Carvajal, Luisa de

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Spanish ascetic who ministered to persecuted English Catholics; b. Jaraicejo (Cáceres), Spain, Jan. 2, 1568; d. London, Jan. 2, 1614. Luisa, of noble birth, was orphaned at the age of 6, and raised by her aunt and uncle at Pampeluna (Pamplona), where she showed early evidence of sanctity. She refused either to marry or to become a nun; instead, after the death of her aunt and uncle, she vowed herself to poverty and prayer with a group of women from her uncle's household. After 12 years she was permitted by her Jesuit confessor to fulfill a long-cherished desire to minister personally to persecuted English Catholics. Upon reaching London (1606) she gathered helpers, who lived in poverty and visited sufferers in their homes and in prison. She feasted the prisoners John roberts and Thomas Somers the night before their martyrdom (1610). The government, complaining that she did more to convert Protestants than 20 priests, twice imprisoned her. She was released only at the request of the Spanish ambassador, who probably could not have prevented her eventual deportation, had she not died in his residence on her 46th birthday. Her body was taken back to Spain. Among her numerous charities were funds to found the English Jesuit novitiate in Flanders.

Bibliography: g. fullerton, Life of Louisa de Carvajal (London 1873), based on a full-length contemporary biog. by l. muÑoz (Madrid 1632).

[d. m. rogers]

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Carvajal, Luisa de

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