Praedicatores misericordiae (VIII): Saint Dominic

Our founder, Saint Dominic (biography on, celebrated on 8 August, is known as a preacher of mercy, a practitioner of mercy and one who prayed for mercy. Mercy, therefore, is central to our tradition. Already as a student in Palencia, Dominic sold his books during a famine to get money to feed the hungry. Later, his compassion with those suffering as a result of the dualistic worldview of the Cathars would move him to give himself fully to the preaching of the Good News - and this was the start of the movement which would become the Order of Preachers. His first successor as Master of the Order, Blessed Jordan of Saxony describes him:

His mind was always steady and calm, except when he was stirred by a feeling of compassion and mercy; and, since a happy heart makes for a cheerful face, the tranquil composure of the inner man was revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression. 

Wherever he went, whether he was on the road with his companions or in some house, with his host and the rest of the household, or among important people and rulers and prelates, he always overflowed with inspiring words. He had an abundant supply of edifying stories, with which he directed people's minds to the love of Christ and to contempt for the world. Everywhere, in word and in deed, he showed himself to be a man of the gospel.

During the daytime nobody was more sociable and happy with his brethren and companions, but at night nobody was more thoroughly dedicated to keeping vigil and to prayer."Tears waited for him at night, but joy in the morning." The day he gave to his neighbors, the night he gave to God, knowing that "by day the Lord sends his mercy, and by night he gives songs of praise."

Everybody was enfolded in the wide embrace of his charity, and since he loved everyone, everyone loved him. He made it his own business to rejoice with those who were rejoicing and to weep with those who wept. He was full of affection and gave himself utterly to caring for his neighbors and to showing sympathy for the unfortunate. 

(From the Libellus: On the Beginnings of the Order of Preachers of Blessed Jordan of Saxony)