Sahagún, John of, St.

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Augustinian preacher and reformer, patron of city and Diocese of Salamanca; b. John González, at Sahagún (formerly San Facundo), Asturias, Spain, 1429; d. Salamanca, Spain, June 11, 1479. John was educated by the benedictines of Sahagún Abbey, patronized by Bp. Alfonso of Burgos, and ordained in 1445; he soon renounced his plural benefices, studied Canon Law four years at Salamanca University, and devoted himself to parish work at Burgos. Nine years later, as the result of a vow he made before an operation, he entered the augustinians at Salamanca (1463). Novice master, prior (147173, 147779), wonder-worker, and visionary, John had special gifts as preacher, as penetrating confessor, and in those feud-torn times as peacemaker. Almost single-handedly he reformed Salamanca. But his denunciation of vice and of oppression by landlords against their tenantry brought assassination attempts by the Duke of Alba and others. He died probably of poisoning. Beatified in 1609, he was canonized in 1690. Iconography shows him holding a chalice.

Feast: June 12.

Bibliography: john of seville, Vita, Acta Sanctorum June 3:115125. alfonso of orozco, Vida (1570), repr. in m. vidal, Agustinos de Salamanca (Salamanca 1751) v.1. t. cÁmara y castro, Vida de San Juan de Sahagún (Salamanca 1891; El Escorial 1925). g. de santiago vela, Ensayo de una biblioteca iberoamericana de la orden de San Agustín, 7 v. in 8 (Madrid 191331) 7:724. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 2:526527. p. luna, San Juan de Sahagun, Angel de la paz (Madrid 1998).

[r. i. burns]