Acclaimed by Four Centuries: History of the Cause

The Martyrs' Story Hardly Known


Prior to the take-over of the former Spanish territory by the Protestant ethos, and thereafter even more completely, other untoward circumstances had contributed to lessen the awareness of our nation's mission period, at the same time obfuscating the memory of the martyrdom of these Servants of God.


Whatever literature would perpetuate the saga of the friars and their deeds was written almost exclusively in Spanish, and for the most part published in Spain. For centuries, Spain has had a history of recurrent anticlericalism; and this did not fail to cast its shadow on Spain's literary output. In anti-clerical Spain, if the protagonists of any event were priests or religious, there was less than enthusiastic acceptance of what should have been recognized as the story of heroic living and dying.

Add to that the fact that the American reading public, in general, shared a widespread indifference to things Hispanic. In North American scholarly and intellectual circles, until well into the twentieth century, the story of the Spanish colonizing effort in the United States and in Latin America occupied a decidedly secondary place. Acerbating that problem, in Spain itself interest in those former colonies which had passed to the orbit of AngloAmerican culture was not intense. If for commercial or strategic reasons United States interest in Latin America and the Philippines did gradually grow, the story of Spain's two centuries in La Florida was rarely recalled or expounded. Relatively little resource material treating of Spain's role in our history was available to scholars and researchers, while the ordinary reader would have had little or no interest in-discovering the full story of our national beginning.

For an accumulation of these many factors, universities and centers of research and scholarship in the United States quite generally were indifferent to, when not deliberately disdainful of, the part played by Catholic Spain in the development of the land.

”Rule of l221," ch. 16:10-11, in The Writings of Saint Francis, trans. Ignatius Brady (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1983) 77. Henceforth, Brady.

St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis, chap. 12: I, trans. Benen Fahy in Marion A. Habig (ed.), St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis, 4lh rev. ed. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983), 721. Cited henceforth as Omnibus.

Ibid., chap. 3:1, pp. 646-47.

Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis, chap. JO: 29, trans. Placid Hermann in Omnibus, 247.

Ibid., chap. I 5, p. 258.

Bonaventure, Major Life, chap. 9:5, in Omnibus, 701.

St. Francis, "Letter Addressed to the Whole Order," in Brady, 121.

CREDIT: REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
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REPORTATIO SUPER MARTYRIO SERVORUM DEi PETRI DE CORPA ET SOCIORUM EJUS ANNO DOMINI 1597 IN FLORIDA OCCISORUM (Editio Tertia "Positionis", 7 Maii 2002)
The First Georgia Missions: Our Southern Catholic Heritage, Dr. Paul Thigpen and Katherine Ragan. Illustrations by Pamela Gardner, based on the retablo by Dan Nichols. This retablo is part of the parish patrimony of Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Jasper, Georgia

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