Thursday, December 20, 2012

St. Dominic of Silos

The saint of the day for December 20 is St. Dominic of Silos, a Benedictine abbot born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain, a shepherding town in the Pyrenees.

As a shepherd boy, Dominic enjoyed looking after his father's flocks as well as the solitude of the fields. He entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre, where he became prior. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery’s property and possessions to the King of Navarre, he and two other monks were exiled to Castille. There the king of Castille appointed him to be the abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.

The monastery was in terrible shape physically, financially, and spiritually. Dominic rebuilt the dilapidated building, and restored its finances. He also renewed the spirit of the monastery, increasing its works of charity. Dominic died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.

About 100 years after his death, a young woman made a pilgrimage to his tomb and prayed that she would conceive a child. There St. Dominic of Silos appeared to her and reassured her that she would bear another son. The woman was Blessed Joan de Aza de Guzmán, and the son she bore grew up to be St. Dominic de Guzmán (whom she named after St. Dominic of Silos), the founder of the Dominican order.

Patron: pregnant women, prisoners, captives, shepherds; against insects, rabies, hydrophobia, and mad dogs.

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