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Mota y Escobar, Alonso de la

MOTA Y ESCOBAR, ALONSO DE LA

Mexican bishop; b. Mexico City, 1556; d. Puebla, April 15, 1625. He was educated at the Dominican convent in Mexico City, earning a doctorate in theology. After serving as a curate in Chiapas, he was sent to Spain by the University of Mexico; there he eventually became tutor to the future King Philip II. After receiving his degree in canon law from the University of Salamanca, he returned to Mexico to become dean successively of Michoacán, Tlaxcala, and Mexico City. He twice refused appointment as bishop (of Nicaragua and later of Panama) before accepting the See of Guadalajara in 1597. His work among the indigenous people earned him considerable fame, particularly during the rebellion in the Serranía of Topía in 1601. Preaching to the rebels in their own language, he exhorted them to remain obedient. Through a policy of care, gentleness, and justice he succeeded in pacifying them while at the same time he won the Spaniards over to better treatment of the indigenous tribes. One result of his labors was the baptism of five important caciques. In 1608, Bishop Mota y Escobar was transferred to the see of Puebla de los Angeles, where he founded several hospitals, the Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús, the convent of Trinidad, the monastery of Carmen y Santa Ines, and several chapels.

Bibliography: m. cuevas, Historia de la Iglesia en México, 5 v. (5th ed. Mexico City 194647).

[e. j. goodman]

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