St. Dominic and the Rosary

In the 15thcentury, two outstanding figures stood out prominently. One was St. Francis from Italy; the other was St. Dominic from Spain. Both founded what we now call the Mendicant Orders and their followers were referred to as “mendicant friars.” Mendicant because they begged to survived. They depended on charity for livelihood since, unlike the old monastic order, they did not work inside the monasteries. They tried to imitate Jesus’ lifestyle fulfilling a need to reinvigorate the life of the Church.
Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Dominic de Guzman. He was a Spanish priest from Caleruega. Realizing he had a gift for preaching, he went on mission-travels to combat heresy. Wrong teachings were rampant in those days because of the ignorance of the people. He founded the Order of Preachers, who later will establish a rich intellectual tradition, to focus on study and preaching. Among their ranks will come brilliant teachers like St. Albert the Great and the immensely influential philosopher and theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Dominic inspired his followers to be both learned and virtuous. He started a “mixed spirituality” – men who were active in the preaching ministry but contemplative in study and prayer. They were the original “contemplatives in action.”
Among his great contribution was the Holy Rosary. He introduced it on the feast of the Assumption of 1217. Today it has become a notable feature of popular Catholic spirituality. In the words of Pope John Paul II, the rosary is “among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation.” Big thanks to St. Dominic!
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