Venerable Peter of the Mother of God

Peter of the Mother of God

“Pedro Villagrasa (1565-1608), a native of Daroca (Zaragoza), was also studying at Alcalá when, at the early age of sixteen and a half, he joined the Carmelites at Pastrana, where he had John of Jesus and Mary as a fellow-novice. After his profession on 23 January 1583, he completed his studies for the priesthood at Alcalá. Very soon he was showing signs of the great oratorical talent for which he was so deservedly famous in later years.

It was probably about mid 1590 that Fr. Doria sent him to Rome to accompany and assist Juan de San Jerónimo who was going there as Procurator. Pedro’s work included going to the market to do the shopping and this gave him the opportunity to mix with people and learn Italian quickly, an invaluable opportunity for so promising a young preacher. There is evidence that he was in Genoa from 1593 to 1595, and it was here that his oratorical talent began to be noticed in high places. It even reached the ears of Cardinal Pinelli, protector of the Order, and that brought an invitation to preach the Lenten sermone in Rome in 1596. Such was the effect which his sermons produced in Rome that Pope Clement VIII immediately appointed him Papal Preacher, an office in which he was confirmed by both Leo XI and Paul V. It was Pedro’s fame that moved the Pope to request a Discalced monastery in Rome. So, when the superiors in Spain tried to raise difficulties lest Gracián find a way back and sought to bring the Carmelites who were in Rome back to Spain, the Pope exempted them from the jurisdiction of Spain and appointed Pedro Commissary of the new Congregation pending the election of a general by a chapter in due course. As we have said, the first general was Fr.Fernando in 1605. He was succeeded by Pedro in 1608, but Pedro died prematurely on 26 August of that year.”

Teresian Carmel: Pages of History by Idelfonso Moriones, ocd

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