Charged them to preach among the Albigensian heretics in Languedoc. For ten years (1205-1215) this mission in Languedoc was the work of Dominic's life.
This verdict of a fair-minded and highly competent Protestant church historian on the most controverted point of Dominic's career is of great value.
A sense of failure appears in Dominic's last sermon in Languedoc: "For many years I have exhorted you in vain, with gentleness, preaching, praying and weeping.
The threat that seems to be conveyed in these words, of trying to promote a new crusade, was never carried out; the remaining years of Dominic's life were wholly given up to the founding of his order.
In 1215 the bishop of Toulouse, Dominic's great friend, established them in a church and house of the city, and Dominic went to Rome to obtain the permission of Innocent III.
It propagated and spread with extraordinary rapidity, so that by Dominic's death in 1221, only five or six years after the first practical steps towards the execution of the idea, there were over 500 friars and 60 friaries, divided into 8 provinces embracing the whole of western Europe.
As St Dominic's character and work do not receive the same general recognition as do St Francis of Assisi's, it will be worth while to quote from the appreciation by Prof. Griitzmacher of Heidelberg: "It is certain that Dominic was a noble personality of genuine and true piety..
The chief sources for St Dominic's life are the account by Jordan of Saxony, his successor as master-general of the order, and the evidence of the witnesses at the Process of Canonization, - all in the Bollandists' Acta sanctorum, Aug.
The church preached Simon de Montfort's crusade, and organized Dominic's Inquisition; what Quinet calls the "Renaissance sociale par l'Amour" was extirpated by sword, fire, famine and pestilence.