Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. He was a member of the Guzman family and his mother is Blessed Joan of Aza. When Dominic was seven, he began to go to school. His uncle, a priest, directed his education. After years of study, he became a priest too. Dominic lived a quiet life of prayer and obedience with other virtuous priests. But God had amazing plans for Dominic. He was meant to begin a new religious order. It would be called the Order of Preachers or "Dominicans," after St. Dominic.
The Dominicans preached the faith. They helped correct false teachings called heresies. It all began when Dominic was on a trip through southern France. He realized that the heresy of Albigensianism was doing great harm. St. Dominic felt such pity for the people who had joined it. He wanted to help them. The Dominicans conquered that dangerous heresy with prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. Dominic also encouraged the people to be humble and to make sacrifices. Once someone asked St. Dominic what book he used to prepare his wonderful sermons. "The only book I use is the book of love," he said. He always prayed to be filled with true love of neighbor. He urged the Dominicans to be devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. No one did more than St. Dominic and his preachers to spread the beautiful practice of saying the Rosary.
St. Dominic was a brilliant preacher, while St. Francis of Assisi was a humble beggar. Yet, they were close friends. Their two orders of Dominicans and Franciscans helped Christians become holier. Dominic's friars opened centers in Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Rome and Bologna, Italy. He lived to see his order spread to Poland, Scandinavia and Palestine. The friars also went to Canterbury, London, and Oxford, England. Dominic died in Bologna on August 7, 1221. His great friend, Cardinal Ugolino of Venice became Pope Gregory IX. He proclaimed Dominic a saint in 1234.
St. Dominic was once asked what book he used for his sermons. He answered, "The only book I use is the book of love." The gospel of Jesus teaches us the book of love.