St. Francis Solanus
July 14


St. [Francis] Solanus was a missionary member of the Order of Friars Minor who journeyed to South America aboard a slave ship which was grounded in a storm. When the ship was abandoned by the captain and crew, he remained behind with the slaves until they were rescued. This was in 1589; he went from Panama to Peru.

He was born at Montilla, in the Diocese of Cordova, Spain, March 10, 1549 and died in Lima, Peru, July 14, 1610. His parents, Matthew Sanchez Solanus and Anna Ximenes were of noble birth, but known more for their virtue and piety. After his ordination, he was sent by his superiors to the convent of Arifazza as master of novices. His missionary zeal was equalled by his fortitude --- nothing could stand in the way of evangelizing the vast and savage regions of Tucuman and Paraguay. So successful, was he in converting the indigineous peoples, that he has been called the Thaumaturgus of the labours in South America extended over a period of twenty years, during which time he spared nothing of himself. Notwithstanding the number and difficulty of the dialects spoken by the Indians, he learned them all in a very short time, and it is said that he often addressed tribes of different tongues in one language and was understood by them all.

Besides being engaged in active missionary work, he filled the office of custos of the convents of his order in Tucuman and Paraguay, and later was elected guardian of the Franciscan convent in Lima, Peru. In 1610, while preaching at Truxillo he foretold the calamities that were to befall that city, which was destroyed by an earthquake eight years later, most of the inhabitants perishing in the ruins. The death of St. Francis, which he himself had foretold, was the cause of general grief throughout Peru. In his funeral sermon at the burial of the Saint, Father Sebastiani, S.J., said that "Divine Providence had chosen Father Francis Solanus to be the hope and edification of all Peru, the example and glory of Lima and the splendour of the Seraphic Order". St. Francis Solanus was beatified by Clement X, in 1675, and canonized by Benedict XIII, in 1726. His feast is kept throughout the Franciscan Order on the twenty-fourth of July, while the feast for the Church in general is July 14.

Besides being the Patron of Argentina, he is the Patron of Bolivia, Chile, paraguay, and Peru.



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