For eight centuries, the Rosary devotion has been one of the most popular devotional practices in the church. Its combination of vocal and mental prayer have made it a prime tool for contemplation. Jesus is the author and source of grace; Our Lady’s Rosary is the key to open the treasury of grace to us.
St. Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), was a Spanish priest who was struck by the need for preaching the true faith in light of the rampant heresy he encountered while travelling in southern France. As Dominic began his preaching ministry, he established a group of women-converts into a monastic community that would have the special task of praying for the preaching of Dominic and his companions. Gradually he attracted men to join him in his task of preaching, and began the process of formally establishing the Order of Preachers. On December 22, 1216, Pope Honorius III formally approved the new Order, and Dominic served as the Master or superior of the entire Order until his death in 1221. Under St. Dominic and his successor, Bl. Jordan of Saxony, the Order spread rapidly throughout Europe, and quickly extended its apostolate to serve the Church is various ways. During the first century of the Order’s existence, Dominican friars served as preachers, inquisitors, canon lawyers, theologians, and teachers at intellectual and spiritual centers such as Paris, Bologna, Orvietto, and Rome.
Luminaries of this time include St. Raymond of Penyafort, a Spaniard who compiled an important collection of ecclesiastical canons, St. Thomas Aquinas, who was one of the most prominent theologians of the 13th century, Bl. Innocent V, the first Dominican to serve the Church as Pope, and Humbert of Romans, who served as Master of the Order, established the perduring form of the Dominican liturgy, and served as an advisor for the Second Council of Lyons.