St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, born into a wealthy Spanish family in 1538 served as law professor and as a judge at the court of Inquisition in Spain before he began his works of mercy by bringing Christ’s teachings to South America. The praise he earned from the King of Spain led the pope to appoint Turibius archbishop of Lima, Peru. Turibius first refused for he was not a priest and had never been to South America. Convinced by Turbius’ holiness and courage, the pope ignored his refusal. In 1578, he was ordained a priest and sent to Peru.
Colonialism had invaded Peru, and greedy Spanish conquerors had taken over the land oppressing the people of Peru. In some cases, even priests were joining the Spanish leaders in their efforts to tyrannize the people of Peru.
Upon his arrival, Turibius began visiting every parish and mission in his diocese. For seven years, he traveled solo on foot suffering through areas plagued by wild animals and diseases. Without catechisms or Bibles in their language and no priests for their missions, the native people had little idea about Christianity. Turibius learned the indigenous language and then began gathering the bishops to form the Third Council of Lima. They printed catechisms in the native tongue and set up classes to reform the corrupt priests and regulate sacraments.
He spent his life baptizing and confirming nearly 500,000 souls including St. Rose of Lima and St. Martine de Porres. He built hospitals and convents and established the first seminary in the new world.
- Patron Saint of Peru
- Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726
- Feast Day: March 23