Saint of the Day for 08 August: Saint Dominic of Guzman
Light of the Preacher, Founder of the Order of Preachers and Defender of the Truth
Domenico di Guzmán
Priest and founder of the Preachers
1170, Calaruega, Spain
06 August 1221, Bologna
13 July 1234, Rome, Pope Gregory IX
O admirable St. Dominic, we rejoice with you in whom the nobility of blood was overcome by the nobility of grace, which invested your soul at baptism and made you of cherubic light a splendour and a portent. You who were rich in the baptismal stole and who nevertheless espoused tremendous expiatory austerities, impart to us a loving repentance that will restore in us the splendour of lost innocence. O most blessed Patriarch, in contemplating the miracle of your life we are struck with astonishment, and sorrow seizes us in seeing us so at variance with you. Deh! may your protection be the worker of wonders in us too, may it bring us the healing of the infirmities of the spirit, the fervour of piety, the joy of divine friendship, serene peace in death and the consortium of you blessed in eternity. So be it.
Naples, Augusta, Cavallino, Martano, Villaverla, Condofuri, Realmonte, Moliterno, Longobucco, Sturno
Memory of Saint Dominic, priest, who, canon of Osma, humble minister of preaching in the regions ravaged by the Albigensian heresy, lived by his own choice in the most miserable poverty, speaking continually with God or of God. Wishing to find a new way to propagate the faith, he founded the Order of Preachers, in order to restore the form of life of the Apostles in the Church, and recommended his brethren to serve their neighbour with prayer, study and the ministry of the word. His death took place in Bologna on 6 August.
The Saint and Mission
St Dominic of Guzman, a 13th century Spanish priest and founder of the Order of Preachers (known as Dominicans), is known for his fervent mission of preaching and evangelisation. His tireless commitment to defending the truth of the Christian faith and his dedication to forming a community of brothers committed to proclaiming the Gospel make him a key figure in the history of the Church.
St Dominic’s mission stems from his deep love for God and truth. Faced with the growing spread of the Cathar heresy in southern France, Dominic responded not with anger or violence, but with prayer, dialogue and a life of evangelical poverty that offered an authentic counterpoint to the corruption and opulence that too often characterised the Church of his time.
St Dominic recognised that true preaching requires not just words, but adequate formation and a witness of authentic life. This gave rise to the Order of Preachers, a religious community dedicated to the contemplative life, theological instruction and preaching. The Dominican mission is distinguished by its balance between contemplation and action, between deep union with God in prayer and active engagement in the world.
St Dominic’s promotion of the Holy Rosary is another fundamental aspect of his mission. Through the Rosary, Dominic offered a powerful instrument of prayer and meditation that helps the faithful to reflect on the mysteries of Christ’s life and to draw closer to God.
In sum, the life and mission of St Dominic of Guzman offer an inspiring example of how fidelity to truth, attention to formation and a balance between contemplation and action can give rise to effective missionary service. His legacy continues to influence the Church today, reminding us of the importance of preaching, instruction and a life lived in harmony with the Gospel.
The Saint and Mercy
St Dominic of Guzman is an eminent figure in the history of the Church for his unflinching devotion to the truth and his deep compassion for those who suffered, spiritually and materially.
Dominic distinguished himself for his mercy towards Cathar heretics in the south of France, seeking to bring them back to orthodoxy not through violence, but through prayer, preaching and loving dialogue. He himself lived a life of poverty and simplicity, in stark contrast to the opulence of the church at the time, offering a tangible example of an alternative to the Cathar way of life.
St Dominic also exercised mercy in education, founding the Order of Preachers with the aim of training well-educated religious, capable of countering heresy with sound arguments and an authentic testimony of life. The importance he attached to education as a form of intellectual charity is a distinctive aspect of his spirituality.
St. Dominic’s mercy was not limited to his direct ministry, but permeated his entire life. His devotion to the Holy Rosary, which he helped to promote, is an example of his desire to help all Christians meditate on the mysteries of faith and draw closer to God.
The life of St Dominic of Guzman is a powerful example of how love for truth and mercy can go hand in hand. His dedication to preaching, his focus on education, and his spirit of poverty and humility show that truth must always be expressed with charity and mercy.
The Order of Preachers (or Dominicans)
The Order of Preachers, more commonly known as the Dominican Order, is a Catholic religious community founded by St. Dominic of Guzman in the 13th century. This Order was distinguished for its dedication to preaching, education and community life.
The Dominicans were among the first to emphasise the importance of theology and education in religious life. Theological and philosophical education is central to their identity, as it enables the brothers to effectively carry out their ministry of preaching and defending the faith.
The Order of Preachers has given the Church many outstanding theologians, including St Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest thinkers in Christian history. This commitment to theological education and reflection has helped the Church navigate through periods of change and challenge, contributing to a deeper understanding of the Gospel and the mystery of God.
The Dominican Order is also known for its community life. Dominicans live together in convents, sharing prayer, meals and work. This fraternal lifestyle is an essential element of their charism, embodying Christ’s command to love others as ourselves.
Another distinctive element of the Dominican Order is the balance between the active and contemplative life. Dominicans are called to live in deep union with God through prayer, but also to bring the light of the Gospel to the world through preaching and service.
The Order of Preachers offers a model of religious life that balances worship, instruction, community and mission, emphasising the importance of preaching and truth in the life of the Church. Their legacy continues to be a source of inspiration for Christians today.
Born at Calaruega in Spain in 1170, to Felix Guzman and Joanna of Asa, he was immediately consecrated to the Lord by his mother, who had already seen in a dream that her son was destined by the Lord to accomplish great things in the Church. As soon as he was able, pious Joan took care to instruct him in the Christian truths, and Dominic showed how great his intelligence and piety were even then.
At the age of fourteen he was sent to the University of Valencia, from where he graduated in…