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Saint Dominic

Dominic, Saint (dŏmˈənĭk) [key], 1170?–1221, Castilian churchman, named Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Dominicans. He studied at Palencia and became a canon, then prior of canons, of the cathedral of Osma. He and his bishop went (c.1203) to Rome seeking permission to evangelize the Tatars; instead, Pope Innocent III sent them to S France to preach to the Albigenses. Adopting absolute poverty, they wandered about Languedoc preaching and were the first Catholic missionaries to have success there. St. Dominic started a community for women converts at Prouille in 1206. In 1216 he was given a house and church at Toulouse for his band of preachers, now numbering 16. The same year he went to Rome and received from Pope Honorius III approval of his plans for the new order. The order, with its novel vocation to study and preaching, grew phenomenally. An ancient tradition, often pictured, tells how the saint received the rosary from the Virgin Mary in a vision. It is also told that St. Dominic and St. Francis met and became friends in Rome, establishing a close tie between Franciscans and Dominicans that has continued to the present. Feast: Aug. 4.

See B. Jarrett, Life of St. Dominic (1934, repr. 1964); P. F. Mandonnet, St. Dominic and His Work (tr. 1944); F. C. Lehner, ed., Saint Dominic: Biographical Documents (1964); M. H. Vicaire, Saint Dominic and His Times (1964).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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