December 18, 2010

Saint Dominic of Silos

Saint Dominic of Silos (Santo Domingo de Silos) (1000 – December 20, 1073) was a Spanish saint, to whom the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos is dedicated.

Born in CaΓ±as, La Rioja, to a family of peasants, he worked as a shepherd before becoming a Benedictine monk at the monastery of San MillΓ‘n de Cogolla. There, he became novice master and then prior before being driven out with two of his fellow monks by the King of Navarre, who wished to annex the monastery's lands.

Under the protection of Ferdinand I of LeΓ³n, they found refuge at the monastery later named after him. There, Dominic rebuilt the monastery, both spiritually and physically, and turned it into a center of book design, gold and silver work, scholarship, and charity. The monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarabic liturgy, and also preserved the Visigothic script of ancient Spain.

Wealthy patrons endowed the monastery, and Dominic raised funds to ransom Christians taken prisoner by the Moors. He died of natural causes in 1073.

Dominic's relics were translated to the monastery church at Silos on January 5, 1076. Churches and monasteries were dedicated to him as early as 1085. His special patronage was connected with pregnancy, and before 1931, his abbatial staff was used to bless Spanish queens and kept by their beds when they were in labor.

The mother of Saint Dominic of GuzmΓ‘n is said to have prayed at the shrine of Dominic of Silos before she conceived the child that would subsequently found the Dominican Order.

Gonzalo de Berceo wrote an account of his life called the Vida de Santo Domingo de Silos.

Thought for the Day: St. Dominic of Silos came to know God in the solitude of a shepherd boy. It was this love of solitude that drew him into monastic life where he could be alone with his God. Most of us are so busy we scarcely have time for Sunday Mass. We should cultivate a little solitude, too.

Taken from "The One Year Book of Saints" by Rev. Clifford Stevens published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, IN 46750.

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