Turibius of Mongrovejo
Saint Turibius de/of Mo(n)grovejo or Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo was a Spanish judge of the court of the Inquisition and missionary Archbishop of Lima from the Spanish nobility.
Born in Mayorga de Campos, Valladolid, Spain, of noble family and highly educated, Turibius was named after another Spanish saint, Turibius of Astorga. He became professor of law at the highly reputed University of Salamanca. His learning and virtuous reputation led to his appointment as Grand Inquisitor of Spain by king Philip II on the Court of the Inquisition at Granada. During this time, he was ordained priest in 1578 and sent to Peru. Though not yet of ecclesiastical rank, Turibius was named Archbishop of Lima, Peru, in May 1579.
He arrived at Paita, Peru, 600 miles from Lima, on 24 May 1581. He began his mission work by travelling to Lima on foot, baptizing and teaching the natives. His favourite topic was: "Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it." Three times he traversed the 450,000 square kilometers of his diocese, generally on foot, defenceless and often alone; exposed to tempests, torrents, deserts, wild beasts, tropical heat, fevers and savage tribes; baptizing and confirming nearly one half million souls, among them St. Rose of Lima, St. Francis Solano, St. Martin de Porres and St. John de Massias.
He built roads, schoolhouses and chapels, many hospitals and convents, and at Lima, in 1591, founded the first seminary in the Western hemisphere. He inaugurated the first part of the third Lima Cathedral on 2 February 1604.
Turibius assembled thirteen diocesan synods and three provincial councils. He was seen as a champion of the rights of the natives against the Spanish masters. "There was great opposition to Turibius from the governors of Peru whose authority he challenged," Elizabeth Hallam has written. "He learned local dialects so that he could communicate with-and convert-the native peoples, and he was a strong and effective champion of their rights."
Years before he died, he predicted the day and hour of his death. At Pacasmayo he contracted fever, but continued labouring to the last, arriving at Sana (or Sana) in a dying condition. Dragging himself to the sanctuary he received the Viaticum, expiring shortly after on 23 March 1606.
Turibius de Mogrovejo was beatified by Pope Innocent XI in 1679 and canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. His liturgical feast was once celebrated on 27 April, but currently on March 23. His cult was once confined mainly to South America, but now more widespread because of his pioneering reforms.
Elizabeth Hallam (ed.), Saints: Who They Are and How They Help You , 27.
Sources and references
TURIBIUS of Mogroveio
His biography at Lives of the Saints
Short biography at MSN Encarta
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