Oré, Luis Gerónimo de

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Franciscan linguist and bishop; b. Ayacucho, Peru, 1554; d. Concepción, Chile, Jan. 30, 1630. Oré was one of 11 children (four of the boys became Franciscan priests, five of the girls became Poor Clares, and one boy became a diocesan priest), who were educated at home with special instruction in music, both instrumental and vocal. He grew up speaking Spanish, Quechua, and Aymará. After being ordained in Lima on Dec. 31, 1582, Oré first labored in Lima, preaching on Sundays and holydays to the Amerindians gathered in the plaza before the cathedral. He also helped to translate into Quechua the catechism of the Third Council of Lima.

He spent the years 1584 to 1598 as a missionary among the Collaguas people of southern Peru. This experience enabled him to write Sýmbolo cathólico indiano (Lima 1598), a synthesis of the material taught to the Collaguas together with many hymns translated or composed by Oré, many of which are still sung today. In 1598 he was appointed vicar of the convent of Lima, and he taught courses in the native languages Quechua and Aymará. This work was interrupted by an invitation from Antonio de Raya, Bishop of Cuzco, to supervise the instruction of the native people in his diocese. Other bishops soon gave him similar powers in Arequipa, La Paz, and Charcas.

In 1604 he went to Rome to present the ad limina report of Bishop Raya to the pope. While in Rome he printed in Latin Conciones per annum (1606), a work that he had prepared earlier in Quechua and Aymará but had not received royal permission to print in those languages. He also published Tratado de indulgentiis (1606) and, perhaps his greatest work, Rituale seu manuale peruanum (Naples 1607). This was intended primarily for the missionary in Peru with a special catechism for confession and Communion. It was printed in Latin, Spanish, Quechua, Aymará, Mochica, Puquina, Guaraní, and Brazilian. The Puquina sections are probably the largest fragments of that language still extant.

Preparing to return home from Spain, Oré received news of the death of Francis Solano (1610) and was charged with the task of collecting information in Spain for his cause. By 1613 the task was finished and published as Relación de la vida y milagros del Venerable P. Fray Francisco Solano (Madrid 1614). It remains the best source on the life of Francis before he left Spain.

In 1614 Oré led a group of Franciscan missionaries to Florida to inspect the Franciscan missions there and in Cuba. He organized the Franciscan province of Florida and moved the provincial's residence and the novitiate from St. Augustine to Havana. This novitiate was probably the first institution of its kind within the present limits of the United States. On his return to Spain in 1618, Oré published Relación de los mártires de la Florida. Shortly thereafter the king named him bishop of Concepción (formerly La Imperial), Chile. He was consecrated in Lima in 1621, and arrived in his see the next year. His diocese was in a deplorable condition since it had been vacant for 14 years, and native rebels had dominated the region of Osorno and Valdivia for 20 years, cutting communications between the northern and southern parts of the diocese. Oré visited his diocese three times, began a seminary, and energetically promoted the conversion of the indigenous tribes while protecting their rights through laws drawn up in a diocesan synod. He willed his fine library to the Franciscan friary in Concepción.

Bibliography: l. g. de orÉ, The Martyrs of Florida, 5131616, ed. and tr. j. m. geiger (New York 1937), also in Franciscan Studies 18 (1936), whole issue.

[a. s. tibesar]