Francis of Osuna

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Franciscan priest whose writings greatly influenced St. Teresa; b. Osuna, Sevilla province, Spain, c. 1497; d. 1542 (place unknown). Although he was born of parents attached to a noble household, little is known of Osuna's early life. As a young friar he was sent to the University of Salamanca where, without neglecting his studies, he devoted considerable time to prayer and contemplation. He spent the years 1527 to 1531 mostly in Seville. Later he was chosen to represent his Order at chapters in Toulouse (1532) and Paris (1533). Afterwards he spent some time in Flanders, but the cold, damp climate affected his always delicate health. At some time between 1530 and 1535, his Order elected him Franciscan commissary general to the Indies, an office he never exercised, either because of ill health or because he felt his vocation lay in writing. From Flanders he returned to Spain. The circumstances of his death are unknown.

Osuna is known chiefly for his Abecedario Espiritual (Spiritual Alphabet), 1527, which so greatly influenced St. Teresa. The work is in six parts, treating respectively of the Passion, asceticism, prayer and the contemplative life, love, poverty and riches, and of Christ's wounds.

Bibliography: e. a. peers, Studies of the Spanish Mystics, 2v. (2d ed. rev. London 1951), v.1 includes a full bibliography. r.p. fidÈle de ros, Un Maître de sainte Thérèse (Paris 1937). Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada EuropeaAmericana 44 (Barcelona 190830) 991992.

[k. e. pond]

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Francis of Osuna

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