Pareja, Francisco

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Mercedarian chronicler; place and date of birth unknown; d. Sept. 9, 1688. Nothing is known of his early years, not even his parents' names. He probably studied at the Mercedarian convent in Mexico City. In 1652 he was in Spain. He was the first rector of the San Ramón Nonato College in Mexico City (1654); professor of theology at the University of Mexico (1656); provincial twice (1655 and 1668); and provincial chronicler (1671). His main literary work was Crónica de la provincia de la Visitación de Ntra. Sra. de la Merced redención de cautivos, de Nueva España, which was completed Nov. 4, 1687. It remained unedited for two centuries. Cristobal de Aldana published a compendium of it about 1770; this edition was poorly printed and lacked a press signature. Juan Rodríguez Puebla (17981848), Mexican educator, made a manuscript copy of Pareja's Crónica. This copy was taken to Europe in 1869 and sold to a London bookseller, but was not published. The original manuscript, signed by Pareja, was discovered in Mexico and then published in two volumes in 188283. The unsigned preface contains historical information on Pareja and the vicissitudes the manuscript had gone through. The Crónica has three distinct parts: the first is an account of the Mercedarian pioneers in Mexico; the second is concerned with the Mercedarians who came to Mexico in 1576 to found a permanent community and carries the history to 1687; the third part is a collection of documents, added by editors, bringing the history of the order up to 1844. Pareja's purpose was to support his claim that the Mercedarians came to Mexico before the Franciscans, Dominicans, or Augustinians. The Crónica is very useful for the history of the Mercedarian Order. Two copies are extant: one in the library of the Museo de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City; the other in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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