Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Fray Domingo de la Anunciación

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 1
Fray Domingo de la Anunciación

by Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier


Dominican missionary, b. at Fuenteovejuna, 1510; d. in Mexico, 1591. In the world his name was Juan de Ecija; his father was Hernando de Ecija. At the age of thirteen he asked to be admitted into the Order of St. Francis, but was refused. His father having died, he emigrated to New Spain (Mexico) with his elder brother, Hernando de Paz, who became secretary of the first royal audiencia.

Prosperity spoiled Hernando, but the younger brother, Juan, kept aloof from the temptations of wealth and ambition, and entered the Order of Dominicans in 1531, or 1532. He assumed the name of Domingo de Ia Anunciación, under which he thereafter was known. He was one of the most zealous instructors of the Mexican Indians in the sixteenth century. During the epidemic of 1545 he attended to the natives unceasingly, regardless of himself, and administered the sacraments, from Mexico as far south as Oaxaca, wandering on foot from village to village. In 1559, Fray Domingo, with three other priests and a lay brother, all of the Order of St. Dominic, accompanied Don Tristan de Arellano y Luna on his disastrous expedition to Florida. Shipwrecked, deprived of almost every resource, he suffered the worst. All attempts to penetrate inland failed, and the survivors had to go back as best they could. After his return to Mexico he continued as teacher among the Indians, but was twice prior of the convent of Santo Domingo at the capital, once prior of the convent of Puebla, four times master of novices, and definidor in various provincial councils. In 1585 he became blind and died six years later, universally regretted for his virtues and untiring devotion to the cause of religion and education, chiefly of the Indians. His elder brother, Hernando, finally induced by him to abandon the life of dissipation he had been leading, also became a Dominican, and rose to a high position in the order. Fray Domingo de la Anunciación has left, as far as is known, only one literary monument, which is very rare. It bears the title: "Doctrina Xpiana Breve y Compendiosa &ca &ca" (Mexico, 1565), and is a dialogue between master and pupil on the Christian doctrine, in Spanish and Mexican.

The biography of Fray Domingo is based almost exclusively upon the work of Fray AGUSTÍN DAVILA PADILLA: Historia de la Fundación y discorso de la provincia de Santiago de México de la orden de Predicadores (first edition, Madrid, 1596; second, Brussels 1625; third, with a different title, valladolid, 1634). The book is exceedingly rare. That the Doctrina Xpiana was said to be printed in 1545, instead of 1565, is an error due to Padilla. That error was repeated by NICOLAS ANTONIO, Biblioteca Hispana Nova (1670); by LEON Y PINELO, Epítome de la Biblioteca Oriental y Occidental (Madrid, 1738), II; and BÉRISTAIN DE SOUZA, Biblioteca hispano-americana setentrional (Mexico, 1816), to be finally corrected by GARCIA YCAZBALCETA, Bibliografía mexicana del Siglo XVI (Mexico, 1886), in which book the frontispiece of the Doctrina is given, with numerous data on the life of the author. On the Florida mission see Documentos inéditos de Indias; BUCKINHAM-SMITH, Colección de Documentos para la Historia de la Florida; CÁRDENAS Y ZCANO (pseudonym for Bárcia), Ensayo cronológico para la Historia de la Florida; GERÓNIMO DE MENDIETA, Historia Eclesiástica indiana (published by Ycazbalceta); WOOOBURY-LOWERY, Spanish Settlements in the United States, I.

AD. F. BANDELIER