarily a function of the episcopate. To bestow this office on an unknown and untried body of simple priests s seemed too original and too bold in its conception to appeal to the conservative prelates who influenced the deliberations of the council. When, therefore, his petition for the approbation of his infant institute was refused, it could not have been wholly unexpected by Saint Dominic.
Returning to Languedoc at the close of the council in December, 1215, the founder gathered about him his little band of followers and informed them of the wish of the council that there should be no new rules for religious orders. Thereupon they adopted the ancient rule of Saint Augustine, which, on account of its generality, would easily lend itself to any form they might wish to give it. This done, Saint Dominic again appeared before the pope in the month of August, 1216, and again solicited the confirmation of his order. This time he was received more favorably, and on 22 December, 1216, the Bull of confirmation was issued.
Saint Dominic spent the following Lent preaching in various churches in Rome, and before the pope and the papal court. It was at this time that he received the office and title of Master of the Sacred Palace, or Pope's Theologian, as it is more commonly called. This office has been held uninterruptedly by members of the order from the founder's time to the present day. On 15 August, 1217, he gathered the brethren about him at Prouille to deliberate on the affairs of the order. He had determined upon the heroic plan of dispersing his little band of seventeen unformed followers over all Europe. The result proved the wisdom of an act which, to the eye of human prudence at least, seemed little short of suicidal. To facilitate the spread of the order, Honorius III, on 11 Feb., 1218, addressed a Bull to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, and priors, requesting their favor on behalf of the Order of Preachers. By another Bull, dated 3 Dec., 1218, Honorius III bestowed upon the order the church of Saint Sixtus in Rome. Here, amid the tombs of the Appian Way, was founded the first monastery of the order in Rome. Shortly after taking possession of Saint Sixtus, at the invitation of Honorius, Saint Dominic begin the somewhat difficult task of restoring the pristine observance of religious discipline among the various Roman communities of women. In a comparatively short time the work was accomplished, to the great satisfaction of the pope. His own career at the University of Palencia, and the practical use to which he had put it in his encounters with the Albigenses, as well as his keen appreciation of the needs of the time, convinced the saint that to ensure the highest efficiency of the work of the apostolate, his followers should be afforded the best educational advantages obtainable. It was for this reason that on the dispersal of the brethren at Prouille he dispatched Matthew of France and two companions to Paris. A foundation was made in the vicinity of the university, and the friars took possession in October, 1217. Matthew of France was appointed superior, and Michael de Fabra was placed in charge of the studies with the title of Lecturer. On 6 August of the following year, Jean de Barastre, dean of Saint-Quentin and professor of theology, bestowed on the community the hospice of Saint-Jaques, which he had built for his own use. Having effected a foundation at the University of Paris, Saint Dominic next determined upon a settlement at the University of Bologna. Bertrand of Garrigua, who had been summoned from Paris, and John of Navarre, set out from Rome, with letters from Pope Honorius, to make the desired foundation. On their arrival at Bologna, the church of Santa Maria della Mascarella was placed at their disposal. So rapidly did the Roman community of Saint Sixtus grow that the need of more commodious quarters soon became urgent. Honorius, who seemed to delight in supplying every need of the order and furthering its interests to the utmost of his power, met the emergency by bestowing on Saint Dominic the basilica of Santa Sabina.
Towards the end of 1218, having appointed Reginald of Orléans his vicar in Italy, the saint, accompanied by several of his brethren, set out for Spain. Bologna, Prouille, Toulouse, and Fanjeaux were visited on the way. From Prouille two of the brethren were sent to establish a convent at Lyons. Segovia was reached just before Christmas. In February of the following year he founded the first monastery of the order in Spain. Turning southward, he established a convent for women at Madrid, similar to the one at Prouille. It is quite probable that on this journey he personally presided over the erection of a convent in connection with his alma mater, the University of Palencia. At the invitation of the Bishop of Barcelona, a house of the order was established in that city. Again bending his steps towards Rome he re-crossed the Pyrenees and visited the foundations at Toulouse and Paris. During his stay in the latter place he caused houses to be erected at Limoges, Metz, Reims, Poitiers, and Orléans, which in a short time became centres of Dominican activity. From Paris he directed his course towards Italy, arriving in Bologna in July, 1219. Here he devoted several months to the religious formation of the brethren he found awaiting him, and then, as at Prouille, dispersed them over Italy. Among the foundations made at this time were those at Bergamo, Asti, Verona, Florence, Brescia, and Faenza. From Bologna he went to Viterbo. His arrival at the papal court was the signal for the showering of new favors on the order. Notable among these marks of esteem were many complimentary letters addressed by Honorius to all those who had assisted the Fathers in their vinous foundations. In March of this same year Honorius, through his representatives, bestowed upon the order the church of San Eustorgio in Milan. At the same time a foundation at Viterbo was authorized. On his return to Rome, towards the end of 1219, Dominic sent out letters to all the convents announcing the first general chapter of the order, to be held at Bologna on the feast of the following Pentecost. Shortly before, Honorius III, by a special Brief, had conferred upon the founder the title of Master General, which till then he had held only by tacit consent. At the very first session of the chapter in the following spring the saint startled his brethren by offering his resignation as master general. It is needless to say the resignation was not accepted and the founder remained at the head of the institute till the end of his life.
Soon after the close of the chapter of Bologna, Honorius III addressed letters to the abbeys and priories of San Vittorio, Sillia, Mansu, Floria, Vallombrosa, and Aquila, ordering that several of their religious be deputed to begin, under the leadership of Saint Dominic, a preaching crusade in Lombardy, where heresy had developed alarming proportions. For some reason or other the plans of the pope were never realized. The promised support failing, Dominic, with a little band of his own brethren, threw himself into the field, and, as the event proved, spent himself in an effort to bring back the heretics to their allegiance to the Church. It is said that 100,000 unbelievers were converted by the preaching and the miracles of the saint. According to Lacordaire and others, it was during his preaching in Lombardy that the saint instituted the Militia of Jesus Christ, or the third order, as it is commonly called, consisting of men and women living in the world, to protect the rights and property of the Church. Towards the end of 1221 Saint Dominic returned to Rome for the sixth and last time. Here he received many new and valuable concessions for the order. In January, February, and March of 1221 three consecutive Bulls were issued commending the order to all the prelates of the Church-. The thirtieth of May, 1221, found him again at Bologna presiding over the second general chapter of the order. At the close of the chapter he set out for Venice to visit Cardinal Ugolino, to whom he was especially indebted for many substantial acts of kindness. He had scarcely returned to Bologna when a fatal illness attacked him. He died after three weeks of sickness, the many trials of which he bore with heroic patience. In a Bull dated at Spoleto, 13 July, 1234, Gregory IX made his cult obligatory throughout the Church.
The life of St. Dominic was one of tireless effort in the, service of god. While he journeyed from place to place he prayed and preached almost uninterruptedly. - His penances were of such a nature as to cause the brethren, who accidentally discovered them. to fear the effect upon his life. While his charity was boundless he never permitted it to interfere with the stern sense of duty that guided every action of his life. If he abominated heresy and labored untiringly for its extirpation it was because he loved truth and loved the souls of those among whom he labored. He never failed to distinguish between sin and the sinner. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, if this athlete of Christ, who had conquered himself before attempting the reformation of others, was more than once chosen to show forth the power of God. The failure of the fire at Fanjeaux to consume the dissertation he had employed against the heretics, and which was thrice thrown into the flames; the raising to life of Napoleone Orsini; the appearance of the annals in the refectory of Saint Sixtus in response to his prayers, are but a few of the supernatural happenings by which God was pleased to attest the eminent holiness of His servant. We are not surprised, therefore, that, after signing the Bull of canonization on 13 July, 1234, Gregory IX declared that he no more doubted the saintliness of Saint Dominic than he did that of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V
Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909, Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York
St. Dominic, Founder of the Preaching Friars
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
The faithful who on Tuesday of each week spend some time in devout meditation or prayers in honor of St. Dominic or perform some other act of piety, with the intention of repeating this act of homage for fifteen continuous Tuesdays, may obtain: A plenary Indulgence on the usual circumstances
I. O glorious Saint Dominic, thou who was a model of mortification and purity, by punishing thy innocent body with scourges, with fastings and with watchings, and by keeping inviolate the lily of thy virginity, obtain for us the grace to practice penance with a generous heart and to keep unspotted the purity of our bodies and our hearts.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
II. O great Saint, who, inflamed with divine love, did find thy delight in prayer and intimate union with God; obtain for us to be faithful in our daily prayers, to love Our Lord ardently, and to observe His commandments with ever increasing fidelity.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
III. O glorious Saint Dominic, who being filled with zeal for the salvation of souls, did preach the Gospel in season and out of season and did establish the Order of Friars Preachers to labor for the conversion of heretics and poor sinners, pray thou to God for us, that He may grant us to love all our brethren sincerely and to cooperate always, by our prayers and good works, in their sanctification and eternal salvation.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
V. Pray for us, Saint Dominic,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
Let us Pray.
Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who are weighed down by the burden of our sins may be raised up by the patronage of blessed Dominic Thy confessor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
An Indulgence of 300 days, plenary when these prayers together with vesicle and prayer have been recited for a month
Prayer to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine
O holy priest of God and glorious Patriarch, Saint Dominic , you who was the friend, the well– beloved son and the confidant of the Queen of Heaven, and did work so many miracles by the power of the holy Rosary; and thou, Saint Catherine of Siena, first daughters of this Order of the Rosary, and powerful mediator at Mary’s throne with the Heart of Jesus, with whom Thou did exchange Thine Heart; do you, my beloved saints, have regard to my necessities and pity the sad condition in which I now find myself. On earth you opened your hearts to the miseries of your fellow-man and your hands were strong to help them; now in heaven your charity has not grown less nor has your power waned. Pray, ah, pray for me to the mother of the Rosary and to her Divine Son, for I have great confidence that through assistance I shall obtain the favor I so much desire. Amen.
Glory Be , etc., three times.
In honor of Saint Vincent Ferror, Glory Be, etc.
In Honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Glory Be, etc.
Prayer to Saint Dominic
Wonderful Saintly Founder of the eloquent Order of Preachers and friend of Saint Francis of Assisi, you were a fiery defender of the Faith and a fighter against the darkness of heresy. You resembled a great star that shone close to the world and pointed to the Light which was Christ. Help astronomers to study the stars and admire their wonderful Maker, proclaiming: "Give glory to God in the highest." Amen.
God of Truth you gave your church a new light in the life and preaching of our Father Dominic. Give us the help we need to support our preaching by holy and simple lives. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, God, forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn of St. DominicThou who, hero-like, hast striven
For the cause of God and heaven!
Dominic, whose life was given
Sinners to recall.
Saint of high and dauntless spirit,
By thy vast unmeasured merit,
By thy name which we inherit,
Hear us when we call.
Flower of chastity, the fairest
Of her lily buds thou bearest,
Snow-white as the robe thou wearest,
Gift from hands divine.
With thy brow of starry splendor,
With thine eyes so mild and tender,
Mary's client--truth's defender,
To our prayers incline.
Great Apostle, ever claiming
Souls for Jesus--by the naming
Mary and her Son proclaiming
Mysteries of faith;
Still, O Dominic, the preaching
Of those childlike beads is reaching
Childlike hearts all sweetly teaching
Christ's own life and death.
With those Aves, first and plainest
Of the Church's prayers, thou rainest
Blessings on the earth and gainest
Souls whom Jesus made.
Loving Father I at thy station
Of seraphic contemplation,
In each hour of dark temptation,
Give thy saving aid.
Prayer in Honor of St. DominicMy Lord Jesus Christ, who didst found Thy Church with Thy Most Precious Blood and, by the preaching of the Apostles, didst establish it, propagate it and extend it throughout the whole world; and after them didst send the holy Patriarch Dominic to adorn it, enlighten it and defend it by the splendor of his merits and doctrine; vouchsafe to hear the prayers incessantly offered by that apostolic man for the increase of the spiritual goods and the temporal welfare of the same Thy Church.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.Most merciful Redeemer, who didst choose Saint Dominic to labor with Thee in the saving of souls, and he, by his zeal and Thy grace, won over to the Church so many heretics who were separated from her, and so many sinners who had grieved her by their evil lives; O my God, do thou send new laborers always into Thy vineyard to work for Thy glory and to gather in the fruits of everlasting life.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.O good Jesus, who didst delight to see Saint Dominic kneeling every night before Thine altar, adoring Thee hidden in the Blessed Sacrament with lively faith and offering in turn groans, prayers and penances in behalf of the Church, at that time persecuted by her enemies and profaned by her own children; defend this Thy Spouse through the intercession of Saint Dominic from the insults and the plots of the infernal enemy of mankind.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
V. Pray for us, Saint Dominic,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who are weighed down by the burden of our sins, may be raised up by the patronage of blessed Dominic Thy Confessor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Litany of St. Dominic
Lord, have mercy on us. , Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us, Christ, graciously hear us.
, on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary , pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, etc.
Our glorious father, ,
Follower of ,
Eminently endowed with the virtues of His Sacred Heart,
Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament,
Singularly devoted to our Blessed Lady,
Promoter of her honor,
Promulgator of the Holy Rosary,
Splendor of the ,
Founder of the Friars Preachers,
Confounder of the Albigenses,
Reviver of ecclesiastical discipline,
Rose of patience,
Most ardent for the salvation of souls,
Most desirous of martyrdom,
Doctor of truth,
Ivory of chastity,
Man of truly apostolic heart,
Poor in the midst of riches,
Rich in an unspotted life,
Burning with zeal for perishing souls,
Preacher of the Gospel,
Rule of abstinence,
Herald of Heavenly things,
Salt of the earth,
Thou who didst water the earth with thy ,
Shining in the choir of virgins,
Saint Dominic most humble,
Saint Dominic most obedient,
Saint Dominic most chaste,
Saint Dominic most charitable,
That at the hour of death we may be received into Heaven with thee,
Be merciful unto us, O Lord, and pardon us.
Be merciful unto us, O Lord, and graciously hear us.
From all sin and evil, O Lord, deliver us.
From the snares of the devil, O Lord, deliver us.
From eternal death, etc.
By the merits of our holy father, Saint Dominic,
By his ardent love,
By his indefatigable zeal,
By his extraordinary labors,
By his inexpressible penances,
By his voluntary poverty,
By his perpetual chastity,
By his perfect obedience,
By his profound humility,
By his rare constancy,
By all his other virtues,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy father, Saint Dominic,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who are weighed down by the burden of our sins may be relieved by the patronage of Saint Dominic, Thy confessor and our father.
Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
Reflection on St. Dominic
by Rev. Andrew Arnold Lambing, 1892Our divine Savior foretold to His Apostles that they and their followers should be hated by all men for His name's sake; that they were to meet with persecution because they were not of the world, as He was not of the world. But the Church was soon to discover that her enemies were not always to be of the same character, nor were they to wage war against her with the same weapons. Extraordinary trials were to be encountered at intervals, which were to be a test of the constancy, not only of her ordinary children, but also of the elect. She also learned that He Who permitted these trials provided also a remedy, as her history in all ages amply testifies. An Arius was to have his Athanasius, an Abelard his Bernard, a Luther his Ignatius, and so of her other enemies. But we are now concerned with the Albigenses, who rose in the southeast of France in the eleventh century, and devastated the Church at the same time that they defied the civil power. But no sooner was His flock threatened than the Good Shepherd came to its relief.
The religious power to suppress the outbreak of these heretics, St. Dominic, entered the field against them with that burning zeal with which only a saint can be animated for the conversion of sinners. He employed his sanctity and eloquence in endeavoring to stem the tide of evil that had been set in motion by the Albigenses ; but his efforts, though heroic, were of comparatively little avail. At length he ventured to complain to the holy Mother of God, for whom he entertained the tenderest devotion, and to ask her to instruct him in the way he could labor most successfully for the conversion of those misguided souls for whom her divine Son had laid down His life. His prayer was acceptable, and Mary revealed to him the devotion of the holy Rosary. He was told to give his time more to the propagation of this devotion than to preaching, and greater success would attend his efforts. This revelation took place about the year 1206, but the precise date cannot be ascertained.
From the beginning the devotion of the holy Rosary became very popular with the faithful, and pontiffs and prelates were loud in its praises. And first we have the words of the ever blessed Mother of God to St. Dominic: "Preach the Rosary, which is a shield against the shafts of the enemy, the rampart of the Church of God, and the Book of Life. Exhort everyone to be devout to the Rosary, and thou shalt produce wonderful fruit in souls." Says Pope Leo X.: "The Rosary has been established against the dangers which threaten the world." St. Pius V.: "By the Rosary the darkness of heresy has been dispelled, and the light of the Catholic faith shines out in all its brilliancy." Clement VII.: "The devotion of the Rosary is the salvation of Christians." Adrian VI.: "The Rosary scourges the devil." Sixtus V.: "The Rosary has been established by St. Dominic, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, for the utility of the Catholic religion." Gregory XVI.: "The Rosary is a wonderful instrument for the destruction of sin, the recovery of God's grace, and the advance of His glory."
The Legend of St. Dominic
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Attacks of the Devil.
by Augusta Theodosia Drane, 1891
This Legend was compiled by Gerard de Frachet from the Book of Epilogues of Brother Bartholomew of Trent, one of the saint's first companions, and from the History of the Foundation of the Order, composed by Blessed Jordan of Saxony, and dedicated by him to his sons by grace and joint heirs to glory. The Legend dates between 1255 and 1257.
St. Dominic Delivers a Glutton Possessed by the Devil
How the Possessed were Delivered at the Grave of St. Dominic
St. Dominic was resident at the monastery of San Sisto and, after praying for some time before the tabernacle he left to retire to his dormitory to undertake some writing. As he lit a candle a demon in the form of an ape appeared and capered around the saint emitting foul verses and taunting him.
St Dominic commanded him to stand still and then placed a lit taper in his hand. The ape continued with his obscenities but as the candle burnt down so it began to burn his fingers. The demon began to howl and scream but St Dominic again commanded him to be quiet.
After a short period the candle had burnt so low that the fire had consumed the ape's index finger and he carried on howling and dancing in pain.
At last, the saint, taking up a walking cane, whacked the demon so hard that the sound was described as like a balloon bursting. With that the ape disappeared through a wall never to return. The only thing left behind was a terrible stench.
St. Dominic was once saying Mass in London, England, in the presence of the King and Queen and three hundred other persons. As he was making the Memento for the Living he suddenly became enraptured, remaining motionless in the space of a whole hour. All present were greatly astonished, and did not know what to think or to make of it. The King ordered the server to pull the priest's robe, that he might go on with his Mass. But on attempting to do so, the server became so full of wonder that he was unable to comply with the King's order.
After an hour's time, St. Dominic was able to continue the Mass, when , behold! At the Elevation f the Sacred Host, the King and all who were present saw, instead of the Host in the hands of the priest, the Holy Infant Jesus, at the sight of which all experienced great interior joy. At the same time they beheld the Mother of God in great brilliancy and splendor and surrounded by twelve bright stars. She took the hand of her Divine Infant to bless with it all those who were present at the Mass. At this blessing many experienced an ineffable joy and shed tears of tenderness. At the Elevation of the chalice, everyone saw a cross uprising from it, with Jesus Christ hanging upon it in almost pitiable condition and shedding all His Blood. The Blessed Virgin was also seen sprinkling , as it were, the Sacred Blood over the people, upon which everyone received a clear knowledge of his or her sins with a deep sorrow for the same, so much so that everyone who saw them could not help weeping with them.
Mass being ended, St. Dominic ascended the pulpit and addressed the people as follows: "' Sing ye to the Lord a new Canticles, because he hath done wonderful things.' (Psalm 97). You have seen with your own eyes and experienced in your own hearts the wonderful things which Jesus Christ has done in the Most Blessed Sacrament. You have seen with your eyes, and it has been given to you to understand how Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and the Son of Mary, has been pleased to be born anew and to be again crucified for you. In this divine and tremendous mystery of Holy Mass you have witnessed only things most holy, most sublime, most consoling and most touching. It is not only one or a few of you who have seen these wonderful things, but the entire three hundred here assembled have witnessed them. Now if there be but one little spark of divine love in your hearts, sentiments of gratitude and hymns of praise in honor of the Divine goodness and Majesty ought to flow incessantly from your lips." (Ex. lib. inter. B. Alanus rediv., Par. 3, Chap. 22).
Some text courtesy of Catholicharboroffaithandmorals