Testera, Jacobo de

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Franciscan missionary; b. Bayonne, France, date unknown; d. Mexico, Aug. 8, 1543. Testera spent nearly 20 years as a Franciscan in Spain, principally in the area of Seville, before crossing over to the New World. In 1529 he came to New Spain with a group of missionaries led by Antonio de Ciudad Rodrigo. He began preaching there even before he had mastered any of the native languages, making use of paintings and interpreters to explain the doctrines of the faith. He was elected custos of the Custody of the Holy Gospel in 1533, becoming superior of all the Franciscans in Mexico. He visited the province of Michoacán and sent a large detachment of missionaries there. In 1534 he sent Toribio motolinÍa to Guatemala with a group of friars while he himself went to Yucatán where he established a mission in the area of Champotón. His work was disrupted by the Spanish soldiers, who, in their quest for slaves to work in mines, stirred up the Indians against all things Spanish. He represented the Mexican Franciscans at the general chapter of the order in Mantua in 1541. While there he was appointed commissary general of the Franciscans in the New World. Returning to Mexico, he brought with him 150 friars for the missions.

[f. b. warren]