Life of St.Dominic
St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, Spain, in about 1170. The character of St. Dominic was shaped by his neighborhood, his parents - Felix de Guzman and Jane of Aza - his brothers and his godmother. All of them were considered of noble birth. He learned Latin from one of his uncles who was a priest. He studied the liberal arts and Theology at Palencia. It is said that while he was studying, a severe famine broke out in Palencia; so he sold his precious books and founded a hospice for the poor. As a result, he gained entry to the Cathedral chapter of Osma. At Osma, his chief obligations were the Liturgical praise of God and contemplation.
In 1203-1206, Dominic went twice with his Bishop Diego of Azebes to northern Dendmark. In the course of these two journeys, Dominic met the Albigensian heresy and the pagan nomadic tribe of the Cumans. Moved by compassion for these people, Diego and Dominic decided to go as missionaries to the Cuman people, if the Pope gave his permission. But pope Innocent III denied permission because he had already entrusted this mission to Cistercian monks. In 1206, Diego and Dominic met three discouraged Cistercians and this meeting determined Dominic's way of life and was eventually the source of the establishing of his Order.
In 1206-1207, Diego and Dominic established a monastery of nuns at Prouille. On the 30th of December, 1207, Bishop Diego died in Osma. So Dominic ought to go to Osma to look after the chapter since he was the sub-prior of it. But he didn't go because he wanted to enter into conversation with the heretics so much that he looked for the chance wandering among the heretics in Languedoc. For more than 8 years during his stay in Languedoc, he grew in knowledge of God and of God's will and he found out that to overcome the heretics, he would need a new community.
While he was in Languedoc, Dominic called himself "the humble servant of the preaching." There, a small band of co-workers joined him without any firm commitment to him. In April, 1215, a few men started to make profession in Dominic's hands in Toulouse. Bishop Fulk of Toulouse granted his approval of the foundation. The main focus of this new Order was "concern for the faith." It was an Order of priests whose members practiced 'the imitation of the apostles' in their way of life.
In the late summer of 1215, Dominic accompanied Bishop Fulk to the Fourth Lateran Council in Rome and to request confirmation of the Order under the name of 'Order of Preachers'. Actually, papal Confirmation was not required because the Bishops possessed the authority to found and admit new Orders in their dioceses. Dominic wanted the papal Confirmation to make the Order stronger, universal and less dependent on the diocesan bishop.
At that time, Canon Law recognized basically only three kinds of religious: Hermits, Monks and Canons. St. Dominic's Order was none of them. The Pope advised him to choose an established Rule already recognized within the Church, so that he could comply with his request. On the other hand, it meant that Dominic would have to found a new Order without a Rule of his own. In the spring of 1216, Dominic and his brethren chose the Rule of St. Augustine, not so much for what it contained but rather for what it did not contain, by virtue of its universality. This enabled them to add to the Rule the goal of their Order and the new means for attaining their goal, without contradicting the Rule. In 1216, December 22, Pope Honorius III confirmed Dominic and the group as 'religious living under the Rule of St. Augustine' and on the 21 of 1217 the Pope Honorius III confirmed `preaching' as the goal of Dominic's Order and gave them the name "Preachers".
On the 18th, January of 1217, the feast day of the 'Chair of St. Peter', St. Dominic saw a vision. In the vision, he saw 2 princes of the apostles giving him the mission, 'Go and Preach' and he saw his fellow brothers going into the whole world two by two, preaching the word of God. As a result, in August 1217, he sent out the few friars he had, even though there were a lot of objections against his resolve. At the same time, he tried to break loose from the Augustinian branch of religious life. His chief concern was to receive recognition from the Pope for the universality of his Order and for its special charism, which is "Worldwide preaching springing from an apostolic way of life."
The first and second General Chapters of the Order were held in Bologna in May 1220 and 1221 respectively. After the Second Chapter, Dominic continued his strenuous mission in northern Italy. Finally, ill and exhausted, he came back to Bologna and died on the 6th of August, 1221. He didn't have a cell of his own or a second habit until he died. Pope Gregory IX canonized him at Rieti on the 3rd of July, 1234.