Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos marketing copywriter.
We’re well on our way into the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, during which Catholics turn our eyes from ourselves to the poor in service. It’s no coincidence that August has feasts and celebrations both for Mary and for those saints who have given their lives to easing poverty. Marian devotion has been at the heart of the Catholic Church’s ministry and her monasteries, religious orders, and charities. Historically tied to these Marian devotions is the mysterious appearance of Our Lady of the Rosary to St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers.
Dominic de Guzman was born to a middle-class family in Castile, Spain, in 1171. In his early twenties, he received his clerical education, joined the canonry of Osma in 1191, and became a priest at the cathedral of Osma in 1199. During a severe famine in Spain, Dominic is said to have sold his furniture, his books, and even his clothes in order to feed the poor. He was known as a preacher and evangelist, continuing to preach truth to heretical movements in southern France and persisting even when heretics failed to repent.
It is said that in 1214, an apparition of Mary appeared to Dominic, meeting him in a church in Prouille and giving him the rosary—the first appearance of the Marian Rosary in the history of the Catholic Church. A century later, Alanus de Rupe, a Dominican priest following in Dominic’s footsteps, would expand and define the rosary even further. The Dominican Order, which Dominic founded less than a year after Mary appeared to him, is known for spreading the rosary throughout the Catholic Church, taking vows of poverty and chastity, and combatting heresy through the pursuit of theology and education. The Order was approved by Pope Innocent III in 1217, who named it “The Order of Preachers.” Dominic’s preachers would commit themselves to lives of begging, sharing in the struggles and livelihood of the poor and owning nothing but the churches or abbeys where they lived and worked.
St. Dominic died on this day of August in 1221, only 50 years old. The Dominican Order, even today, remains in poverty, prays daily, and pursues theology and wisdom.
You don’t have to be a Dominican friar to learn from the life of St. Dominic. Spend some time today in prayer, study your Bible, and remember that Christ spent most of his time with the destitute and the broken-hearted. Don’t avert your eyes away from the impoverished. May your heart be like that of Christ, the Light of the World.