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THE traveller who makes his way from the city of Osma to the neighbouring town of Aranda in Old Castile, after cross- ing a barren and undulating plain of vast extent, finds himself about half-way on his route at the entrance of a little village which clusters at the foot of the mountains, whilst somewhat higher up their slope may be seen a huge pile of buildings easily to be recognized as those of a convent.
Among them, together with other more modern erections, there appears a massive square tower of ancient date, surrounded by a court- yard and a little flower garden. In the large and handsome church attached to the convent, where a community of his religious daughters guard with their prayers what is now one Thesis 2.1 responsive skins the holy places of Spain, is shown in front of the sanctuary a square space surrounded by a balustrade, on which a handsome monument has recently been erected.
This, which is supposed to mark the exact site of his birth, is called the Ctma, and a crystal well has sprung up on the spot, the water of which is. There appears every probability that the ancestors of the Guzmans were oLjaorthern, not of Latin, extraction ; and whilst some adduce proofs of their being originally Visigoths, others are not wanting who claim for them an Anglo-Saxon descent.
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The records of the family preserve the memory of a long line of warriors and statesmen, whose names fill an honourable place in the history of their country. One of these was the gallant knight, Nugno de Guzman, who took part in the siege of Toledo, when that city was recovered from the Moors by Alphonsus VI.
Of his two grandsons, the youngest was Don Felix Guzman, father to our saint, from whose elder brother, Alvar Diaz, descended the main branch of a family allied to Thesis 2.1 responsive skins a noble house, and even to the royal blood of Castile. These alliances, and the privileges granted to the Guzmans by successive sovereigns, are set forth at length in the pages of more than one historian, and need not be repeated here.
But the immediate ancestors of St. Dominic have a claim to our notice, on other and far higher grounds than the nobility of their pedigree.
He was born of a family of saints. Felix 1 See Annes Dominicaine, August, But, if authorities differ as to the genealogy of Joanna, they one and all agree in bearing testimony to her sanctity, and in our own time she has been formally enrolled among the Blessed of the Order.
Don Felix was not unworthy to be her husband, and the household over which they ruled was so remarkable for its piety and good order, that it was commonly said rather to resemble that of a monastery than of a knightly castle.
Of their three sons, Antonio, the eldest, became a secular priest, and, enamoured of holy poverty, distributed his patrimony to the poor, and retired to a hospital, supposed to have been that of St. Mary Magdalen, attached to the neighbouring monastery of Silos, where he spent the re- mainder of his days humbly ministering to the sick.
Manes, the second son, also embraced the ecclesiastical state, and is said by the historians of Silos to have taken the Benedictine habit in the monastery of Gumiel d'Izan, a filiation from Silos, which afterwards passed into the hands of the Cister- cians.
At a later period, as we shall see, he became one of the first members of the Order of Preachers. By the dedication of both their sons to the service of the sanctuary, Don Felix and his wife were left without an heir to carry on the succession of their family, and desiring greatly to obtain from heaven the gift of yet another son, Donna Joanna resolved to present her petition to God through the intercession of St.
Dominic of Silos, a saint at that time renowned throughout Spain by the fame of his miracles. The monastery of Silos, which stands in the near vicinity of Calaroga, was, at the time of which we write, a majestic pile, the resort of pilgrims from every part of Spain ; and not only the shrine of the saint, but the very gates of the monastery, were thickly covered with votive offerings, 2 Aza is a small town not far from Aranda, on the southern bank of the Douro.
Time has respected the ancient abbey, which, though shorn of much of its former magnificence, still contains his holy relics, preserved in a silver urn ; and together with them, are shown the chalice used by the saint when celebrating Mass, his abbatial staff, and the little cell where he breathed his last sigh.
The rugged mountain road by which the abbey is approached is probably the same as that traversed by Joanna, and the pilgrim may still kneel on the spot where, seven centuries ago, she offered her fervent prayers.
With the approbation of the abbot, Joanna began a novena, spending not her days only, but her nights also in the church, the hard pavement of which was her only bed. On the seventh day of the novena the saint appeared to her, and declared to her that her prayers were heard, and that she would become the mother of a son who should be the light of the Church and the terror of heretics.
In gratitude she offered to the saint the child who was to be given her through his intercession, and promised that in memory of this favour he should bear the name of Dominic.
And it is added that before his birth she beheld her son in a dream or vision, represented under the figure of a black and white dog, holding in his mouth a torch which kindled and illuminated the entire world. The child thus obtained by prayer seemed marked even from his cradle as specially chosen for the service of God.Yes!
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