Rojas, Simon de, St.
ROJAS, SIMON DE, ST.
Trinitarian priest, founder of the Congregation of the Servants of the Most Sweet Name of Mary (a secular institute); b. Oct. 20, 1552, Valladolid, Spain; d. Sept. 28, 1624, Madrid, Spain. The third of the four children of the noble Gregorio Ruiz de Navamanuel and Costanza de Rojas, Simon joined the Trinitarians at age twelve. He made his profession in Valladolid (1572) and was ordained priest upon completing his studies at Salamanca (1577). Thereafter he served the order in many capacities, including superior of the order; he became a famous preacher of missions; and, later in life, was appointed chaplain to the Spanish court of Philip III and tutor to the future King Philip IV (reigned 1621–65). He was offered, and declined, two bishoprics. His intense Marian devotion caused him to advocate for the liturgical inclusion of the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, promote the total consecration to the Blessed Mother throughout Germany and Spain, and found the Servants of the Most Sweet Name of Mary for the relief of the poor. When the priest affectionately known as "Padre Ave Maria" ("Father Hail Mary") died, he was given royal honors. Although Simon was beatified in 1766, political turmoil delayed his canonization until July 3, 1988.
Feast: Sept. 28.
Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1988): 847. f. de la vega y toraya, Vida del venerable siervo de dios, y finissimo capellan de Maria santissima padre maestro fray Simòn de Roxas (2d ed. Madrid 1760).
[k. i. rabenstein]