We look to St. Dominic, great Light of the Church and Doctor of Truth, and to the saints of the Order, that we may be of use to the souls of others. (Basic Constitutions)

This novena is prayed by our community as we approach the feast of St. Dominic. We invite you to pray with us, asking the intercession of St. Dominic on behalf of the needs of the world and for your own personal intentions.

First Day (see below for text of each of these days)

Second Day

Third Day

Fourth Day

Fifth Day

Sixth Day

Seventh Day

Eighth Day

Ninth Day

Hymn (The following hymn is sung each day after the recitation of the novena.)

Thou who hero-like has striven
For the cause of God and heaven,
St. Dominic, whose life was given
Sinners to recall.
Saint of high and dauntless spirit,
By thy vast unmeasured merit,
By thy name which we inherit
Hear us when we call.

Flower of chastity the fairest
Of her lily buds thou bearest,
Snow white as the robe thou wearest,
Gift of hands divine.
With thy brow of starry splendor
With thine eyes so mild and tender
Mary’s client, Truth’s defender,
To our prayers incline.

First Day: The Force of Good Example

He shone in his days as the morning star, in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full; and as the sun, when it shines, so did he shine in the temple of God. (Sirach 50:6,7)


St. Dominic was born in Spain in 1170. With the dawn of reason his whole soul turned to God. His childhood was most pious and his youth angelic in purity. In the University of Palencia he was the model student. At twenty five he became a canon regular at Osma, and with the religious habit he put on the Lord Jesus and strove in all things to imitate Him. His time was divided into prayer, study of Scripture, and com­munity duties. Silence and retirement were his delight; works of penance and tears of contrition his meat and drink. Going in 1205 to France, he spent many years in every kind of labor for the conversion of the Albigensian heretics. Like Jesus Christ he passed the day in apostolic work, the night in prayer. His penance was extreme, but to others he was gentle, sweet, and kind. Many were converted by his miracles, many by the example of his holy life. Six times he jour­neyed to Rome, once to Spain, once to Paris, walking barefoot, praying or singing on the road; preaching in the towns and villages, spending the nights in contemplation. He founded in 1215 the Order of Friars Preachers for the conversion of souls. He was a man of truly apostolic heart, a column of the Faith, a trumpet of the Gospel, the light of Christ to men. He died at Bologna in 1221.

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most enlightened teacher of divine truth, Holy Father St. Dominic, who taught what was profitable for salvation and made yourself all things to all men, that you might win all to Christ; help us to close our ears and hearts to all false doctrine and whatever may be harmful to our souls and to open them joyfully to the truths of Holy Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Second Day: Humility

Your attitude must be that of Christ: Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)


Humility is the foundation of perfection, and in St. Dominic it was deep and strong. So clear was his knowledge of the great majesty of God and his own nothingness that he lived always in holy fear and self-distrust. Though most innocent, he considered himself to be a sinner, unworthy of the least grace. Constantly he prostrated himself before God, praying for long periods of time.

Before entering a town to preach, he used to kneel down on the road, begging God not to punish the people for his sins but to make his labor fruitful. When passing an altar or crucifix he would bow profoundly, in token of his nothingness. Praise and honor he detested, and three times refused the bishopric. At the General Chapter he said to his brethren, “I deserve to be deposed from my office, for I am negligent and relaxed.” When asked where he would be buried, “Under the feet of my brethren,” the saint responded.

The saints, though great in virtue, look upon themselves as worthless, because they see themselves in the light of God, and knowing him they know themselves. “Our righteousness,” St. Dominic would say, “when compared to the righteousness of God, is mere uncleanness.”

Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O Holy Father St. Dominic, true lover of humility, the greater you appeared in the sight of men, the more you humbled yourself before God. Be to us a loving guide, that, following in your footsteps we may be enabled to withstand all the snares of the enemy, and spending our lives in earnest prayer, self-denial and humility, we may, at the hour of death, be received with you into heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Third Day: Compunction of Heart

Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, those who love him are filled with his law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts and humble themselves before him. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord and not into the hands of men, for equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows. (Sirach 2: 16-18)


Though so pure that Holy Church calls him “Ivory of Chastity,” and Christian art puts a lily into his hands, Dominic was always weeping over sin. His soul being full of contrition, acts of sorrow were constantly upon his lips. On seeing towns or villages, he used to weep over the sins committed there against God. But this sorrow was not merely hidden in the soul; it bore fruit in works of penance. Three times every night he scourged himself: once for his own sins, once for those of others, and once for the suffering souls. He was a rule of abstinence, even on journeys never eating meat or food cooked with meat. His fasts were strict and continual; even when traveling over Europe on foot, he fasted from September until Easter, though preaching daily. He never had a room of his own, but slept anywhere: on the ground, a bench, or the altar step. Being a zealous lover of the rule, he punished faults, but with such fatherly love that penance was accepted and even desired from his hands.

“If you have no sins of your own to weep for,” St. Dominic would say, “still weep, after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and grieve for the sinners of the world that they may repent.”

Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O zealous preacher of penance, Holy Father St. Dominic, whose ardent desire for the salvation of souls made you ever ready to endure the greatest labors and fatigues and even to give your life in order to win them to God, pray for us, that treading in the steps of Jesus Crucified, the Redeemer and Physician of souls, we may disregard all suffering and generously sacrifice ourselves for the needs of others. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Fourth Day: St. Dominic’s Prayer

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and inspired songs. Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts. Give thanks to God the Father always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Prayer was the breath of St. Dominic’s life, the light on his path, the staff on his pilgrimage. He prayed always. In childhood his delight was to serve Mass, to visit the Blessed Sacrament, and to chant Office. As a student, he learned wisdom more from prayer than from books. He won more souls by prayer than by preaching or miracles. In traveling, St. Dominic prayed as he went, sometimes the Veni Creator Spiritus, or the Ave Maris Stella, or sometimes he recited psalms. He often reminded his companions to think of God. Many times St. Dominic spent the night in prayer before the altar. His methods of prayer were various: sometimes he lay prostrate, then stood erect, then knelt down. For hours he would stand before a crucifix, genuflecting and making fervent ejaculations. Often he stretched out his arms like a cross, pleading earnestly to God. On occasion he was seen in rapture by the vehemence of his prayer. “In all labors and trials, in hunger, thirst, fatigue, his heart turned always to God.”

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the virtues and preaching of St. Dominic, your confessor and our father, mercifully grant that by his prayers we may be delivered from present dangers and ever increase in spiritual blessings. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Fifth Day: The Spirit of Prayer

True devotion was in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found upon his lips; he walked with me in integrity and in uprightness, and turned many away from evil. (Malachi 2:6)

As an unbridled tongue destroys a spirit of prayer, Dominic loved silence and retirement, that he might dwell with God. His intimate friend, William of Montserrat, said that “Dominic always kept the silence prescribed by the custom and rule of the Order, abstained from idle words, and always spoke either of God or to God.”

Dominic considered custody of the senses important and fed his soul constantly with spiritual reading. His books were the Bible and Cassian’s Conferences of the Fathers of the Desert. The Holy Scriptures he always carried, and ordered his spiritual children diligently and unceasingly to read them. At dinner one religious used to read aloud, that the souls of all might be fed on the Word of God.

If any man offends not in words, the same is a perfect man. (James 3:2)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most Holy Father St. Dominic, who always showed yourself loving to all and never despised, wounded or offended anyone, obtain for me from our Savior, the grace to be severe only to myself and my evil passions and always gentle and loving toward my neighbor, ever like him, pardoning all who injure or offend me. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Sixth Day: Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Mother of God

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!   (Psalms 84:2-4)

The Eucharist and the Mother of God were objects of Dominic’s special devotion. Before the tabernacle he spent his nights, finding there rest after his labors; and arriving weary and foot sore from a journey, he always visited the Blessed Sacrament before refreshing his body. However much fatigued, he always celebrated Mass, and if possible sang it. During the celebration of Mass tears were often seen flowing down his face, moving all to devotion.

Of God’s Mother he was always an ardent and reverent lover. His life, his work, his Order were placed under her protection, and he invoked her in every difficulty and danger. He began the custom of saying the Hail Mary before preaching. The Blessed Mother filled him with heavenly favors, watched over him with motherly care, and gave him the habit of his Order. A tradition cherished in his Order, and supported by the testimonies of many popes, ascribes to him the first teaching of devotion to the recitation of the Rosary. His disciples were called “Friars of Mary,” and have carried her Rosary and scapular to the uttermost parts of the earth.

I myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me shall ever thirst. (John 6:35)

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that desire me, and be filled with my goodness. (Sirach 24: 18; John 14:6)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most blessed father, St. Dominic, who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in the most perfect manner and served Mary, His Virgin Mother, with most fervent devotion, pray for us, your children, that we may ever grow in love of the Sacrament of the Altar, and that, next to God, we may at all times trust in the protection of the Queen of Heaven, so that at the hour of death we may be received by her into heaven, and ever abide under the mantle of her love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Seventh Day: Love of God and Our Neighbor

That we have passed from death to life we know because we love the brothers. The man who does not love is among the living dead. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that eternal life abides in no murderer’s heart. The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:14-16)

Love is the fulfilling of the law, and Dominic, the preacher of God’s law, was consumed with the fire of love. In all his actions his love for God appeared and his constant prayer was that he might have true charity and love God purely for his own sake. From this love sprang that ardent desire to suffer for God which made him a martyr in spirit. So deeply was he moved by the love of Jesus Crucified that he longed to die for him. His life of generous self-sacrifice proved his love sincere. As a youth he sold his only treasure, the books from which he studied, to feed the poor. His life was entirely devoted to the hardest apostolic labor, traveling far and wide to seek the lost sheep of the Good Shepherd and braving every kind of danger. His prayers for souls were continual, and daily he did penance for sinners. The one object of his Order was the salvation of souls. Throughout his life he preached to the heathen hoping for martyrdom. He had compassion for the suffering and misery of others. To all he was gentle, kind and merciful.

The true love of God is proved by the desire to be like Christ, and to labor and suffer for others.

Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. The man without love knows nothing of God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O Holy Father St. Dominic, who showed us the way to eternal happiness, and won many souls to God by founding the Order of Friars Preachers, pray for us, that we may follow in your footsteps, and ever work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Eighth Day: The Death of St. Dominic

Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.        (Matthew 25:2)

St. Dominic died at Bologna, August 6, 1221, at midday. Father Ventura, prior of Bologna, was present and thus describes the death of St. Dominic. “Father Dominic returned from Venice about the end of July. Although very weary with traveling, he conversed on the affairs of the Order with me till late. I begged him to rest that night, but he prayed in the Church till Matins at midnight, and then was present in choir. Afterwards he complained of his head, and his last illness began. Lying on a straw mattress, he called the novices around him and exhorted them to fervor with cheerful words and smiling coun­tenance. After being carried to a hill not far off, for better air, he preached to his brethren and was then anointed. Fearing that he would not be buried ‘under the feet of his brethren,’ he was carried back to the convent. The brethren re­cited prayers for a departing soul. When they came to the words, ‘Come to his help, ye saints of God; hasten to meet him, ye angels of the Lord: receive his soul, and offer it in the sight of the Most High,’ having lifted his hands to Heaven, he gave up his spirit.”

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O most kind father, St. Dominic, by your saintly life and death, bless and guide us in the path of your holy rule, that persevering until death, we may, through it, attain the eternal joys of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Ninth Day: Devotion to St. Dominic

This is the covenant with them which I myself have made, says the Lord: and my words that I have put into your mouth shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children, nor the mouths of your children’s children, from now on and forever, says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:21)

As St. Dominic lay dying just outside of Bologna at St. Mary of the Hills, he requested to be taken back at once to Bologna that he might be buried “under the feet of my brethren.” There, having assured his spiritual children that he would be of greater assistance where he was going, he left them his last will and testament: “Behold, my children, the heritage I leave you: have charity for one another, guard humility, make your treasure out of voluntary poverty.”

Be therefore followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

O wondrous hope that you did give at the hour of death to those who mourned you, when you did promise to help them even after death.

   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

You who did shine by so many signs in the bodies of the afflicted, bear us the help of Christ and heal our souls in illness and unrest.

   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

   Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers.

Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the prom­ises of Christ.

Let us pray, O God, who enlightened your Church by the merits and teachings of blessed Dominic, your confessor and our father, grant through his intercession that it may never be destitute of temporal help, and may always increase in spiritual growth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.