St. Dominic of Silos
Lover of Solitude and Prayer
St. Dominic of Silos was born around the year 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain into a peasant family. As a young boy, he spent much of his time in the fields as a shepherd. This led him to love solitude, silence and prayer. Later on, he entered the monastery of the Benedictines in Navarre where he grew in holiness and stature. Years later, he was ordained to the priesthood.
A New Mission
As a priest, Dominic held various leadership positions. He was eventually elected abbot of the Order. However, he and the King of Navarre had a terrible dispute over the Order’s property. Dominic refused to hand over the monastery lands at the king’s demands. As a consequence, he and his two fellow monks were forced to leave the house. They fled to Old Castile and were welcomed by the king there.
In what at first seemed an unpromising location, Dominic and his companions entered the monastery of San Sebastian in Silos. The monastery was an almost dilapidated abbey, with a weak physical and spiritual administration. It only had six monks and was in terrible shape. Within a brief period of time, Dominic was elected abbot of the monastery. He renewed the spirit of the monastery. He rebuilt its structure, managed its finances and augmented its works of charity. Under Dominic’s leadership, it became one of the most famous houses in Spain.
Another Saint Named After Him
Dominic died in 1073 in Silos, Spain. He was known for miracles of healing. It was said that there was not an illness that could not be cured through his intercession. About 100 years after Dominic’s death, a young woman made a pilgrimage to his tomb. There, St. Dominic of Silos appeared to her and assured her that she would bear another son. The woman was Joan of Aza, and the son she bore grew up to be the “other” Dominic, Dominic de Guzman, the one who founded the Order of Preachers or the Dominicans. St. Dominic of Silos’ feast day is December 20.
Five Interesting Facts About St. Dominic of Silos
- St. Dominic of Silos is patron saint of prisoners, pregnant women and shepherds.
- St. Dominic of Silos was known for miracles of healing which he obtained through prayer. He was also known for his work of ransoming a group of 300 Christian prisoners from the Moors.
- The staff used by St. Dominic of Silos was used to bless queens of Spain. It was also brought to the royal palace whenever a queen of Spain was in labor. This practice ended in 1931.
- Today, the monastery rebuilt by St. Dominic of Silos is an abbey of the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes, housing a library of ancient and rare manuscripts. One of whose products was the magnificent Apocalypse, now found in the British Library.
- St. Dominic of Silos preserved the Mozarbic Rite, one of the variants of the Latin Rite, at his monastery. The monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarbic liturgy.
Prayer to St. Dominic of Silos
Heavenly Father, let me turn to You in good times and in bad.Grant that I may always remain in loving union with Youno matter what adversity or goodness should befall me.As St. Dominic de Silos lived his life,when he was exiled, he found another way to give You honourand through this adversity, You filled his work with miracles.So, too, may it be in my life. Amen.