Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Luisa de Carvajal

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Born 2 Jan., 1568, at Jaraizejo, Spain; died 2 Jan., 1614, at London, a lady of high birth, who received from God what appears to have been a special vocation to go to England and minister to those who were suffering for the Faith. Left an orphan at the age of six, she was brought up by her uncle and aunt at Pampeluna, where she showed evidence of extraordinary sanctity. She resolutely refused to marry; yet she had no attraction to the religious life. On the death of her aunt and uncle she collected a few women of her uncle's former household, and they led a life of prayer together. This continued for twelve years, until her Jesuit confessor at length allowed her to fulfil her desire of setting out for England, in 1605. On arriving in London, Luisa assembled a little community similar to the former one at Pampeluna. She spent her time in visiting those in prison, and going to the houses of others in danger of apprehension. She had the happiness of ministering to Father Roberts, O. S. B., and Thomas Somers, a secular priest, immediately before their martyrdom. Her life attracted the attention of the authorities, who said she was doing more to convert Protestants than twenty priests. On two occasions pretexts were found for putting her in prison; on each occasion she was released at the instance of the Spanish ambassador. Attempts were then made with the latter to procure her removal from the kingdom. These would probably in the end have succeeded, had they not been prevented by her death which occurred on her forty-sixth birthday.

A Spanish Life was published in 1632; LADY GEORGIANA FULLERTON, Life of Louisa de Carvajal, in Quarterly Series (London, 1873, 1881, 1889).

Bernard Ward