Scholar; b. Quincy, Illinois, 1909; solemn profession in the Franciscan order, 1927; ordained 1934; d. 1992. One of the most influential scholars in Latin American Church history in the mid-twentieth century. His early career involved teaching Latin and European history at the major seminary of the St. Louis province of the Franciscans. At the onset of World War II, he was assigned to pursue graduate studies at the catholic university of america where he had first received an M.A. in medieval history, and subsequently a Ph.D. in Latin American history in 1950.
This assignment to Catholic University was at the request of the wartime delegate general of the North American Franciscans, Father Matias Faust, who wanted to establish a Franciscan center for the study of Franciscan experiences in the Western Hemisphere. Father Faust's initiative established the Academy of American Franciscan History, with which Father Antonine's career was intertwined for the bulk of the remainder of his life. He resided at the Academy from 1947 until 1988, and was its director on two occasions, 1954–63 and 1970–82. Beginning in 1948 he also taught in the history department at Catholic University, retiring as professor emeritus in 1974. He then went on to a second career at the University as a professorial lecturer in the department of church history until 1988.
His contributions to the field include numerous articles and monographs on the Franciscan experience in Peru, a four volume edition of the collected writings of Fray Junípero Serra, the California missionary, and a critical edition of the narrative of the seventeenth-century Peruvian missionary, Fray Miguel Biedma. He was also the associate editor responsible for Latin American topics in the 1967 edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. In the absence of any contemporary survey of the history of the Church in Latin America, this collection of entries, with key ones written by Tibesar himself, became the starting point on Latin American Church history for scholars and students of the late 1960s and 1970s.
As director of the Academy of American Franciscan history, he made the institution a major force in the field through its publication series, its sponsorship of scholarly meetings, and its patronage of scholarship and research. In addition to personally guiding the yearly publication of monographs, collections of letters of Franciscan missionaries in California, and the republication of important narrative accounts by missionaries in that series, Tibesar began an effort which continues to index the North American papers of the archives of the Congregation for the propagation of the faith in Rome. Between 1970 and 1988, he also edited The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History and was responsible for making it the second leading journal of Latin American history in the United States. He retired to a Franciscan parish in Louisiana in 1988 where he died in March 1992.
Bibliography: j. d. riley and v. peloso, "The Intellectual Odyssey of a Franciscan: The Early Career of Father Antonine Tibesar," The Americas, 44:3 (January 1988) 343–62. Franciscan Beginnings in Colonial Peru (Washington, D.C. 1953). The Writings of Junípero Serra In 4 (Washington, D.C. 1955–56). m. biedma, La conquista franciscana del Alto Ucayali (Lima 1981) "The "Alternativa": A Study in Spanish–Creole Relations in Seventeenth–century Peru" The Americas (1955) 229–83. "The Franciscan Doctrinero versus the Franciscan Misionero in Seventeenth–century Peru" The Americas (1957) 115–24. "The Franciscan Province of the Holy Cross of Española, 1505–1559" The Americas (1957) 377–89. "The Shortage of Priests in Latin America: A Historical Evaluation of Werner Promper's Priesternot in Latein Amerika" The Americas (1966) 413–20. "The Peruvian Church at the Time of Independence in the Light of Vatican II." The Americas (1970) 349–75. "The Lima Pastors, 1750–1820: Their Origins and Studies as Taken from Their Autobiographies" The Americas (1971) 39–51. "Raphael María Taurel, Papal Consul General in Lima, Peru, in 1853: Report on Conditions in Peru" Revista Interamericana de Bibliografía (1981) 36–69. "The Suppression of the Religious Order in Peru, 1826–1830 or the King Versus the Peruvian Friars: The King Won" The Americas (1982) 205–39. "The King and the Pope and the Clergy in the Colonial Spanish–American Empire" The Catholic Historical Review (1989) 91–109.
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