St. Dominic – 8 August

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother is Blessed Joan of Aza. When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle, a priest, directed his education. After years of study, he became a priest too. Dominic lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other virtuous priests. But God had a special plan for Dominic. He would begin a new religious Order. It would be called the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans.

The Dominicans preached the faith. They helped correct false teachings called heresies. It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that the heresy of Albigensianism, a false teaching, was doing great harm. St. Dominic felt such pity for the people who were being misled by it. He wanted to help them. The Dominicans helped to spread the truth with preaching and prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices. Once someone asked St. Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. “The only book I use is the book of love,” he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He urged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. No one did more than St. Dominic and his preachers to spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.

St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi were close friends. Their two Orders of Dominicans and Fran-ciscans helped Christians become holier. Dominic’s friars opened centers in Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; and Rome and Bologna, Italy. He lived to see his Order spread to Poland, Scandinavia, and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford, all in England. Dominic died in Bologna on August 6, 1221. His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX. He proclaimed Dominic a saint in 1234.

We can ask St. Dominic to help us grow in our love for our Catholic faith. We can also ask him to teach us to be as devoted to the Rosary as he was.