Oré, Luis Gerónimo de (c. 1554–1630)

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Oré, Luis Gerónimo de (c. 1554–1630)

Luis Gerónimo de Oré (b. ca. 1554; d. 30 January 1630), Peruvian Franciscan, linguist, and first American-born bishop of Concepción, Chile. Luis Gerónimo was born in Guamanga. His father, Antonio de Oré, was one of Peru's early settlers; his mother, Luisa Dias de Roxas y Rivera, inherited the encomienda of Hanan Chilques. The family's fortune was based on Indian tributes and labor and on silver mines in the Guamanga district. Luis Gerónimo had several brothers and sisters; four brothers became Franciscans; three sisters were founders of the Poor Clares Convent in Guamanga. At fourteen Oré journeyed to Cuzco to become a Franciscan novice. He continued his studies in Lima at the University of San Marcos and was ordained by Archbishop Toribio de Mogrovejo on 23 September 1581.

Oré was fluent in Latin, Quechua, and Aymara and probably participated in the preparation of a Peruvian catechism ordered by the Third Church Council of Lima and published in 1584. In the mid-1580s Oré was assigned to the Collaguas Doctrina near Arequipa, where he perfected his translation skills and finished important dictionaries and grammars in Quechua and Aymara (now lost), as well as the Sýmbolo Cathólico Indiano (1598) and the Rituale seu Manuale Peruanum(1607). By 1600 he was preaching in the mining center of Potosí, Bolivia, and later received an Indian parish in Cuzco. Cuzco's Bishop Antonio de la Raya appointed Oré to represent the diocese in Europe in a jurisdictional dispute with Charcas. Oré spoke before the Council of the Indies in Valladolid, Spain, in the spring of 1605. By winter Oré was in Rome, where the massive Rituale, a manual for the administration of the sacraments in Andean America, was published.

In 1611 Oré was back in Spain, and was appointed to lead a group of missionaries to Florida. While collecting a contingent of friars, he met Peruvian historian El Inca Garcilaso De La Vega in Córdoba in early 1612. The two discussed Peru's past and Florida's prospects. Unable to set out on his mission in 1612, Oré helped collect another group of Franciscan friars for the Venezuelan missions later that year. He also was ordered to conduct an inquiry into the Andalusian years of Francisco Solano, a Franciscan whose beatification was advocated by many. Oré quickly finished the Relación de la vida y milagros del Venerable Padre Fr. Francisco Solano de la Órden de San Francisco (1614).

Oré reached Saint Augustine, Florida, in the latter part of 1614, and again for a second inspection in November 1616. He conducted a thorough inspection of the province and held the first general chapter of the order in Florida. Before completing his work as general commissioner, he collected material for his Relación de los mártires de la Florida (1619). Perhaps during his return voyage to Spain he composed a long poem dedicated to the Virgin: Corona de la sacratíssima Virgen María … (1619).

On 17 August 1620 he was appointed bishop of La Imperial (Concepción, Chile). He traveled to Chile via Panama and Peru. When he arrived there in 1623, Concepción was a modest garrison on the Araucanian frontier. Oré's last years were troubled by conflict with both secular and religious authorities. He conducted an inspection of the distant Chiloé missions and established a seminary at Concepción. He consistently required solid training for mission clergy, stressing knowledge of native languages. He advocated peaceful Indian-European relations. His death in Concepción in early 1630 ended a period of peaceful coexistence on the Bío-Bío frontier.

See alsoFranciscans; Missions: Spanish America; Saint Augustine.


Antonine Tibesar, Franciscan Beginnings in Colonial Peru (1953).

Noble David Cook, "Beyond the Martyrs of Florida: The Versatile Career of Luis Gerónimo de Oré," in Florida Historical Quarterly 71 (October 1992).

Additional Bibliography

Cook, Noble David. "Tomando posesión: Luis Gerónimo de Oré y el retorno de los Franciscanos a las doctrinas del Valle del Colca." In El hombre y los Andes. Homenaje a Franklin Pease, vol. 2., Rafael Varón Gabai and Javier Flores Espinoza, editors. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2002.

Oré, Luis Jerónimo de. Symbolo Catholico Indiano. Lima: Australis, 1992.

Richter, Federico. Fr. Luis Jerónimo de Oré, O.F.M., Obispo de Concepción. Santiago de Chile: Archivo Franciscano, 1990.

                                        Noble David Cook

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Oré, Luis Gerónimo de (c. 1554–1630)

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