Life of St. Dominic de Guzman

Dominic de Guzman was born in Caleruega (Spain) in 1170. His parents are Felix de Guzman and Juana de Aza. At the age of 14, he studied in the University of Palencia, particularly in the field of theology.

In 1191, he became a canon in the Chapter of Osma where he stayed for about 10 years, and greatly influenced his consequent shaping of the Order of Preachers which is balancing of eternal preaching and internal contemplation: share the fruits of what we contemplated.

In 1204, it was first time for him to leaved Spain, accompanying his bishop, Diego de Acebes, to arrange the marriage of the Prince Ferdinand, and it is also his first time to contact the heresy (Albigenses) in Southern France.

From 1205 to 1215, Dominic remained in Southern France preaching against the heresy with Diego de Acedes, his bishop, but the fruits were not evident. Therefore, the idea of forming an Order was formulating in the Saint’s mind. In 1215, Dominic went to Rome to present to Pope Innocent III, his foundational project for approval. According to the Saint’s experience that defending the truth is a challenging task that requires a collective and lasting force, thus a way of community life is indispensable to serve needs of the Church.

On December 22, 1216, Pope Honorius III confirmed the Order’s existence, thus the New Order was born to defend the truth and combat the heresy. He was the first Master of the Order which all the brothers recommended, and sending primordial group of friars to study in various universities which is vital to seek and defend the truth.

Besides having an appreciation for theology and a passion for preaching, Dominic possessed a genius for organization. He did not author any books, but he did leave a great legacy to his brothers, a basic constitution that has served well for eight hundred years. Because of its clarity and flexibility, the Dominicans have endured the struggles and trials throughout the past 8 centuries. 

A sense of mission compelled him to disperse his brothers to study the truth; a sense of compassion made him, even to sell his most precious books to the poor; a sense of tenderness let him always be ready to take care of the needs of the brothers. Dominic was a man who matured in human values, and always desired for the salvation of all humanity. Let us heed the murmuring sound of the Spirit, and share the vision and mission of St. Dominic in today’s world.

He died in 1221, and was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1234.

Dominic was truly a man of God and of the Church. His zeal to preach the risen Lord burnt within his heart as he always carried either the Gospel of Matthew or the Letters of Paul with him. His vision to form a group of preachers was enlightened by the primitive apostolic communities whose task was to preach the Gospel to the world. Therefore, enthusiasm to preach the Good News serves a basic criteria of discerning one’s calling to be a Dominican.

A Prayer to St. Dominic

I. O glorious Saint Dominic, thou who wast a model of mortification and purity, by punishing thy innocent body with scourges, with fastings, and with watchings, and by keeping inviolate the lily of thy virginity, obtain for us the grace to practice penance with a generous heart and to keep unspotted the purity of our bodies and our hearts.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

II. O great Saint, who, inflamed with divine love, didst find thy delight in prayer and intimate union with God; obtain for us to be faithful in our daily prayers, to love Our Lord ardently, and to observe His commandments with ever-increasing fidelity.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

III. O glorious Saint Dominic, who, being filled with zeal for the salvation of souls, didst preach the Gospel in season and out of season and didst establish the Order of Friars Preachers to labor for the conversion of heretics and poor sinners, pray thou to God for us, that He may grant us to love all our brethren sincerely and to cooperate always, by our prayers and good works, in their sanctification and eternal salvation.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

V. Pray for us, Saint Dominic,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Let us pray.

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who are weighed down by the burden of our sins may be raised up by the patronage of blessed Dominic Thy Confessor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Written By: Rev. Fr. Gregory Zhang Wen, OP