Saint of the Day – 20 December – St Dominic de Silos O.S.B. (c1000-1073)- Patron of pregnant women, against rabies, against rabid dogs, against insects, captives, prisoners; shepherds.
St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, was named after this Benedictine abbot, who lived a century before him. According to Dominican tradition, St. Dominic of Silos appeared to Blessed Joan of Aza (the mother of the later St. Dominic), who made a pilgrimage to his shrine before the birth of her son and named him after the abbot of Silos.
Dominic of Silos was born in Navarre, Spain, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and was a shepherd boy, looking after his father’s flocks. He acquired a love of solitude and as a young man became a monk at the monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla. He eventually became prior of the monastery and came into conflict with the king of Navarre over possessions of the monastery claimed by the king. The king drove Dominic out of the monastery and Dominic went with other monks to Castille, where the king of Castille appointed Dominic abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos.
The monastery was in terrible shape, spiritually and materially and Dominic set about to restore the monastery and to reform the lives of the monks. He preserved the Mozarbic Rite (one of the variants of the Latin Rite) at his monastery and his monastery became one of the centers of the Mozarbic liturgy. His monastery also preserved the Visigothic script of ancient Spain and was a center of learning and liturgy in that part of Spain.
Dominic of Silos died on December 20,1073, about a century before the birth of his namesake, St. Dominic of Calaruega. Before the Spanish Revolution of 1931, it was customary for the abbot of Silos to bring the staff of Dominic of Silos to the Spanish royal palace whenever the queen was in labour and to leave it at her bedside until the birth of her child had taken place.
In recent times, great interest in Dominic of Silos has arisen since the literary treasures of the library of Silos have become known. The abbey had a profound influence on spirituality and learning in Spain. Today the monastery is an abbey of the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes housing a library of ancient and rare manuscripts.
The images show the Monastery and Abbey of Solesmes as well as a Religuary Casket of St Dominic and an image of him taken from the altar piece.
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Christ and Pilgrims of Emmaus, detail from pillar in monastery of St Dominic of Silos, Spain.
Doubting of St Thomas, detail from pillar of St Dominic’s monastery, Silos. Spain, 11th-12th century.
The doubting of St Thomas, detail from pillar of St Dominic’s monastery, Silos, Spain, 11th-12th century