Palau y Quer, Francisco, Bl.

views updated


Also called Francis of Jesus Mary Joseph; Discalced Carmelite (OCD), mystic priest, thaumaturge, and founder of the Theresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Missionary Carmelite Sisters; b. Aytona, Lérida (Lleida) Province of Catalonia, Spain, Dec. 29, 1811; d. Tarragona, March 20, 1872. Born into a poor but devout family, Francis Palau entered the seminary at Lérida in 1828. After studying philosophy and completing one year of theology, he joined the Discalced Carmelites (1832). He made his religious profession on Nov. 14, 1833 and was ordained a priest on April 2, 1836.

Upheaval in Spain at the time caused him to live outside the cloister in France from 1840 to 1851. Upon returning to Spain, he preached and gave missions in the Balearic Islands and in Barcelona, where he founded his "School of Virtue," a model for catechetical instruction. The school was suppressed upon the accusation that it was being used to foment labor strikes, and Francis was forced into exile, from 1854 to 1860, on the small barren island of Vedrá, off the coast of Ibiza.

When Francis was allowed to return to the mainland following the intervention of Queen Isabella II, he organized small communities of women (186061) in the Balearic Islands that later became the Theresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Missionary Carmelite Sisters. He also founded the now-defunct Brothers of Charity. Fr. Palau traveled to Rome to present his concerns to the pope (1866) and to serve as consultor to the bishops gathered for Vatican Council I (1870). He died peacefully at age 60 and was beatified by John Paul II on April 24, 1988.

Feast: Nov. 7 (Carmelites).

Bibliography: L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 16 (1988). gregorio de jesÚs crucificado, Braza entre cenizas: Biografía del R. P. Francisco Palau y Quer (Bilbao, Spain 1956).

[k. i. rabenstein]