The Basilica of San Domenico

Saint Dominic of Osma

Saint Dominic of Osma spearheaded one of the most efficient reactions to the Church’s ongoing crisis of his days. In facing the propagation of the heretical pauperistic movements, he strived to rekindle Catholic Faith by setting an example through his life, which was virtuous, brotherly, humble, and poor and through effective sermons.

Born in 1170 in Spain, in Caleruega, at 24 years of age he responded to the Lord’s Call by joining the Canons Regular in the canon of Osma, where he was ordinated to priesthood. The turning point in his life took place when his superior, the Bishop of Osma, was assigned a diplomatic mission in Denmark and asked Dominic to accompany him. During the long journey they crossed southern France and that is where Dominic came upon the Cathar and Albigensian heretical movements for the first time, realizing the great dangers that were threatening the Church in that period. That was when he began to think about the future of the Order of Preachers, to draw back to Catholic Faith those who had lost their way.
In 1215  he went to Rome to submit his project to Pope Innocent III and, the following year, Pope Honorius III officially approved the Order. From that moment Dominic sent his Friars all over Europe, mainly to Paris and Bologna, the key universities of that time, since as they had to confute the heretical doctrines, the friars needed to have a solid cultural background.
Between 1220 and 1221 Dominic held the first two General Chapters of the order in Bologna to compile the Rule and to identify the main features of the Order: preaching, studying, poverty, communal life, geographical distribution, and missionary expeditions. The Rule completely mirrored the clearness of thought, the rectitude and the apostolic zeal which characterise Saint Dominic’s spiritual physiognomy.
Worn out by his exertions, Dominic died in Bologna on August 6th 1221, comforted by the affection and prayers of his friars. To them he left his spiritual legacy: “ to have charity, to guard their humility, to make their treasure out of poverty”.
He was proclaimed saint on July 3rd 1234 by Gregory IX and his rich personality has continued to refract in the flowering of saints who, throughout the centuries, have embraced his ideals, looking at him as a real Man of God.