“Ferdinand I of Castile welcoming Saint Dominic of Silos” was painted between circa 1478 and 1479 by Spanish Flemish artist Bartolomé Bermejo (c. 1440-c. 1501) and Spanish Gothic artist Martín Bernat (fl. 1450-1505). (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Dec. 20

As a youth Dominic tended sheep on the foothills of the Pyrenees where he learned to appreciate solitude. He then pursued the quiet life as a monk.

Dominic became the prior of his San Millán de Suso Monastery but was forced to flee by King García Sánchez II of Pamplona, who intended to seize the monastery’s land.

The king’s brother, King Ferdinand I de León of Castile, welcomed him to Burgos, the capital city of Castile, and named him abbot of the monastery of St. Sebastian at Silos. There as prior, Dominic conducted a successful program of spiritual and material renewal.

The Dominicans especially honor him. A century after Dominic’s death, Blessed Joan of Aza visited his tomb. There she had a vision promising her that she would have another son. When the child was born, she named him Dominic — who would grow up to become the founder of the Dominican Order.