Peña Montenegro, Alonso de la

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Bishop of Quito; b. Villa de Padrón, Spain, April 29, 1596; d. Quito, May 12, 1687. In 1611 he entered the University of Santiago de Compostela, where he received the degrees of bachelor and licentiate in arts and philosophy. He continued his studies into theology, earning the doctorate in 1621. Two years later he won the position of teaching canon at the Colegiata de Iria and at the same time held a professorship at the University of Compostela. He had acquired these high ecclesiastical positions without becoming a priest, but in February of 1639, he was ordained and went to Salamanca to compete for a fellowship in the old Colegio de San Bartolomé. There he became a friend of Gaspar Bracamonte y Guzmán, later president of the Council of the Indies. In January of 1653 Peña Montenegro was appointed bishop of Quito and set out for the diocese with a large library and a retinue of 18 servants. He was consecrated in Bogotá by Abp. Cristóbal de Torres in April 1654, and took over his diocese September 23. After making his pastoral visitation, he wrote Itinerario para párrocos de Indias to instruct his clergy in parochial administration. He fostered vocations to the priesthood, restored the cathedral, founded the Carmelite monastery of Talacunga, helped in the establishment of the Dominican Colegio de San Fernando, served as interim president of the Audiencia, and promoted culture generally in the area.

[j. m. vargas]

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Peña Montenegro, Alonso de la

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