Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
Pope Benedict XVI has recently announced that he is pronouncing St. John of Avila a doctor of the church to be followed and studied as an example for Diocesan priests. According to Sr. Joan Gormley's article, “Saint John of Avila and the Reform of the Priesthood", St. John of Avila was, "born on the feast of the Epiphany in 1499 in Extremadura in the ecclesiastical province of Toledo, the only child of his parents. He spent four years at the University of Salamanca studying law (1513-1517), and then returned to his parents' home where he lived in seclusion for several years. On the advice of a Franciscan priest, the young man left his solitude and matriculated at the University of Alcala, an important center for humanistic studies in Spain, where he studied from 1520-1526. After ordination to the priesthood in 1526, Avila went to Seville to prepare for departure as a missionary to the new world. While waiting to set sail, the newly ordained priest engaged in catechesis and preaching, so impressing the priest with whom he lived and worked, Father Fernando Contreras, that he urged the Archbishop of Seville to keep Avila in Spain, where an enormous mission field had opened up with the end of Muslim domination. Thus, John Avila began the missionary work in Southern Spain that would earn him the title, "Apostle of Andalusia."