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Saint Dominic – founder of the Order of Preachers
Stall backrest on the south side of the presbytery
Dominic Guzman was born in Spain, in Caleruega, around 1170. He came from a noble family living in Old Castile, and with the support of his priest uncle, he was educated at the famous school of Palencia. He distinguished himself for his love of the study of Scripture and his love for the poor. After his ordination to the priesthood, he was elected canon of the cathedral chapter in his home diocese of Osma. Together with the Bishop of Osma, he went to Northern Europe on diplomatic missions entrusted to them by the King of Castile. Missionary activity and the work of re-evangelizing Christian communities became the goals set by Dominic. Dominic Guzman was then joined by other men, and so gradually the Order of Preachers was born from the first foundation in Toulouse. Dominic, following the advice of the Popes of his time, Innocent III and Honorius III, adopted the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine, adapting it to the requirements of apostolic life. On December 22, 1216, Pope Honorius III issued a bull approving the new Order in the Church. On August 15, 1217, Dominic sent the first friars deep into Europe. The preachers moved from place to place but returned to their monasteries - places of study, prayer and community life. They were a mendicant order, without extensive worldly possessions. In this way, they were a concrete testimony for people. Dominic died in 1221 in Bologna, which declared him its patron saint. He was canonized in 1234. The Order of Preachers, with the support of the Holy See, reached many European countries. In his apostolic activities, Saint Dominic pointed to Marian devotion. His spiritual heirs contributed to the popularization of the rosary prayer. Moreover, he emphasized the value of intercessory prayer for the success of apostolic work. The most important features of the Dominican Order include living in community, celebrating the liturgy solemnly and together, private prayer, fulfilling vows, apostolic service and constant study of the truth.