Saint Dominic of Silos, originating from Navarre, Spain, in the picturesque Pyrenees region, began his humble journey as a shepherd boy tending his father’s flocks. His early years were marked by a deepening love for solitude, which eventually led him to embrace monastic life at San Millan de la Cogolla Monastery. His devotion and commitment to monastic ideals saw him rise to the position of prior. However, his steadfastness in defending the monastery’s possessions brought him into conflict with the King of Navarre. This dispute resulted in St. Dominic’s expulsion, leading him and his fellow monks to seek refuge in Castille.
In Castille, the King appointed St. Dominic as the abbot of the dilapidated St. Sebastian Monastery at Silos. Confronted with both spiritual and material decay, St. Dominic embarked on a mission of restoration and reform. He was instrumental in preserving the Mozarbic Rite, a variant of the Latin Rite, at his monastery. Under his guidance, the monastery of Silos emerged as a pivotal center for the Mozarbic liturgy and a bastion for the preservation of Visigothic script, contributing significantly to the region’s intellectual and liturgical landscape.
St. Dominic of Silos passed away on December 20, 1073. Interestingly, he lived nearly a century before the birth of his namesake, St. Dominic of Calaruega, the founder of the Dominicans. A notable tradition linked to St. Dominic of Silos involved the Spanish royal family; during childbirth, the abbot of Silos would bring St. Dominic’s staff to the queen, believing it would ensure a safe delivery.
Approximately a century after St. Dominic’s death, his legacy played a pivotal role in the life of Joan of Aza, who, after visiting his tomb, was assured by an apparition of St. Dominic of Silos that she would bear another son. This son would later become the renowned St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order.
In contemporary times, St. Dominic of Silos has garnered renewed interest due to the scholarly and spiritual wealth discovered in the library of Silos. The abbey, now a part of the Benedictine Congregation of Solesmes, remains a significant site, housing an array of ancient manuscripts and continuing to influence spiritual and academic pursuits in Spain.
Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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