Aparicio, Sebastián de, Bl.

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Pioneer colonist in New Spain; b. Gudiña, Galicia, Spain, Jan. 20, 1502; d. Puebla, Mexico, Feb. 25, 1600. The son of poor peasants, Sebastián de Aparicio worked as a field hand during his adolescent years. In 1533 he sailed to Mexico and established his residence in Puebla de los Angeles. He worked there as a farmer, a road builder, and a trainer of young bulls, and he taught all those trades to the Indians. In 1542 he started the construction of the highway that later linked Mexico City and Zacatecas. He was married twice, but neither marriage was consummated. When his second wife died, he sold all his possessions and gave the proceeds to the poor.

At the age of 72 he received the friar's habit at the convent of San Francisco in Mexico City. He made his profession in 1575 and was assigned by his superiors to procure the daily bread by asking for charity at various convents. He carried out this task, a burdensome one for his old age, with great efficiency. He was noted for his extraordinary health and strong will; his humility and charity were outstanding. He was assigned to serve at the Franciscan house of studies in the convent of Puebla, and for 20 consecutive years he provided it with all the needed material goods. In like manner, he gave extensive help to all sorts of poor and needy people. Granted the grace to work miracles, he performed so many toward the end of his life that the bishop of Puebla, Diego Romano, determined to begin at once the canonical process for his beatification. Despite the fact that his miracles continued after his death, the process lasted for two centuries; his two marriages were among the main causes for the delay. Finally he was solemnly beatified by pius vi on May 17, 1787.

Feast: Feb. 25.

Bibliography: e. escobar, Vida del B. Sebastián de Aparicio (Mexico City 1958). c. espinosa, Fray Sebastián de Aparicio (Mexico City 1959). b. sÁnchez parejo, Vida y milagros del glorioso confesor de Cristo, el Padre Fray Sebastián de Aparicio, fraile lego de la Orden de San Francisco, de la Regular Observancia, ed. f. de j. chauvet (Mexico 1965). g. calvo moralejo, Emigrante (Madrid 1973). j. gallego fernÁndez, Beato Sebastián de Aparicio (Orense 1974).

[f. de j. chauvet]