Witnesses to the Truth: The Remains of the Servants of God

The Remains of Fray Francisco de Veráscola


In the last week of October the expedition headed by Governor Mendez de Canzo and including Fray Blas de Montes had reached the area of Guale, prepared to visit the several sites where the friar-missionaries had been slain. During the next two to three weeks several landings were made by the party.


Having learned that there was a concentration of rebels at Ospo (Jekyll Island), the expeditionary force made a landing at that site on October 29, notwithstanding a hostile reception. There they were able to retrieve some religious articles (a missal, a breviary and a chalice-veil) as well as a sombrero and the scalp of a tonsured friar. As the agent of the Franciscan Custody, Fray Blas received these relics into his care. 2

In a preliminary questioning of some natives, held in the Villa de San Pedro (Cumberland Island) on October 22, one of them had attested that the body of Fray Francisco had been buried in the church of Asao (St. Simons Island).3 This obviously was a false rumor, which seems to have received no credence; there is no record that the Governor visited Asao or sent a party there to search for the body. Perhaps there was no follow-through on this statement because in reality there was no church on Asao at that time. Fray Francisco was still in the process of gathering materials for its construction; for that reason, according to Oré, he had gone to San Agustin before the outbreak of the Revolt.4

Writing more than a decade after the slaying of the friars, Oré reports that the assassins themselves buried Veráscola's body right after he had been killed. Oré gives no indication as to where at that time the body was believed to have been buried.5 Presumably the mutilated corpse was buried not too far from the inlet. There is no record that the body was ever found at any subsequent date.

Ibid., 308.

Ibid., 305.

Oré, ed. López, I: 103; Geiger, Martyrs, 93. See above, 69, 76.

Oré, ed. López, I: 103; Geiger, Martyrs, 94.

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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