Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Alonso de Molina

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Molina, Alonso de, Franciscan friar, b. probably 1511 or 1512, at Escalona, province of Toledo, Spain; d. 1584, in the city of Mexico. In 1523 his parents came to New Spain, where he learned the Nahuatl, or Mexican language. The first twelve Franciscan missionaries who arrived in 1524, seeing how thoroughly versed he was in the language of the natives, begged Cortes to use his influence with the child's mother that he might be allowed to help them in their preaching and catechizing. The mother readily consented, and young Alonso became so attached to the fathers that he never left them. When he reached the required age he joined the Franciscan order, and for fifty years was indefatigable in his work among the Indians, devoting also some time to the numerous works which he left. In order to allow him to follow uninterruptedly his chosen work, his superiors relieved him of all cares of office, although there is record of his having been superior of the convent of Texcoco, in 1555. Although no great actions mark the life of Molina, he is nevertheless remarkable for his untiring zeal, and for the wonderful constancy with which, for half a century, he continued his work, resisting its monotony, overcoming all hardships and the opposition he often encountered. He left numerous works, the following unpublished: "Traduccion mexicana de las Epistolas y Evangelios de todo el ano"; "floras de Ntra. Sra. en mexicano"; many prayers and devotions for the Indians; "De Contemptu Mundi"; also a treatise on the sacraments. The following have been published: "Doctrina breve mexicana" (1571); "Vocabulario castellano mexicano" (1555); "Confesonario menor" (1565); "Confesonario mayor" (1565); "Doctrina Cristiana" (1578); "Arte mexicano" (1571); and "Vocabulario castellano mexicano y mexicano castellano" (1571, reprinted, Leipzig, 1880), the most important of his works.

Camillus Crivelli.