Lives of the Saints

Our Models and Protectors

December 20
  

Saint Dominic of Silos

Abbot
(† 1073)

Saint Dominic of Silos
Saint Dominic of Silos

Saint Dominic, a Saint of the eleventh century, was given the surname of Silos because of his long sojourn in the monastery of that name. He was of the line of the ancient kings of Navarre. He undertook on his own to study his religion, having virtually no teacher but the Holy Spirit. Ordained a priest, he entered a monastery of the Order of Saint Benedict, where his sanctity soon placed him in the first ranks as its Abbot.

The monastery of Silos had greatly declined from its former glory and fervor. The monk Licinian, who was deploring this situation, was offering Holy Mass on the day when Dominic entered the church. By a special permission of God, when the priest turned towards the people at the Offertory to chant: Dominus vobiscum, he said instead: Behold, the restorer cometh! and the choir responded: It is the Lord who has sent him! The oracle was soon to be visibly fulfilled. The charity of the Saint was not concentrated only in his monastery, but was extended to all who suffered afflictions. His gift of miracles drew to the convent the blind, the sick, and the lame; and it was by the hundreds that he cured them, as is still evident today from the ex-votos of the chapel where his relics are conserved. The balls-and-chains, iron handcuffs and the like, which are seen suspended from the vault there, attest also to his special charity for the poor Christians held captive by the Spanish Moors. He often went to console them and pay their ransom, thus preluding the works of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, founded in 1218, 145 years after his death.

After many years of good works, Dominic felt the moment of the recompense approaching, and was advised of it by the Blessed Virgin. I spent the night near the Queen of Angels, he said one day to his religious. She has invited me to come in three days where She is; therefore I am soon going to the celestial banquet to which She invites me. In effect, he fell ill for three days, and then his brethren saw his soul rise in glory to heaven.

At his tomb Saint Joan of Aza, mother of Saint Dominic of Guzman, Founder of the Order which bears his name, later obtained the birth of her son, baptized under the name of his holy patron.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).