Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saint Pedro Poveda Castroverde

"I am a priest of Christ." -St. Pedro Poveda said when his persecutors asked him to identify himself.

"....St. Peter Poveda, grasping the importance of the role of education in society, undertook an important humanitarian and educational task among the marginalized and the needy. He was a master of prayer, a teacher of the Christian life and of the relationship between faith and knowledge, convinced that Christians must bring essential values and commitment to building a world that is more just and mutually supportive. His life ended with the crown of martyrdom...." -from a homily of Pope John Paul

Born and raised in a solidly Christian family, Pedro Poveda Castroverde (1874-1936) from an early childhood felt a call to the priesthood. In 1889, he then entered the diocesan seminary in Jaén. But because of some financial difficulties, he was transferred to the Diocese of Guadix, Grenada. On the 17th of April, 1897, he was ordained a priest and afterwards taught in the seminary, continued his studies, received his licentiate in theology in Seville in 1900. He also ministered in Guadix to a group of very poor people who lived in caves, built a school for children, and provided vocation training to the adults. However, because of some misunderstanding, he left for Covadonga, in the mountains of northern Spain, in 1906.

There in Covadonga, he devoted much time in prayer and reflected particularly on the problem of education in Spain. He then founded the Saint Teresa of Avila Academy, the foundation of Institución Teresiana in 1911. Then he joined the Apostolic Union of Secular Priests in 1912, wrote on the need for more teachers, and opened teacher training centers.

Fr. Poveda then moved to Jaén, and taught in the seminary, served as spiritual director of Los Operarios Catechetical Centre,
and worked at the Teacher Training College. Afterwards in Madrid, he opened Spain's first university for women in 1914.

Beatified on the 10th of October 1993 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized on the 4th of May 2003 by Pope John Paul II

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