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July 17, 2022: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner

This coming year, we will celebrate the sesquicentennial of St. Dominic’s Parish.  In light of this coming celebration, over the course of the next month, I want to highlight the life story of our founder St. Dominic.  Even though he is our patron, I am often surprised how little known and studied the life of St. Dominic is when compared to Saints like Francis and even other Dominicans such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine. So, I hope this series on the life of St. Dominic’s is both an introduction to his life and an encouragement to further inquiry! 

Story of St Dominic: The Beginnings (Part I)

St. Dominic de Guzmán was born around 1171 in a village named Caleruega in the region of Castile in Spain.  Dominic’s father, Felix, was very likely from the noble family of Guzmán and he was respected for his fairness and judicious rule as a magistrate.  Dominic’s mother, Jane, was most likely from a noble family as well, the family of Aza.  She was considered “virtuous, chaste, prudent, full of compassion for those who were unfortunate and in distress and was outstanding among all the women in the neighborhood for the excellence of her reputation.” Because of the holiness of her life, she was beatified in 1828 by Pope Leo XII.         

Dominic had at least two siblings. One was named Antonio. He was said to have been a priest at a hospice who devoted himself unreservedly to works of mercy in the service of the poor. Apparently, miracles made him famous both before and after his death. His other sibling, Mannes followed Dominic at least from the founding of the Order and perhaps much earlier. He was still alive when St. Dominic was canonized. He too lived a holy life and was beatified in 1833 by Gregory XVI.

When Jane was pregnant with Dominic, she had a dream that a dog with a burning torch in its mouth would come forth from her womb and set the world on fire.  Somewhat distressed by this dream, she sought the council of her spiritual director, who advised her not be afraid, but instead to rejoice because her child would dedicate his life to lighting the world aflame with God’s love.  Because of this dream, a dog bearing a burning torch is a symbol of St. Dominic and Dominican Order.  In fact, in Latin the word for dog is “canes”, so “Domini-canes” might be translated “Dogs of our Lord.”  This is a powerful image for us who would respond passionately to Christ’s impossible mission of discipleship.  Let all that we do and say give witness to the light of God’s love.  May our heart be aflame with the divine fire of love!

~Fr. Michael


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