Poveda Castroverde, Pedro, Bl.

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Priest, martyr, scholar, founder of the Teresian Institute, and Carmelite tertiary; b. Linares, Spain, Dec. 3, 1874; d. Madrid, Spain, July 28, 1936. Although Pedro desired to become a priest, his family experienced financial difficulties, and he lacked the means to continue his studies at the diocesan seminary at Jaen. Fortunately he was offered a scholarship by the bishop of Guadix to attend his seminary in southern Spain. Following his ordination in 1897, Father Poveda taught in that seminary. In 1900, he earned his licentiate in theology at Seville, then worked in Guadix and Madrid. In 1906, he was appointed canon of the Basilica of Covadonga in Asturias. He returned to his first seminary at Jaen to again teach theology.

Throughout his adult life, Poveda's primary apostolate was education. He built an elementary school and started workshops for the cave-dwellers of Guadix. In 1911, he founded Saint Teresa of Avila Academy as a residence for students that became the basis for the Teresian Institute, an organization dedicated to the formation of teachers. It received diocesan and civil approval in Jaen, then Vatican approbation in 1924. Additionally, Poveda initiated pedagogical centers, opened the first university residence for women in Madrid (1914), and served as the spiritual director of Los Operarios Catechetical Center. He also continued to take an active role in teacher formation. He published articles and pamphlets and founded several periodicals to advance pedagogy in Spain.

After moving back to Madrid (1921), Poveda was appointed chaplain to the Royal Palace and sat on the Central Board Against Illiteracy. He continued to guide the growth of the Teresian Institute as it spread to Chile and Italy (1934) until he was killed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. He was beatified on Oct. 10, 1993 by Pope John Paul II.

Feast: July 28.

Bibliography: La Radicalidad de una utopia: Pedro Poveda desde América (Buenos Aires, Argentina 1993). p. alastruÉ, Inquietud y conquista (Madrid 1976). d. gÓmez molleda, La escuela, problema social: en el centenario de Poveda (Madrid 1974); Pedro Poveda et son temps (Paris 1974); Pedro Poveda, hombre interior (Madrid 1971). d. mondrone, Un prete scomodo, 2d. ed. (Milan 1969). a. serrano de haro, Una figura del pensamiento español: Don Pedro Poveda Castroverde (Madrid 1974).

[k. i. rabenstein]

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