Saint Dominic

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St Dominic presiding over an auto de fe, Spanish, 1475

Saint Dominic (born at Calaruega, Spain, around 1170; died August 6, 1221, at Bologna, Italy) founded the Dominican Order.

Born Dominic de Guzmán, he was named after the patron saint of the Benedictine Abbey of San Domingo de Silos which is a few miles north of Calaruega. He became a priest in the Diocese of Osma under Bishop Diego and was made a Canon (priest) of the Cathedral.

Although having intellectual gifts, Dominic is noted for his compassion. It is told that, at one point, he sold his books (a huge sacrifice in the days before printing) to feed the poor. His gifts made him the ideal companion of Bishop Diego when he was sent on a diplomatic mission to secure a bride for the crown prince of Spain. The mission made its way to Sweden via the South of France. In this area Dominic and Diego encountered the Albigensians. Returning after finding that the intended bride had died, they stayed a number of years in the South of France working among the Albigensians. Diego was forced by the pope to return to his Diocese, and Dominic remained in France.

There Dominic first gathered a group of women who had left the Albigensians and formed them into a religious community. This community of Dominican women still exists. A small group of priests formed around Dominic, but soon left him since the challenge and rigours of a simple lifestyle together with demanding preaching discouraged them. Finally Dominic gathered a number of men who remained faithful to the vision of active witness to the Albigensians as well as a way of preaching which combined intellectual rigour with a popular and approachable style.

With the approval of Pope Innocent III in 1215 Dominic's order was called The Order of Preachers or more popularly known as the Dominican Order.

One of Dominic's particular concerns was combatting the Albigensian movement in the south of France and north of Spain.

Pope Gregory IX canonized Dominic July 13, 1234.

In 1963, "Soeur Sourire", the Singing Nun of Belgium, scored a U.S. No. 1 hit with the song "Dominique", about St es:Domingo de Guzmán fr:Dominique de Guzmán nl:Dominicus Guzman pt:Săo Domingos de Gusmăo sv:Dominicus


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