The Church of France was ravaged by the heresy of the Albigenses who, not satisfied with teaching false doctrine, pillaged the churches and massacred the priests. In 1215, Innocent III saw in a dream the tottering walls of St. John Lateran, held up by the powerful shoulders of a friar. This friar was St. Dominic whose preaching defended Catholic doctrine against the new heresies (Epistle). Before his birth, his mother had in a vision her child in the shape of a little dog holding in its mouth a torch which was to set the world on fire.
Called Dominic, because his parents attributed his birth to the prayers of the holy Benedictine abbot Dominic of Silos, he truly belonged to the Lord, as his name suggests. Born in Spain, of the noble family Gusman, he distinguished himself by his purity as is signified by the lily he holds (Alleluia) and his white habit.
Having witnessed the many evils caused by the heretics in the south of France, he founded to oppose them the Order of the Friars Preachers (Communion), whom he armed with the shield of truth to teach doctrine and the sword of the word to preach it.
The Dominicans number many saints of both sexes who, like their founder, ardently studied the Word of God in the Gospel, which as St. Dominic says is the book of truth and "the book of charity".
[The Order of the Friars Preachers has given to the Church 4 popes: Blessed Innocent V St. Pius V, Benedict XI, Benedict XIII; numerous cardinals, bishops, doctors, preachers and illustrious writers. It numbers 11 saints and 4 women saints, 268 beatified men and 24 beatifled women, of whom 300 martyrs. The census of the Order in 1935 showed that there were 6000 Friars. The Dominican nuns in the Second Order and in the Third Order amount to 40,000.]
This saint loved our Lady in a special manner and preached the devotion to the Rosary. He died on August 6, 1221.
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31,1 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam beati Dominici Confessoris tui illuminare dignatus es meritis et doctrinis: concede; ut ejus intercessione temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis, et spiritualibus semper proficiat incrementis.
O God who, by the merit and teaching of blessed Dominic, Thy confessor, hast been pleased to enlighten Thy Church: grant that through his prayers, she may not be deprived of temporal help, and may continually advance in spiritual growth.
From the Roman Breviary:
Dominic was born at Calaruega, in Spain, of the noble family of Guzman, and attended to his liberal and theological training at Palencia; and since he made very great progress in his studies, he became first a regular canon of the church of Osma, and thereafter the founder of the order of Friars Preachers. While his mother was with child, she dreamt she was carrying in her womb a little dog, holding a torch in his mouth, with which, as soon as he should come forth into the light, he would set fire to the world. This dream signified that he would enkindle Christian piety among the nations by the splendour of his holiness and his teaching. The event confirmed the truth of this; for he both fulfilled the prophecy in his own person, and it was thereafter implemented by the members of his order.
But his capacity and courage were in the highest degree conspicuous in overthrowing the heretics who were attempting to corrupt the people of Toulouse with their baneful errors; in which transaction he spent seven years. Thereafter he came to Rome for the Lateran Council, together with the bishop of Toulouse, that the order which he had founded might be confirmed by Innocent III. While this matter was receiving thorough consideration, Dominic, on the advice of the Pope, returned to his disciples, that he might select a rule for his order. On his return to Rome, he obtained the confirmation of the order of Preachers from Honorius III, the immediate successor of Innocent. And in Rome itself he founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women. He likewise raised three dead persons to life, and performed many other miracles, in consequence of which the order of Preachers began to spread abroad in a wonderful manner.
But, when by his efforts monasteries were now being built in every part of the world, and countless men began to lead a holy and religious life, in the year of Christ 1221, he fell sick of a fever at Bologna. When he realized that he was about to die of this disease, he summoned the brethren and the disciples of his rule, and exhorted them to innocence and purity of life. Finally, he left unto them by will, as if in a definite inheritance, the virtues of charity, humility, and poverty; and while the brethren were praying round him, at the words: Come to his aid, ye Saints of God, come to meet him, ye Angels, he fell asleep in the Lord on the eighth of the Ides of August (August 6). Thereafter, Pope Gregory IX reckoned him among the number of the Saints.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05106a.htm