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Saint Dominic

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Saint Dominic

A depiction of Saint Dominic from the Side Panel of the Perugia Altarpiece by Fra Angelico.

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This profile of Saint Dominic is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Saint Dominic was also known as:

Santo Domingo de Guzmán

Saint Dominic was known for:

founding the Order of Friars Preachers. Saint Dominic traveled extensively himself, preaching, both before and after the Dominican order was founded. Following Dominic's ideals, the Dominicans placed an emphasis on scholarship as well as evangelism.

Occupations:

Places of Residence and Influence:

Important Dates:

Born: c. 1170
Order formally sanctioned: Dec. 22, 1216
Died: Aug. 6, 1221

About Saint Dominic:

Born in Castile, Domingo de Guzmán studied at Palencia before joining the canons regular of Osma in about 1196. He became subprior only a few years later, and in 1203 he accompanied the bishop, Diego, on a royal mission through France. The trip exposed Dominic to the problems the Church faced with the Albigensian heretics, whose caste of the "perfect" led lives of extreme austerity, to the point of starvation and suicide, and who regarded ordinary people as reprobates.

Several years later, on another trip with the bishop, Dominic once again traveled to France. There, preachers who had been failing in their mission to reform the Albigensians discussed their dilemma with Dominic and Diego. Dominic reasoned that Albigensians would only turn back to Catholicism if Catholic preachers led lives of austerity that rivaled their own, traveling the roads barefoot in obvious poverty. This was the seed of Dominic's "evangelical preaching."

In 1208, the murder of papal legate Peter de Castelnau triggered a "crusade" called by Pope Innocent III against the Albigensians. Dominic's work continued throughout the time of this crusade and grew slowly. After the Catholic forces had entered Tolouse, Dominic and his friends were welcomed by bishop Foulques and established as "diocesan preachers." From this point on, Saint Dominic's design for an order devoted to preaching grew quickly.

The Augustinian rule was adopted for Dominic's order, which received formal sanction in December of 1216. He established two principal houses near the universities of Paris and Bologna, determining that each house should form a school of theology. In 1218 Saint Dominic began a great tour of well over 3,000 miles, entirely on foot, which included Rome, Tolouse, Spain, Paris and Milan.

General chapters of the Dominican order were held at Bologna. At the first, in 1220, a system of representative government for the order was devised; at the second, in 1221, the order was divided into provinces.

Tradition in both the Franciscan and the Dominican orders has it that St. Dominic met and became good friends with St. Francis of Assisi. The men may have met in Rome, possibly as early as 1215.

In 1221, after a visit to Vencie, Saint Dominic died at Bologna.

More Saint Dominic Resources:

Portrait of Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic on the Web

Saint Dominic in Print

The links below will take you to a site where you can compare prices at booksellers across the web. More in-depth info about the book may be found by clicking on to the book's page at one of the online merchants.
Saint Dominic: The Grace of the Word
by Guy Bedouelle

In the Image of St. Dominic: Nine Portraits of Dominican Life
by Guy Bedouelle

St. Dominic
(Cross and Crown Series of Spirituality)
by Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy

Is there a book about Saint Dominic that you'd like to recommend? Please contact me with the details.

Hagiography
Monasticism
Medieval Iberia

Guide Note: This Who's Who Profile of Saint Dominic was originally posted in July of 2000, and was updated in January of 2012. Content is copyright ©2000-2012 Melissa Snell.


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