Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Dominic

detail of a painting of Saint Dominic de Guzman by Fra Angelico, 1437; Perugia Altarpiece; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Dominic was born in Spain, a.d. 1170. Sympathy for the suffering and a spirit of self-sacrifice marked his earliest years. As a student he sold his books to feed the poor in a famine, and offered himself in ransom for a slave. At the age of twenty-five he became superior of the Canons Regular of Osma, and accompanied his bishop to France. There his heart was well-nigh broken by the ravages of the Albigensian heresy, and his life was henceforth devoted to the conversion of heretics and the defence of the Faith. For this end he established his three-fold religious Order. The convent for nuns was founded first, to rescue young girls from heresy and crime. Then a company of apostolic men gathered around him, and became the Order of Friar Preachers. Lastly came the Tertiaries, persons of both sexes, living in the world. God blessed the new Order, and France, Italy, Spain, and England welcomed the Preaching Friars. Our Lady took them under her special protection, whispered to Saint Dominic as he preached, and revealed to him the devotion of the Rosary, his most powerful weapon with souls. His nights were spent in prayer; and though pure as a virgin, thrice before morning broke he scourged himself to blood. His words rescued countless souls, and three times raised the dead to life. At length, on 6 August 1221, at the age of fifty-one, he gave up his soul to God.

“God has never,” said Saint Dominic, “refused me what I have asked.” And he has left us the Rosary that we may learn, with Mary’s help, to pray easily and simply in the same holy trust.

Preach my Rosary. It alone will suffice to destroy heresy and nourish virtue. It alone will propitiate the Divine mercy, and will be a great and singular safeguard to the Church of God. – Revelation to Saint Dominic

It was in 1208, while Saint Dominic knelt in the little chapel of Notre Dame de la Prouille, and implored the great Mother of God to save the Church, that our Lady appeared to him, gave him the Rosary, and bade him go forth and preach. Beads in hand, he revived the courage of the Catholic troops, led them to victory against overwhelming numbers, and finally crushed the heresy. Twice since the Saint went to heaven has the Church’s cause been saved through the Rosary he taught, once by the victory of Lepanto in 1571 in honour of which the festival of Rosary Sunday was established by Saint Pius V, and again in 1717 when the Turks were defeated at Belgrade and Clement XI hung the standards of the infidels as trophies of Mary’s power in the Church of the Rosary at Rome.

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. – Luke 1:28

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Dominic”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 March 2015. Web. 23 November 2017. <>