Great Saint Dominic,
you laboured for the
salvation of others by
preaching the Word of God
in dangerous times
even among the heretics.
Inspire me to be like you.
Let me be strong in my faith.
Help me to provide for the needs
of the children of this world.
Lead me to spend my days
as a reflection of Christ’s love
throughout my life.
Give me the right words
to always speak the truth
with a zeal for saving souls.
Memorial: 8 August
1170 at Calaruega, Burgos, Old Castile
4 August 1221 at Bologna Canonized
13 July 1234 by Pope Gregory IX at Rieti, Italy
Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomy and science, a reflection of his lifelong love of learning and teaching. He was a well educated man who believed that a strong intellectual base would allow a man to preach more convincingly, and therefore convert more people to the faith.
To that end, he established the Dominican Order, and chose the motto “to praise, to bless, to preach”. A central tenet of the Order was to incorporate intellectual pursuits with the needs of everyday people. Where heretics were normally punished or terrorized for not believing (this was around the time of the Inquisition), St. Dominic believed that by preaching from an intelligent base, one could peacefully convert people to the faith.
When Dominic was baptized as a baby, his mother reportedly saw a star shining from his chest. In portraits he is often depicted with a star shining on or above his head. And although there is no evidence that St. Dominic ever studied astronomy himself, this aspect of scientific learning was well known when St. Dominic attended university, and it’s certainly possible that he was exposed to the mysteries of the heavens.
St. Dominic is also the patron saint of falsely accused people. There are stories of Dominic himself being falsely accused as a boy, mostly as a result of boyish pranks played by schoolmates. This may be one reason why he is so closely associated with this group.
St. Dominic is the patron saint of the Dominican Republic as well. Much of St. Dominic’s life was spent in Spain, his homeland, and the Dominican Republic was originally a Spanish colony. Choosing St. Dominic as the patron saint was a natural for a country where he had done so much good work.