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Creation Date


Circa Date

January 1 - 30, 2016


Images of St. Dominic are very common in Latin countries and you usually will be able to identify them easily by these attributes:

Dog with Torch - According to the Golden Legend St. Dominic's mother while pregnant dreamed that she would give birth to a dog who would hold a torch in its mouth and would "burn the world." It has been suggested that the dog represents a pun on Dominicanus, the word for a Dominican friar, and domini canis, "dog of the Lord." A dog is often shown at the saint's feet holding a torch in its mouth.

Star on Forehead - The Legend also relates that when St. Dominic was a baby his godmother saw a star on his forehead during the baptism, so another common attribute is a star either on the forehead or above the head.

Rosary - St. Dominic also often carries a rosary, which a legend starting in the 15th century claimed had been given him by the Virgin Mary.

Lilies - Another attribute is a lily or stalk of lilies, referring to St. Dominic's notable chastity.

Book and Staff - We often see St. Dominic with a book and a staff, a reference to a vision recounted in the Golden Legend in which Peter and Paul gave him these items and urged him to take them into the world and preach.

A given image may use any combination of these six attributes, in addition to the saint's tonsure and black-and-white Dominican habit. Sometimes, when the context has established who the figure is, the habit and tonsure may be the only attributes.

"Bury me under the feet of my brothers" - spoken by St Dominic at his death. His friars had taken Dominic to a local Benedictine abbey, where they hoped he might rest more comfortably. Since death was approaching, the Benedictine superior intimated that he would be very pleased to bury Dominic in the abbey; the holy man would be given a prominent grave that would accommodate the numerous pilgrims who could be expected to visit his final resting place. When Dominic caught wind of this, however, he ordered his friars to take him home to their own priory. There, after his death, they were to place his body in an unmarked grave beneath the flooring of the house. “Bury me under the feet of my brothers,” he commanded them.