Born: 1170 at Calarugea, Burgos, Old Castile, Spain
Died: 4th August 1221 at Bologna, Italy
Feast Day: 8th August
Dominic de Guzman was born of wealthy Spanish nobility. He was the son of Blessed Joan of Aza. When she was pregnant, his mother had a vision that her unborn child was a dog who would set the world on fire with a torch carried in his mouth. His parents named him Dominic a play on the words Domini canis, meaning the Lord's dog in Latin. The symbol of a dog with a torch in its mouth became the symbol for the order that Dominic founded, The Dominicans.
At Dominic’s Baptism, Blessed Joan saw a star shining from his chest. The star became another of his symbols in Art and led to Dominic’s patronage in Astronomy.
Dominic founded The Order of Friars (Dominicans) in 1215, a group that lived a simple, austere life and an order of nuns dedicated to the care of young girls. At one point, Dominic became discouraged at the progress of his mission: no matter how much he worked, the heresies remained. Then he received a vision from Our Lady who showed him a wreath of roses representing the Rosary. She told him to say The Rosary daily, teach it to all who would listen and eventually the true faith would win out.
St Dominic founded a house for religious women before the formal existence of any other parts of the order and the nuns have remained under the direct jurisdiction of the master of the order even since. The vocation of the nuns places them at the heart of the order.