Dominique de Guzman, born around 1170 in Caleruega, Spain and founder of the Order of Friar Preachers (OP), was called to God on August 6, 1221.
To commemorate the 800 year anniversary of the dies natalis of St. Dominic, a jubilee year was opened on January 6, 2021 in the Basilica of St. Dominic in Bologna, which houses his mortal remains. The jubilee will end on January 6, 2022.
The jubilee program offers a pilgrimage, in ten stages, through the Apennines and the hills of central Italy. The route is inspired by St. Dominic’s last trip in 1221, which took him from Rome to Bologna, where he died on August 6, while presiding over the general chapter of the order.
The pilgrimage, from Rome to Bologna on the ancient Via Francigena, “follows in the footsteps left by St. Dominic on his last trip,” explains the Dominican website, and crosses Rieti, Viterbo, Bolsena, Bagno Vignoni, Montepulciano, Siena, Florence, Fiesole.
On the occasion of the clothing of two Dominicans, December 26, 1981 in Ecône, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in his sermon evoked the figure of the holy preacher: “St. Dominic, who had first started as a secular priest, and who had traveled through the diocese with his bishop, had retained from this clerical formation, this priestly formation, a very deep impression of his priesthood.”
“This is why, when in 1206 some of his companions gathered around him to go and preach the Gospel against the Albigensian heretics who had invaded all of Languedoc, St. Dominic would strive to build a society filled with apostolic zeal, and when he founded his first house in the St. Romain church in Toulouse, the spirit of his order would already be fixed in his mind and in the minds of his companions.”
“We are amazed to think that his first house was founded in 1215 and that, in 1221, he returned his soul to God. Now, in the space of six years, he had time both to preach his mission, to convert thousands and thousands of heretics, to bring them back to membership in the Catholic Church, and, at the same time, to convene a general chapter in Bologna, to have his order recognized by Innocent III and by Honorius III. His order would spread across Europe within a few years, and by the time he died he was already leaving a thriving congregation, a well-established Order.”
“This apostolic life, he wanted it to be the like the way in which Our Lord himself had described it and wanted it for his disciples. They will leave two by two, never alone, in order to support one another in the fervor of their preaching, shining with the poverty of their lives—for his order would also be what was called a mendicant order; that is, they would live on what people gave, what was offered to them—trusting in holy Providence and going on the roads to preach Jesus Christ.”
“They will go on to make immense conversions, not only in Europe, but, after the death of St. Dominic, in all the countries of the world, and in particular in South and Central America. The Dominicans were great missionaries.”
“We can summarize St. Dominic’s spirituality in two words that he himself used: the members of his order must be cum Deo et de Deo (with God and of God). A small simple formula, as used by his faithful disciple St. Thomas Aquinas, also a member of his order.
“Cum Deo et de Deo!” Deo, because they want to be wholly of God; cum Deo, because they want to be united with God, united in God; precisely by this prayer, by contemplation, they must be united to him in a permanent, continual, fervent manner; they will have to burn with the love of God, in order to be able to convert souls, in order to communicate God to souls. This is the ideal that St. Dominic had for his apostles, for his disciples.”
In the history of the Church, four Dominicans have become pope: Blessed Innocent V (1225-1276), Blessed Benedict XI (1240-1304), St. Pius V (1504-1572), and Servant of God, Benedict XIII (1649-1730).