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Saint Dominic of Silos, Abbot
  December 20th  

    This Dominic was born at the begining of the eleventh century at Cañas in Navarre, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. His people were peasants, and for a time he followed their way of life, looking after his father's flocks among the foothills of the mountains. This work encouraged his taste for solitude and quietness, and he soon became a monk at the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla. He made great progress in his new state, was entrusted with works of reform, and became prior of his monastery. In this office he came into conflict with his sovereign, Garcia III of Navarre, because he refused to give up some possessions of the monastery which were claimed by the king. Garcia at length drove Dominic and two other monks away, and they were welcomed by Ferdinand I of Old Castile, who sent them to the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos, of which Dominic was appointed abbot. The monastery was in a remote and sterile part of the diocese of Burgos, and was in a state of extreme decay, both materially and spiritually. Under the government of St. Dominic this decay was arrested, then the house began to progress, and eventually he made it one of the most famous in Spain. Many miracles were recorded of Dominic in the course of his work, and it was said that there were no diseases known to man which had not been cured by his prayers. The Roman Martyrology refers to the belief that Christian slaves among the Moors, to the number of three hundred, were liberated when they called upon God in his name. Dominic died onDecember 20, 1073.

    St. Dominic of Silos is especially venerated in the order of Friars Preachers, because a century less four years after his death, he appeared, according to the tradition, to Bd. Joan of Aza who had made a pilgrimage from Calaroga to his shrine, and promised her that she should bear another son. That son was the founder of the Preachers, and he was named Dominic after the holy abbot of Silos. Until the revolution of 1931 ut was the custom for the abbot of Silos to bring the staff of St. Dominic to the royal palace whenever a queen of Spain was in labor and to leave it by her bedside until the birth had taken place.

There is a monk, Grimaldus, who purports to be a contemporary. This has been printed, with a few slight omissions, in Mabillon, vol. vi, pp. 299-320. A metrical life by Gonzalo de Berceo (edited by J.D. Fitzgerald in 1904), which was written about 1240, adds little to our historical knowledge but is perhaps the earliest verse composition in Castilian speech. Much interest has been taken in St. Dominic since the treasures of the library of Silos have become known: see, for example, M. Férotin, Histoire de l'Abbaye de Silos (1897); A. Andrés in the Boletin de la real Academia Española, vol. iv (1917), pp.172-194 and 445-458; L. Serrano, El Obispado de Burgos y Castilla primitiva (1935), vol. ii; and a short life by R. Alcocer (1925).

Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater