Arias, Francis

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Jesuit theologian and spiritual writer; b. Seville, 1533; d. there, May 15, 1605. His work as a Jesuit included a four-year professorship in theology at the University of Cordoba and two successive terms as rector of the colleges at Triguero and Cadiz. Among his contemporaries Arias was known for his rigorous discipline and observance. In a letter to C. acquaviva in 1594, a fellow Jesuit described him as a holy man, exemplary, devout, and spiritual. Renown has come to him primarily because of his spiritual writings. In 1588 he wrote Exhortación al aprovechamiento espiritual, in which he discussed spiritual progress, mistrust of self, and mental prayer. The work was later translated into other languages. Libro de la imitación de Cristo nuestro Señor and Contemptus Mundi, among his other works, gave him a reputation as another Thomas à Kempis, despite the fact that his style lacked the simplicity and brevity of à Kempis. St. Francis de Sales admired his works.

Bibliography: a. astrain, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la Asistencia de España, 7 v. (Madrid 190225) v. 4. j. de guibert, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1:844855. c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 1:540549. Enciclopedia universal ilustrada Europeo-Americana, 70 v. (Barcelona 190830) 6:174.

[d. m. barry]