From his earliest years Dominic was much given to prayer, and he was especially devout to our blessed Lady, whom he chose for his Mother and Patroness. He successfully completed his studies at the University of Palenza and, on being raised to the priesthood, devoted himself with great zeal to the salvation of souls.
When his fervor and the purity of his faith became known, he was invited to preach against the Albigenses, a sect of heretics who at that time were infesting the district of Toulouse. He willingly accepted this task, but at first did not see his labors blessed with abundant fruits. He then begged our blessed Lady to inspire him with a more effective way of fulfilling his difficult office. This glorious Virgin appeared to him and told him how easily he could combat the heretics, if he would practice the recital of the Angelical Salutation in the form of the Rosary, according to the method which she herself explained to him. St. Dominic at once began to propagate this great devotion and soon gained a great victory over this heresy.
He was most devout to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. He transcribed the teaching concerning this truth in a book, which was thrice submitted to the trial of fire in the presence of heretics and each time the book remained unharmed in the midst of the flames. He was indefatigable in this crusade and was continually preaching the word of God and bringing sinners to repentance. He obtained most abundant fruits by the propagation of the devotion of the holy Rosary, which, was most dear to him.
From Toulouse, the practice of reciting the holy Rosary spread to other regions, producing everywhere the best results. It was approved and richly indulgenced by several Roman Pontiffs. Dominic, in his ardent zeal for God’s glory, founded the Order of Friars Preachers, whose end it was to combat heresy and defend the truths of our holy religion with the help of Our Lady. He died peacefully on the sixth of August, 1221.
Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).