Fray Blas Rodríguez

† September 16, 1597

Fray Blas Rodríguez was forty-five years old and a Franciscan of Santa Olalla. He was of the strict order of the Alcatarian reform and “discalced,” which meant he wore no shoes, even in winter. He had been ordained for seventeen years, seven of those years spent in the New World at the missions.

Prince Juanillo and his companion renegades respected Fray Blas’ age, if nothing else, and permitted him to celebrate Mass and preach to them one last time before they executed him. He was unafraid to die, but was deeply saddened by the murderous actions of Juanillo and his companions. Fray Blas, anxious that there should be no sacrilege, would have taken the remaining consecrated hosts from the tabernacle and consumed them. After Mass, the young men watched as Fray Blas gave away his personal affects to the residents of the mission. Then they bound the priest tightly with rope (they were mindful of his vigor – they knew he would stop them from their vandalism if left untied) and made him watch as they impiously vandalized the chapel. After ripping the priestly vestments, destroying the retablos, and ruining the sacred vessels, the rebels clubbed the priest to death on September 16th, 1597 at the Mission of Tupiqui.

In the drawing, Fray Blas wears a faded, worn, and patched Franciscan habit, indicating his many years in the New World (the usual cincture, or rope belt, of a Franciscan habit with three knots to indicate the Trinity is not shown; see the previous drawing of Fray Pedro).

CREDIT: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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Credits/External Links
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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