This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 23 -- Feast of St. Turibius

The guy on the right is not Turibius. He's Blessed Metodi Domenico Trcka. He got included for two reasons. First, The Beard. Since I started including pictures (even if I can't make thumbnails stick), I've become mindful of the most striking images of the saints. That's one fine beard, for sure.

Second, The Name. Trcka. It has a vowel, but it doesn't really help, does it?

But now to Turibius. He is known as Turbius of Mogrovejo to distinguish him from... no one. There are no other saints named Turibius. There aren't even any other people named Turibius. Not now, not ever.

Turibius was a brilliant Spanish law prof who, for a time, worked as a counselor in the Inquisition. I don't know how many Inquisitors have been canonized -- perhaps more than I'd like to believe. But I imagine that it must have been a little hard to make full saint while racking, branding, and executing fellow humans.

He was brilliant enough that he was appointed Archbishop of Lima, the capital of New Spain. At the time, he wasn't even a priest, so they had to expedite the whole ordination / consecration thing. Maybe that's why he was King Phillip II's second choice. As second choice for the job I hold, I have some small kinship there.

The cool thing about Turibius is that he took his mission to the natives seriously. He learned Quechua and crisscrossed South America four times, through desert, jungle, and mountains, staying with the natives where he had not established missions. He was an advocate for them (often against the interests of the Viceroy and civil colonial administrators) in his relations with Old Spain.

He died of natural causes on one of his journeys around South America after having wrested control of the seminary from the Viceroy (and banned weapons therein), founded a home for women, a convent for nuns, and a hospital for sick priests. His body was buried locally, but then re-interred in Lima, where it reposes today. He is the patron of Peru.

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