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Sunday, October 19, 2014
St. Peter of Alcantara

1955 Calendar (Double): October 19

St. Peter of Alcantara was born the son of Peter Garavita, governor of the palace.  His mother was a member of the noble family of Sanabia.

As a youth, Peter studied grammar and philosophy at Alcantara, and both civil and canon law at Salamanca University. At the age of 16, St. Peter became a Franciscan at Manjarez.

St. Peter founded the friary at Babajoz at the young age 20, and served as its superior at a remarkably young age. He was ordained a priest in 1524 at age 25 and quickly became a noted preacher.

A recluse by nature, he lived at the convent of Saint Onophrius, a remote location where he could study and pray between missions. In 1538, he became the Franciscan provincial for Saint Gabriel in Estremadura, Spain. He worked in Lisbon, Portugal in 1541 to help reform the Order. Shortly thereafter in 1555 he started the Alcantarine reforms, now known as the Strictest Obeservance. St. Peter became the Commissioner of his Order in Spain in 1556 and then the Provincial of his reformed Order in 1561.

He was a friend and confessor of Saint Teresa of Avila, and assisted her in 1559 during her work to reform her own Order. St. Peter is known as a mystic and writer whose works were used by Saint Francis de Sales.

He died on October 18, 1562 or natural causes.  He was canonized on April 28, 1669, by Pope Clement IX.


Almighty God, look upon our weakness and the heavy burden we carry because of our own deeds. Let the prayers of Your blessed martyr bishop Peter, in heaven, be our protection. Through our Lord . . .


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