St. Turibius of Mongrovejo
St. Turibius was born in 1538 in Leon, Spain. He became a university professor and then a famous judge. He was a fine Christian with a reputation for being honest and wise.
An unusual thing happened to him that changed his whole life. He was asked to become the archbishop of Lima, Peru. First of all, he was not a priest. Second, Peru was in far-away South America. This happened because Lima needed an archbishop. Many people in the Church realized that Turibius had the qualities for such a trusted position. He begged to be excused from the honor. But when he learned about the miserable condition of the native people of Peru, he could not refuse. He wanted to help them and to bring them the faith. He was ordained a priest and set out for Peru.
As Archbishop, St. Turibius traveled all over the country. He made his way over the snowy mountains on foot. He walked over the hot sands of the seashore. He built churches and hospitals. He started the first school in Latin America for the training of priests. Such a school is called a seminary. He learned the different native languages. He wanted the people to be able to listen to homilies at Mass and go to confession in their own language. He protected the natives who were often cruelly treated by their Conquerors.
St. Turibius loved the people of Peru. He spent the rest of his life as a priest and bishop for them. He died on March 23, 1606, at the age of sixty-eight. Pope Benedict XIII proclaimed St. Turibius a saint in 1726.
“Lord, through the apostolic work of Saint Turibius and his unwavering love of truth, you helped your Church to grow. May your chosen people continue to grow in faith and holiness.”