St. Dominic, Dogs and the Rosary
Dominic, dogs and decades of the rosary go together in the most amazing way!
Thanks to my dear friend Greta, who knows "all things dominican," she was the source of this wonderful blog post on the rosary.
In 1170, Dominic de Guzman was born to Don Felix de Guzman and Dona Juana de Aza in Spain. Despite the fact that his three older siblings were already grown and left the home, Dominic’s mother had a strong desire for another child. She made pilgrimages to the local shrine of the Benedictine monk, St Dominic Sylos, who had died a century before. Through the intercession of the saint, Dona Juana became pregnant with Dominic. During her pregnancy, she had a very vivid dream, a dream that would be passed down through the centuries among the Dominicans. She dreamed of a black and white dog carrying a torch in its mouth! The interpretation of the dream was revealed to her in that the dog represented her unborn child, and the torch, which lit up the whole world, was the torch of truth.
In fact, Dominic who was a pious young man, showed academic promise and was sent to study for the priesthood. He became a good and holy priest but was not meant to stay in his local parish. While on a royal mission on behalf of the King, Dominic passed through Southern France which, he was to discover, was highly influenced by a heresy known as the Albigensian heresy. Stopping at an inn one night, Dominic and his fellow priest were treated rudely by the Albigensian innkeeper because of their clerical dress. Through patient listening and respectful dialogue, Dominic engaged in an all night conversation at a pub with the man who, by dawn, came back to the Faith and knelt for the sacrament of confession. St Dominic had taken the Gospel out of the church and into the world- the beginning of his shining the torch of truth!
Many young men were attracted to St Dominic’s courageous attitude, and those who followed him became know as Dominicans and used a play on words Domini (Lord) Canes (dogs) to be called the “hounds of the Lord”. They were said to have been “barking the Gospel all over Europe.” And the habit they wore? It was black and white…just like the torch-bearing dog.
One of the spiritual tools that St Dominic used to defeat the Albigensian heresy was the rosary. It is said that Our Lady gave the rosary to St Dominic in a mystical way, and many refer to the rosary as “a weapon.” Our Lady of Fatima told us to pray the rosary every day for peace and for the conversion of sinners. So from the Hounds of the Lord we receive a strong tradition of the rosary.
As you take your dog for a walk with the St Dominic collar and a rosary walk leash, know that you are combating evil with every decade and spreading the torch of truth. God bless you and your dog!