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Born: Aug. 8th, 1170
Died: Aug. 6th, 1221
FEast: Aug. 8th
Patron of:  
Astronomers, the dominican republic, the dominican order

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St. Dominic

Bio

 

 Dominic was born in Spain to both aristocratic and holy parents. It is said in a story about his mother that, when she was pregnant, had a dream about a dog leaping from her womb and using a torch it carried in its mouth to set the world on fire. The baby was named Dominic, similar to the Latin words for "The Lord's Dog".

Dominic went to study theology and the arts when he was 14, excelling at school until a famine hit the area and he donated all of his furniture, clothing, and books to raise money to feed the hungry. His classmates could not understand why he would do such a thing, and he responded to them simply that books are dead - but that there are ones still living that are suffering and need help more. It is also said he occasionally would try to sell himself into slavery to try and free others who had already been enslaved.

He joined a Benedictine order in 1194 and was ordained a priest around the age of 24. He even became the head of the group after assisting in some group reformation.

His life took a drastic turn, however, around the year 1204 when he took a trip to Denmark with the bishop to find a bride for the prince. The woman they chose, however, passed away before they could return, and so the two began to travel to wherever they wanted!

The bishop chose to go to Rome because he wanted to resign from his position so that he could continue to travel and work for conversion instead. While there, they met with monks who had been trying unsuccessfully to convert the people of Southern France. They soon found out why this was the case. The people there were wrapped up in a belief that all materialism was evil, and so they chose to starve themselves and did not believe Jesus had been fully human. The monks who had tried to tell them otherwise, however, had much money and spent it on living lavishly - the very opposite of what the people of Southern France wanted or could relate to!

Dominic then decided he would approach the issue by becoming an itinerant preacher, traveling from place to place for ten years. He debated anyone who questioned the theology he had studied that said the world and our bodies really are good, even when they threatened him physically. He even established a monastery (the first Dominican one) to provide a safe place for children to be educated.

Soon, a crusade began. Instead of fighting or riding around to conquer and evangelize, Dominic spent this time begging soldiers to spare the lives of the heretics they were trying to convert.

Around this time we begin to hear stories about how St. Dominic was given the first rosary in a vision. There were similar prayers before this time, but no record of the modern, Marian one we know today until an apparition of Mary to him in the year 1214.

But his determination paid off - his reputation as an intelligent, holy, and simply-living man was spreading, and several people tried at once to make him a bishop. He refused, and instead focused on the formation of his own order, which he was finally given permission from Rome to establish. He and 17 other priests went out into the world to preach and to spread the order. Though it seemed impossible that this could work, groups of followers soon began springing up all over Europe.

Dominic began to travel after his success, taking, as always, just a small bundle, eating only vegetarian food, refusing beds, and not wearing shoes once he left the edge of town. He established more convents and organized more groups until he fell ill and passed away at the age of 51.

He is patron saint of astronomers because it is said that when he was baptized, his mother saw a star shining on his chest.

Prayer

 

We may not always know where we are meant to end up, or even what our dreams truly are. Help us on our journeys as we discover these things through even the most unexpected of encounters. You trusted all along that you would end up where you needed to be and would discover your purpose - help us keep this hope as well despite our ages or complicated paths. Amen.

Art Reflection

 

I am hoping you can tell from this icon that I think that in this day and age, Dominic would be the guy who just sold all his stuff to go on a soul-searching road trip (with pit-stops to help anyone/ everyone who he comes across that needs it) looking for a purpose and taking all opportunities along the way. He might also be a NASA fan, and, in this image, is very likely gazing at the stars with his dog after setting up camp for the night. He has space-themed and Dominican patches on his very spacesuit-like metallic jacket, as well as a hat (from his travels) featuring a patch of the Dominican Republic's flag. His dog carries the torch (flashlight) by which he was destined to bring a little light to the world.

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