Summer Saints – Dominic

Saint Dominic was born around the year 1170, into a family so holy that not only did Dominic become a saint, but his mother and two of his brothers were beatified as well!  When Dominic went to college, everyone else at his university went to lots of parties, but Dominic was very devoted to his studies.  He became a priest, and while on a trip through France, Dominic saw how much damage had been done to people’s faith by heretics who told lies about the Church.  This gave Dominic the inspiration to start a religious order that would be dedicated to preaching and spreading the truth about the Gospel.

The pope sent Father Dominic to France, where he argued against a group of heretics called the Albigensians.  Dominic started a convent and school where people could send their children to be taught the true Faith.  He became friends with a knight named Simon de Montfort, and they travelled together while Simon fought battles to win back cities for the Church.  At first, Dominic was discouraged by his lack of success but Mary answered his prayers for help with a vision.  In it, she gave him a rosary and told him to teach the people how to pray it.  As he obeyed, everything changed, and thousands of people were converted to the true Catholic Faith!  More than once, Simon’s soldiers were able to defeat larger armies due to God’s answer to Dominic’s prayers for victory.

In 1215, Dominic was allowed to start his new community, which was called the Order of Preachers.  Dominic travelled throughout Europe setting up monasteries and preaching.  To this day, Dominicans are known for being well-educated and for their excellent preaching.  He worked tirelessly for the Church until he died in 1221, and when he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX only 13 years later, the pope said that he was as certain of Dominic’s sainthood as he was about that of Saints Peter and Paul.

The Rosary has been a very important prayer throughout the entire history of the Dominican Order.  Today would be a good day to pray a Rosary (or a decade) for all those who don’t understand the Catholic Faith.

You could spread your love of the Rosary by hosting a little theme party.

For an activity, the obvious choice is to pray all or part of a Rosary.  You could also make craft Rosaries using stickers, knots on a string, or pony beads, or color as you pray using the activity sheet in this packet.

For your party’s snack, you could arrange cookies or mini cupcakes in the shape of an entire Rosary (or just a decade for a smaller group).  Decorate your cross cookie and the Our Father cookies a little differently to make them stand out.

SAINT DOMINIC IN ART

It’s easy to spot Saint Dominic in a stained glass window, statue, or painting because of his white habit and black cape.  Quite often though, he’s shown with a variety of other distinguishing features:

  • a lighted torch to represent how he brought truth to a world which was darkened by heresy
  • a watchdog, also often with the lighted torch of truth in  its mouth.  According to tradition, while she was pregnant, Dominic’s mother dreamed she gave birth to a dog who would “burn the world.”   Some see this as a pun between the Latin word for a Dominican priest (Dominicanus) and the Latin words for “dog of the Lord” (domini canis).
  • a Rosary, reminding us that it was first through Dominic that we were given this prayer.
  • a book or a staff, representing how he was called to go into the world and preach
  • his distinctive haircut, called a tonsure.

 

St Dominic of Guzman by Claudio Coello

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