St. Dominic’s apostolate from the commencement of

 the Alibgensian War until the close of the Fourth

Lateran Council – Institution of the Rosary –

St. Dominic and his first disciples


The moment of the outbreak of the Albigensian war, was the moment in which the whole force and genius of St. Dominic were brought to light.  Two courses were before him, either to abandon his mission in a land the scene of sanguinary conflict and alarm, or take part in the war as the Cistercian monks had done.  In following either course, his destiny would have been accomplished; by fleeing, he would have been faithless to his apostolate; by taking part in the crusade, his labors and his life would have been shorn of their apostolic character; he therefore did neither the one nor the other.  Toulouse being the headquarters of heresy in Europe, it behooved St. Dominic to fix his abode there, after the example of the Apostles, who, far from shunning the evil, invariably sought out its stronghold.  St. Peter settled first ant Antioch, queen of the Orient, and sent his disciple St. Mark to Alexandria, one of the firs commercial cities in the world.  St. Paul dwelt for some time at Corinth, renowned among the other cities of Greece both for its magnificence and for the depravity of its morals.  And because Jesus Christ has said; “It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem,”[1] St. Peter and St Paul undesignedly met at Rome, whither they had gone to die.  Therefore at Toulouse, the center and focus of heresy, it behooved St. Dominic to pitch his tent.  In the hour of alarm, men of weak faith shrink from action; but the apostle sows in the storm that he may reap in the calm.  He remembers the words of his Master: “You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that ye be not troubled.”[2] Still, while persevering in his mission despite the terrors of war, Dominic felt it more than ever incumbent on him not to deviate from the pacific and zealous course he had hitherto adopted.  However justifiable it may be to draw the sword in the defense of truth when oppressed by violence, it is not easy to prevent truth suffering even by this very protection, nor is it easy to avoid making her an accomplice in the excesses inseparable from all sanguinary conflicts.  The sword does not stay its course precisely at the line where justice ends, nor will it easily re-enter its sheath when once it has been heated in mortal strife.  To fight on behalf of right, angelic combatants are needed, for, so fickle is the human heart, that even the oppressor, once vanquished, may hope for a share in its sympathy.  Therefore was it of sovereign import that St. Dominic should faithfully carry our Azévédo’s grand design, and that, side by side with chivalry armed in defense of the Church’s liberty, should be seen the Christian man trusting to the sole might of grace and of persuasion.  In Poland, whilst the Priest at the Altar recited the Gospel, the Knight half unsheathed his sword, and in this warlike attitude listened to the gentle words of Christ, - type this, of the true mutual relations existing between the Church and the world.  In her representative the Priest, the Church speaks, prays, consecrates and offers the Holy Sacrifice; the world, in its representative the Knight, listens in silence, sharing in all the acts of the Priest, holding its sword drawn, not to enforce the faith, but only to ensure its liberty.


In the mystery of Christianity, Priest and Knight have each their allotted spheres.  Whilst the Priest sings the Gospel aloud, in presence of the people, and by the light of tapers, the Knight holds his sword half sheathed, because mercy speaks as well as justice; and the Gospel, in whose defense he holds himself in readiness, whispers to him these words: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the earth.”[3]


Dominic and Montfort were the two heroes of the Albigensian war, the one as Knight, the other as Priest.  We have seen ho Montfort fulfilled his task, we will now see how Dominic accomplished his.  It will doubtless have been remarked that no mention is made of his taking part in the war.  He is absent from councils, conferences, reconciliations, sieges and triumphs; and the letters from Rome make no allusion to him.  We have only met him once, and that at Muret, praying in a church during the moment of battle.  This general silence on the part of historians is so much more significant, inasmuch as they belong to different schools, secular and religious; the latter, favorable to the Crusaders, and the former, partisans of Raymond.  It is therefore highly improbably that historians would have vied in silence with each other, had Dominic taken any part either in the negotiations, or military deeds of the Crusade.  They have chronicled his other actions, why then should these have been concealed? Here are the fragments they have preserved of his life at that time: -


“After Bishop Diégo’s return to his diocese,” says the Blessed Humbert, “St Dominic, who had remained alone (save for a few companions, bound to him by no vow), for the space of ten years defended the Catholic faith in several parts of Narbonne, especially in Carcassone and Fanjeaux.  He wholly devoted himself to the salvation of souls, by the office of preaching; and willingly endured many affronts, and much ignominy and suffering, for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [4]


Dominic had selected Fanjeaux as his residence, because, from the eminence on which it was situated he could discern the convent of Notre-Dame-de-Prouille, in the plain below.  As regards Carcassonne, also not far removed from that dear retreat, he has himself given another reason for his preference for it.  Questioned one day why he would not remain in Toulouse and its diocese, he replied, “Because much honor is shown me in the diocese of Toulouse, whilst at Carcassone every one is adverse to me.”[5]  And the enemies of the faith did indeed insult this servant of God in every possible manner, spitting in his face, pelting him with mud, and fastening straws to his cloak.  But, indifferent to all such treatment, he, like the Apostle, esteemed himself happy in that he was deemed worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.  The heretics even meditated taking his life, an when once they threatened to do so, he replied, “I am unworthy of martyrdom; I have not yet merits such a death.”[6] This is why, having to traverse a spot where he knew they were lying in wait for him, he went on his way fearlessly, singing gaily.  Surprised at his firmness, the heretics, in order to prove him, asked him on another occasion what he would have done had he fallen into their hands.  “I should have besought you,” he replied, “not to kill me at a single stroke, but to sever my members one by one, and after showing them to me, then to end by putting out my eyes, leaving me half-dead, or killing me at your pleasure.”[7]


Thierry d’Apolda relates the following: An important conference being about to take place with the heretics, a certain bishop prepared to attend in great pomp; then the humble messenger of Christ said to him, “Not so, my lord and father, must we act with the children of pride.  The foes of truth must be convinced by examples of humility, patience, religion, and every virtue, and not by the pomp of grandeur and outward, worldly show.  Let us arm ourselves with prayer, and with external marks of humility advance barefooted to meet these Goliaths.” The Bishop followed this pious counsel, and all bared their feet.  But not being quite sure which road they ought to take, they entrusted themselves to the guidance of a heretic whom they thought orthodox, an who promised to conduct them on their way; but he, actuated by malice, let them into a wood full of thorns and briars, which wounded their feet and covered them with blood.  Then the strong man of God patiently and joyfully exhorted his companions to give thanks for the sufferings, saying to them, “Trust in the Lord, my well beloved; victory will be yours, for see, our sins are expiated by blood.” The heretic, touched by the Saint’s wondrous patience and words, confessed his wickedness and abjured heresy.[8]


In the vicinity of Toulouse were some women of noble birth who had been seduced from the faith by the outward show of austerity assumed by the heretics.  In the intention of bringing them back to the Church, Dominic asked hospitality of them at the beginning of Lent.  He entered on no controversy, but during the whole of Lent he and his companions took nothing but bread and water.  When on the first evening of their sojourn beds were about to be prepared for them, they asked for two planks instead, and, until Easter, used no other bed, contenting themselves nightly with only a short sleep, interrupted by prayer.  This silent eloquence proved irresistible; and their hostesses acknowledged such abnegation to be the effect of love, and that where such love existed, there was the true faith. 


We recollect that at Palencia Dominic wished to sell himself into captivity in order to ransom the brother of a poor woman; in Languedoc he experienced as similar desire with regard to a heretic who avowed that poverty was the sole cause of his remaining outside the Church.  Dominic resolved on selling himself in order to provide means of subsistence fro the poor man, and would have carried out his design into execution, had not Divine Providence found other ways of accomplishing the same end.


Another fact, yet more singular, exhibits the ingenuity of Dominic’s benevolence.  “Some heretics,” says Thierry d’Apolda, “having been taken and convicted in the province of Toulouse, were handed over to the secular arm, and condemned to be burnt because they refused to return to the faith.” Dominic, gazing at one of them, his heart full of the secrets of God, said to an officer of the court, “Set this man aside, and beware of putting him to death.” Then turning to the heretic, addressed him with great gentleness, saying, “My son, I know that time is needed, but one day you will be a saint.” Marvelous and consoling prediction this! Twenty years later this man remained in heresy; but then, touched by divine grace, begged admittance to the Order of Friar Preachers, in which order he led a holy life, persevering even to the end.”


Constantin d’Orviéto and the Blessed Humbert, in relating the same occurrence, add on fact requiring some explanation.  They say that the heretics in question had been convicted by Dominic before they were handed down to the secular arm.  This is the sole word in the whole nineteenth century that can lead one to suppose that the Saint took any part in these proceedings at law. But the historians of the Albigensian war explain clearly what was meant by this conviction of heresy.  In Languedoc the heretics did not form a secret society; they were armed, and fought openly in behalf of their tenets.  When the fate of war had placed any of them in the power of the Crusaders, priests were sent to explain to them Catholic dogmas, and make them realize the unsoundness of their own.  This was termed CONVINCING them, not of being heretics, for this they proclaimed themselves to be, but of being in a false road, one contrary to Scripture, tradition, and reason.  They entreated them fervently to abandon their errors, promising them pardon in return.  Such who did yield, were spared; those who finally resisted, were given over the secular arm.


Convicting (or convincing) heretics was therefore a work demanding much devotedness, one in which the power of intellect and eloquence of love were kindled by the hope of saving the unhappy ones from death.  That such an office was filled, at least once, by St. Dominic, is beyond all doubt, since such is asserted by two contemporary historians; but to make that a ground for accusing him of dealing harshly with the heretics, would be to confuse the priest who assists a criminal, with the judge who condemns, or the executioner who puts him to death.


Astonishment may possibly be felt that Dominic should be able to spare a heretic’s life, by means of a simple prediction; but not only did his renown for sanctity inspire confidence in his words, he had also been invested by the Apostolic Legates with power to reconcile heretics.  The proof of this is to be found in two documents, which, though undated, refer to this epoch of his life.  The one runs thus: “To all the faithful in Christ whom these letters shall reach, Brother Dominic, Canon of Osma, and humble preacher, sends greetings in the Lord.  Be it known to you that we have permitted Raymond Guillaume d’Hauterive Pélagionire to receive Guillaume Huguecion into his house at Toulouse, without any danger or dishonor to himself; and we grant him this permission until the Lord Cardinal shall notify otherwise.” [9]  The other document is couched in these words: “To all the faithful in Christ whom these letters shall reach, Brother Dominic, Canon of Osma, sends greetings in the Lord.  In virtue of the authority given to us by the Abbot of Cîteaux, we have reconciled to the church, the bearer of the present letter, Ponce Roger, by God’s grace converted from heresy; and we enjoin, in virtue of the oath made to us by him, that he shall on three Sundays, or holy days, proceed from the outskirts of the village, to the church, bared to the waist and scourged by the priest.  We also command him to abstain always from the use of flesh meat, eggs, and cheese, save at Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas, at which time he shall eat thereof by way of protest against his former errors.  He shall observe three Lents yearly, fasting and abstaining from fish, unless bodily infirmity or the heats of summer render a dispensation necessary.  He shall wear a monastic habit, to the outer edge of which two small crosses are to be attached.  If possible, he must hear Mass daily, and on holy days attend Vespers.  He is to recite seven Pater Nosters during the day, and twenty at midnight.  He is to observe chastity, and once a month is to present this letter, in the morning, to the chaplain of the village of Céré, whom we enjoin to be careful that his penitent lead a good life, observing all our injunctions, until the Legate shall order otherwise.  If he neglect the observance of these commands, he shall, as a perjurer and heretic, be excommunicated and cut off from the assembly of the faithful.”[10]


If anyone deem these injunctions either strange of severe, I refer him to the Canonical Penances enjoined by the Early Church; also to the penitential discipline observed in the cloister, and to the voluntary and public penances submitted to in  mediæval times by many Christians, in expiation of their sins.  One example will suffice.  We all know how Henry II, king of England, allowed himself to be scourged by the monks at the tomb of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose murder he had instigated.  In Rome, at the present day, the priests in certain basilicas, after absolving the penitent, give him a stroke on the shoulder with the end of a long rod.  It was natural that St. Dominic should conform to the custom of the times; and, to any careful reader, the above injunctions are replete with a spirit of kindness.


His charity and gentleness were equaled only by his disinterestedness; he refused the Sees of Béziers, Conserans, and Comminges; and once declared that rather then accept the episcopacy, or any other dignity, he would take his staff, and flee away during the night. 


Here is his portrait, sketched by the Abbot of a monastery of Saint-Paul in France, Guillaume de Pierre, who know him intimately during his twelve years’ apostolate in Languedoc, and who was one of the witnesses heard at Toulouse during the process of canonization: “The blessed Dominic had an ardent thirst for souls, and his zeal on their behalf was unbounded.  So fervent a prelate was he, that day and night, at home and abroad, he ceased not to preach the Word of god, counseling his brethren to do the same, and to converse of naught save God.  He was a foe to heresy; opposing it in sermons, controversies, and in every possible way.  From love of poverty, he renounced all possessions, farms, châteaux and revenues, with which, in many localities, his Order had been endowed.  So frugal was he, that his ordinary diet consisted of a piece of bread and some soup, save on rare occasions and out of respect for the brothers and guests, whose fare he desired should be as generous as circumstances would allow.  I have heard it said by many that he was a virgin.  He refused the See of Conserans, although duly elected.  Never have I seen his equal in humility; nor any who so despised worldly glory and all pertaining thereto.  Injuries, curses, and opprobrium, were welcomed by him as priceless gifts; he heeded not persecution, was unmoved in danger, and nothing could make him swerve from his course.  When wearied by all his journeys, he would take his rest on the ground, fearless of all danger.  In piety, he surpassed all whom I have ever known; despised and counted himself as worthless; tenderly consoled his sick brethren, patiently bearing with their weakness.  Those oppressed by anxiety, he exhorted to resignation, and did his best to comfort them.  He loved the rule, and paternally reproved those who were in fault; in all things he was an example to the brethren, both in word and deed.  Never have I seen any one so continually given to prayer, or who had the gift of tears in such abundance.  When praying, his cries could be heard afar, and he would exclaim, ‘Lord, have mercy on the people, have mercy on those who sin.’ He passed his nights without sleep, weeping and groaning for the transgressions of others; was generous and hospitable, willingly giving all he had unto the poor; he loved and honored all who belonged to Christ, and those who were friends to religion.  I have never heard of his having any other place of repose than the church, when he could find a church open; and if that failed him, then he lay on a bench or on the ground, or stripped the bed prepared for him, taking his rest on the sacking only.  I have always seen him wear the same garment, full of patches; and his clothing was worse than that of any of his brethren.  He loved peace and sincerity, and was a zealous promoter of both.” [11]


The gift of miracles was also bestowed on Dominic together with these exalted virtues.  One day, having crossed a river, the boatman demanded his fare, upon which Dominic replied, “I am a servant and disciple of Christ, and possess neither silver nor gold; God will compensate you for my debt.” The boatman on hearing this evinced extreme displeasure, and seizing Dominic’s garment, exclaimed, “Pay me my money, or give me this.” Dominic raised his eyes to heaven, and after a moment’s silence pointed to the ground, where lay a piece of money that Providence had just furnished, saying, “My brother, behold what you desire; take it, and let me go in peace.”


Whilst the Crusaders were before Toulouse in the year 1211, some English pilgrims on their way to St. Iago de Compostello, wishing to avoid entering Toulouse, on account of the interdict under which it lay, took a boat, in order to cross the Garonne.  There were more than forty of them, and the boat, being too full, sank.  The shrieks of the pilgrims and soldiers brought Dominic out of a neighboring church. He threw himself on the ground, extending his arms crosswise, imploring God on behalf of the drowning pilgrims.  His prayer ended, he arose, and turning towards the bank of the river, said in a loud voice, “In the name of Christ I command you to come ashore.”[12]  Immediately they all appeared above the surface, and seizing the long pikes extended to them by the soldiers, came safe to land.


The first Prior of the monastery of Saint-Jacques de Paris, called by historians, Matthew of France, became a fellow laborer with Dominic, so impressed by a miracle of which he was spectator.  He was Prior at Castres, the church of which contained the relics of St. Vincent the Martyr, and was frequently visited by St. Dominic, who generally remained there until noon.  Staying one day beyond his wonted time, the hour of the midday repast, the Prior sent one of the clerics in search of him.  This one beheld Dominic before the altar, raised from the earth by the distance of half a cubit; he ran to tell the Prior, who finding Dominic in this ecstatic condition, was so deeply impressed, that he soon after associated himself to this servant of God, who, in conformity with his usual custom regarding all whom he admitted to a share in his labors, promised him the Bread of Life, and the Dew of Heaven.


Historians briefly narrate the following: - His curing a man possessed by the devil; his desire to pray in a certain church, the doors of which being closed, he suddenly found himself transported within the edifice; his traveling with a monk, and thought neither understood the other’s native tongue, they nevertheless conversed intelligibly for three days; his letting his books fall into the river Ariégo, when a fisherman drawing them out some time after, found them uninjured by the water.  All these facts, floating isolated and unconnected on the stream of history, are gathered together by us as sacred relics.


God also endowed His servant with the spirit of prophecy, during the Lent of 1213, which he spent at Carcassonne, preaching and fulfilling the duties of vicar-General, entrusted to him by the Bishop, during his absence.  A Cistercian monk questioned him as to the issue of the war.  “Master Dominic,” said he, “will these woes never end?” And as Dominic remained silent, the monk repeated his question, knowing that God revealed many things to His servant.  At last Dominic replied, “Yes, these woes will end, but not speedily; much blood will be shed, and a king shall die on the field of battle.”  Those who heard this prediction feared that he alluded to the eldest son of Philip-Augustus, who had vowed to join the Crusade against the Albigenses, but Dominic reassured them, saying, “Fear not for the king of France; it is another king who will soon lose his life in this war.”[13]  Shortly after, Pedro of Aragon was slain at Muret.


Dominic’s fixed intention of founding a Religious Order, dedicated to the work of preaching, seeming likely to be perpetually frustrated by the duration and vicissitudes of the war, he instantly besought God to restore peace and order.  To obtain his request, and hasten the triumph of the faith, he, moved by secret inspiration, instituted that form of prayer sense then so universally practiced throughout the Church under the name of Rosary.  When the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to the Blessed Virgin the mystery of the Incarnation, he saluted her in these words, “Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.”[14] These words, most blessed of all that have fallen on human ears, are from age to age re-echoed by Christian lip, and from the depths of this vale of tears they ever salute the Mother of Jesus in these words, “Hail, Mary, full of grace.”  From out the ranks of their most exalted leaders, the heavenly hierarchy selected him who should greet the lowly daughter of David with that glorious salutation; and now that she is throned far above celestial and angelic choirs, the human race, whose daughter and sister she is, still waft to her that angel’s greeting, “Hail, Mary, full of grace.” As soon as she heard the Archangel’s words, the Son of God was conceived in her chaste womb; and now, whenever mortal lips repeat the angelic salutation, the signal of her maternity, she thrills at the recollection of a moment unparalleled in heaven and earth, and all eternity is partaker of her joy.


But though Christians were thus wont, from time immemorial, to raise their hearts to the Blessed Virgin, the salutation was used in a vague and general way; the faithful did not assemble together to address their cherished patroness, but each individual followed his own loving impulse.  Dominic, knowing the efficacy of united prayer, thought it would be well to recite the Angelus in the same manner, so that the cry of an assembled multitude might the more readily mount to heaven.  The brevity of the angel’s words rendered it necessary that they should be often repeated, even as those reiterated acclamations with which a grateful people hails the presence of its sovereign.  But as repetition may engender distractions, Dominic guarded against this, by arranging the Hail Maries in series, assigning to each, one of the chief mysteries of our redemption, which mysteries were for the Blessed Virgin a source of joy, sorrow, and triumph.  In this way, the faithful, while saluting their Queen and Mother, followed, in spirit, the principal events of her life, thus uniting prayer with meditation.  In order the better to ensure the perpetuity and reverent observance of this devotion, Dominic established a Confraternity.  His pious efforts were crowned by success; the devotion became most popular, and the faithful from age to age have never wavered in their attachment to it.  The number of Confraternities has multiplied ad infinitum, and there is scarcely any Christian but possesses in the form of “Chaplet” some portion of the Rosary.  Who does not remember having heard the grave voices of the peasants reciting the angelic salutation in the village churches?  Who but has met processions of pilgrims telling their beads, and beguiling the weariness of the way by the repetition of Mary’s name?  Nothing attains perpetuity and universality but what is in mysterious accord with the wants and destinies of man.  The rationalist smiles on beholding a string of people repeating the same word, but he who is illuminated by a higher light, knows that love has but one word, which, because ever on its lips, is never repeated.


The devotion of the Rosary, although interrupted in the fourteenth century by a terrible pestilence which ravaged Europe, was nevertheless revived in the next century by Alain de la Roche, a Dominican of Brittany; and in 1573, in order to commemorate the battle of Lepanto; in which he Turks were defeated during the pontificate of a Dominican Pope, on the very day when the Confraternities of the Rosary were holding public processions in Rome and throughout Christendom, Gregory XIII instituted the feast, since then annually celebrated by the Churches under the name of the Feast of the Rosary.


Such were the arms with which Dominic combated heresy and the evils of war; preaching, amid insult, controversy, patience, and voluntary poverty; a life of self-denial; a boundless charity; the gifts of miracles; and, lastly, the promotion of devotion to Our Lady by the institution of the Rosary.  The ten years elapsing between the interview at Montpellier and the Lateran Council, were so uniform in their tenor, that contemporary historians have discerned but few actions to chronicle, in this humble, heroic, and constant exercise of the same virtues.  The fear of being monotonous arrested their pen, for the history of a few days would be the history of entire years of Dominic’s life.  The uniformity of this great man’s life, at such a stirring epoch, is the trait that distinguishes Dominic from Montfort.  United by a sincere friendship and a common aim, their characters were nevertheless as dissimilar as the knight’s armor and the monk’s habit.  The sun of history illumes the cuirass of the warrior, revealing brilliant lights and deep shadows; hardly a ray falls on the garb of Dominic, but that, so pure and so holy, that the absence of a greater brilliancy is in itself a striking homage.  Dominic is in obscurity because he has withdrawn from the tumult and from bloodshed, because, faithful to his mission, he has opened his lips but to bless, his heart but to pray, and his hands but for deeds of mercy, and because virtue, when hidden from man, is invisible to all, save God.


Dominic was in his forth-sixth year when he began to reap the fruit of his long labors.  In 1215 the gates of Toulouse were thrown open to him by the Crusaders; and Providence, who often assembles together the most diverse elements, sent him two men as the nucleus of the future Order of Friar Preachers.  Both were citizens of Toulouse, of distinguished birth and remarkable character.  The one, Pierre Cellani, a man of large fortune and distinguished virtue; the other, known to us only as Thomas, was noted for his eloquence and singular amiability.  Prompted by the same holy inspiration, they simultaneously gave themselves to Dominic’ and Pierre Cellani presented the latter with his own beautiful house, situated close to the Châteaux of Narbonne, belonging to the Counts of Toulouse.  There Dominic gathered together all his followers, numbering six, viz., Pierre Cellani, Thomas, and four others.  It was but a very small band, and yet had cost ten years of apostolate, and forty-five years of a life wholly dedicated to the service of God.  How little do they who act precipitately, or they who are disheartened by obstacles, know of the conditions attached to durability!  Since that night at Toulouse, when, after the conversion of his heretical host, Dominic first conceived the idea of his future Order, time had showed itself inexorable to him.  Left an orphan in a strange land, by the death of his friend and master Azévédo; surrounded on every side by the sanguinary conflict of war; an object of inveterate hatred to the heretics, now embittered by oppression; he, seeing that the time and energy of the Catholics were devoted to another cause than that of the apostolate, beheld himself reduced to a state of hopeless solitude.


But God scatters the clouds; the Count of Toulouse, thought destined to die at home, victorious and tranquil, is for a while rendered powerless by a battle as decisive as it was unforeseen.  God grants His servant some months of peace, and the Order of friar Preachers is founded in the very seat of heresy, and during the interval separating two stormy epochs.


The dress assigned to his companions was similar to that worn by himself, viz., a white woolen tunic, linen surplice, and cape and cowl of black wool.  This was the garb of the Canons Regular, worn by him since his admission to the Chapter at Osma, and retained by himself and followers, until change by the occurrence of a memorable event, which in due time we shall record.  They also lived by rule; and their establishment took place with the co-operation, and by the authority, of Foulques, Bishop of Toulouse, that same generous Cistercian who from the commencement evinced such warm interest in the mutual project of Dominic and Azévédo.  Not content with giving it merely the benefit of his patronage, we have, in the following, a proof of his generosity on their behalf, so signal as to merit the everlasting gratitude of the Order.  “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, be it known to all, now and henceforth, that we, Foulques, by the grace of God, humble servant of the See of Toulouse, desiring to extirpate heresy and banish vice, to teach men the rule of faith and mold them in virtue, institute, as preachers in our diocese, Brother Dominic and his companions, who, as barefooted religious, purpose preaching the gospel and pursuing the path of evangelic poverty.  And because the laborer is worthy his hire, and because it is forbidden to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, also because he who preaches the gospel should live by the gospel, we desire that Brother Dominic and his companions, in sowing the word of truth in our diocese, may at the same time have their material wants supplied; therefore, with the consent of the Chapter of St. Etienne and that of all the clergy in our diocese, to them and to all such as, moved by zeal in the Lord’s service and desirous of the salvation of souls, shall follow in their steps, we assign, in perpetuity, the sixth part of the tithes accruing to our parish churches, for the relief of their necessities, and in order that from time to time they may be enabled to rest from their labor.  If, at the close of the year, any surplus remain, we enjoin that it be employed in the decoration of our parish churches, or for the relief of the poor, as may seem good to the Bishop.  Seeing that a certain portion of the tithes should be consecrated to the poor, those are fitting recipients who embrace poverty for love of Jesus Christ, intending to benefit the world by their example and by the heavenly gift of wisdom; and as they minister to us in spiritual things, so in return must we, directly or indirectly, minister to them in temporal things.  Given in the year of grace 1215, in the reign of Philip, king of France, and during the rule of Montfort, Count of Toulouse.”[15]


This munificent deed did not stand alone; others came also to the help of the rising order of Friar Preachers.  “At this time,” say historians, “Simon, Count de Montfort, combating the heretics with the material sword, and Brother Dominic combating them with the sword of God’s Word, were united in intimate friendship.” Montfort gave his friend Dominic the châteaux and lands of Cassanct, in the diocese of Agen, having already confirmed several donations in favor of the convent of Prouille, the possessions of which he had greatly augmented.  These were not the sole proofs of the esteem and affection he evinced for Dominic, whom he entreated tot only to baptize his daughter, betrothed during a brief time to the heir of Aragon, but also to bless the union of his eldest son, Count Amaury, with Beatrice, daughter of the Dauphine of Vienne.


In his later years we shall behold Dominic regret having accepted these temporal possessions, which he will renounce, bequeathing as sole patrimony to his children that Providence who supplies the daily needs of every zealous worker, and of whom it is written, “Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”[16]





[1] St. Luke xiii. 33.

[2] St. Matthew xxiv. 6.

[3] St Matthew v. 4.

[4] Chronique, n. 2.

[5] Constantin d’Orviéto, Vie de St. Dominique, n. 44.

[6] Ibid. n. 12.

[7] Ibid. n. 12.

[8] Vie de St. Dominique, chap. ii. n. 35.

[9] See Echard’s Ecrivains d l’Ordre de Prêcheurs, vol. i. p. 9, note.

[10] ibid. p. 8, note.

[11] Actes de Toulouse, n. 15.

[12] Thierry d’Apolda, Vie de St. Dominique, ch. iii. n. 48.

[13] The Blessed Humbert’s Vie de St. Dominique, n. 48.

[14] St. Luke i. 28.

[15] Echard’s Ecrivains de l’Ordre des Prêcheurs, vol i. p. 12, note.

[16] Psalm liv. 23.


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