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St. John of Avila: The life and influence of this future Doctor of the Church

2012-10-05

JUAN ESQUEDA BIFET
Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Urban University

“He was a man who converted people, and back then conversions, sometimes would ruin business transactions.  He was falsely accused in the Inquisition, and was prosecuted for almost two years. He spent a year in jail, where he faced a possible death sentence.”

He is remembered as a good spiritual teacher who touched people from all walks of life. Many priests would ask him for advice, so they too could improve their formation and preaching style. He also influenced many saints of his time.

JUAN ESQUEDA BIFET
Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Urban University

“He knew St. Ignatius of Loyola. Another example is St. Juan de Ribera who was his disciple. He also knew St. Therese. She actually sent him her biography. Nobody wanted to approve it, but St. John of Avila did. He said  everything she felt was that of God.”

In Spain he founded colleges and universities. In 1545 he experienced the opening of the Council of Trent and spent many years working on actually implementing the Council.

JUAN ESQUEDA BIFET
Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Urban University

“He dedicated much of his time to forming priests, which is what he asked for in the Council of Trent. He specifically asked for seminaries. He founded several seminaries, like the one in Córdoba and the University of Valencia which was both of the laity and the clergy.”

St. John of Avila died in Córdoba in 1569. But the last ten years of his life, he continued to teach, through letters. Eventually those writings influenced other saints. In 1946, Pius XII recognized all his work and named him a Patron saint of Spanish priests. Now, he will be recognized once again on October 7th, when he is named a Doctor of the Church.


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