Maldonado, Rodrigo de Arias (1637–1716)

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Maldonado, Rodrigo de Arias (1637–1716)

Rodrigo de Arias Maldonado (b. 25 December 1637; d. 23 September 1716), the moving force behind the organization in Guatemala of the religious order of Bethlehemites to serve the poor. Born into the Spanish nobility, Maldonado went with his parents as a child to Costa Rica, where his father served as governor. He took over the governorship when his father died in 1662. As governor of Costa Rica he subdued the Talamanca Indians, and he was expected to go on to higher posts. He moved to Santiago de Guatemala, opened a great house, and lived ostentatiously. He then came under the influence of Hermano Pedro de Bethancourt, who had established a hospital and was extending services to the poor. The king appointed Maldonado marquis de Talamanca, but he refused the honor and turned to a life of service. When Hermano Pedro died, leadership of the group known as the Bethlehemites passed to Maldonado, called Rodrigo de la Cruz within the church. Maldonado went to Rome in 1674 and again in 1685 to gain authorization to establish the order of the Bethlehemites. He then traveled to Mexico and Peru, founding hospitals and churches in the name of the new order. Upon his death he was buried in one of the churches that he had established in Mexico City.

See alsoBethlehemites .


Joseph García de la Concepción, Historia Belemitica, 2d ed. (1956).

Additional Bibliography

Lobo, Manuel. El hermano Pedro, un santo par ahoy: Relación de la vida y virtudes del beato hermano Pedro de San José de Betancourt. Guatemala: Librerías Artemis Edinter, 2002.

                                        David L. Jickling