St. Turibius

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of St. Turibius of Spain.  St. Turibius was born in 1538;  as a child he had a very Christian heart,  but never intended to be a priest or religious. He was educated in Law, and was so brilliant that he became professor of law at the University of Salamanca.
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His talent was noticed by the King, who made him chief judge of the ecclesiastical court of the Inquisition at Granada.  This was a surprising position for a layman to hold, but there was more to come.   
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In those days, Spain was extending it’s influence all over the New World. Now in Peru, corruption was everywhere, as Spanish explorers sought their fortune. Because corruption had also infected the church in Peru, it was almost powerless to convert the people to Christ.  It was therefore believed that only a person with great strength of character and a great mind could succeed there. And so, in a surprise move, Turibius, then a layman,  was recommended to be Archbishop of Lima, Peru!  
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He was shocked by this decision and protested, but to no avail.  At age 43, he was ordained a priest (evidently he agreed to it), then a bishop  and then immediately sent to Peru.  
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Arriving in Lima, he soon realized the enormous responsibility laid upon him.  His diocese stretched some 400 miles along the coast, and inland up the Andes mountains. Worse, was the attitude he found by the Spanish explorers.  They had come to make their fortune,  and they made the Indians serve that purpose, they were treated very badly. The vast distance between Peru and Spain made addressing issues of justice very difficult.  In all of this, religion seemed to be completely lost,  and the example given to the natives was only greed and self-indulgence.   
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Turibius set to work, first traveling through the vast, rugged diocese. He began by reforming the clergy and restored discipline to the priesthood.  He was inflexible and strict with regard to the scandals and sinful lifestyles that he saw.  Using his authority, he fought against the injustices and vice, and worked at protecting the natives from exploitation.   
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Turibius founded numerous churches, religious houses,  and hospitals, as well as the first seminary in the New World, and he also gave Confirmation to the future: St. Rose of Lima.  
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He made it a point to study and master the various Indian dialects, so that he could speak to the people in their own tongue.   Turibius visited every part of his diocese,  often staying for days with neither bed nor sufficient food, and he went to confession every day.   
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He earned a lot of enemies for himself, but he won scores of converts,  because the natives realized that he loved them more than gold.   
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St. Turibius is the patron saint of Peru, and of the rights of native peoples.

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