Vicuña Larraín, Manuel

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Chilean archbishop, known for his conciliatory spirit; b. Santiago, April 20, 1778; d. Valparaíso, 1843. Manuel, son of Francisco Vicuña Hidalgo and Carmen Larraín Salas, studied at the Convictorio Carolino and later at the University of San Felipe. He received a degree in theology in 1802 and was ordained in March 1803. He was assigned to the church that had belonged to the Jesuits, where with other priests he lived a common life. He gave spiritual retreats and conducted fruitful missions in the rural area. In 1828 Leo XII appointed him titular bishop and apostolic vicar in Santiago. Upon the death of rodrÍguez zorrilla, Gregory XVI appointed Vicuña Larraín Bishop of Santiago (1832). In 1813, when the diocesan seminary became part of the Instituto Nacional, ecclesiastical students, secular as well as religious, preferred to study at the convents. Owing to Vicuña Larraín and to the minister, Joaquín Tocornal, the seminary was separated from the Instituto (1835). Santiago was raised to an archbishopric and the bishoprics of La Serena and Ancud were established during his episcopacy because of the Catholic tendencies of the government and of Vicuña Larraín's cooperative attitude (1840). From 1833 to 1836 he was also a councillor of state. From 1833 to 1838 he visited the diocese from the River Maule to Petorca. During his term of office, the Sacred Heart congregation was established in Chile, and the Jesuits returned. Vicuña Larraín also founded a retreat house in San José and a home for aged and infirm priests. P. de Leturia says that he was "the most prudent and able of all the Spanish-American bishops of his time."

Bibliography: l. f. prieto del rÍo, Diccionario biográfico del clero secular de Chile (Santiago de Chile 1922) 711712. f. araneda bravo, Obispos, sacerdotes y frailes (Santiago de Chile 1962).

[a. m. escudero]