Yerovi, José María

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Franciscan bishop of Quito, noted for his sanctity; b. Quito, April 12, 1819; d. Quito, June 20, 1867. Yerovi received his intermediate education in the Colegio San Fernando, studied law in the University of St. Thomas, and received the title of attorney on Aug. 8, 1844. Shortly afterward, he sought admission to sacred orders and was ordained on May 31, 1845. After serving in two parishes, he was appointed chaplain of the monastery of Conceptas de Ibarra (February 1848). He remained there until 1852, with the exception of a brief term as deputy for Imbabura in the Constitutional Assembly in 1850. In December 1853, he was appointed vicar of Guayaquil, a post in which he showed extraordinary devotion. However, the regalistic regime put innumerable obstacles in the way of his pastoral work, and Yerovi was obliged to resign.

He fled to Pasto (1854), where he found refuge for his yearnings for penitence and piety in the Oratorio de San Felipe. He remained there until the political-religious storm provoked by General Mosquera broke out. He then entered the Franciscan Monastery of Cali (1862) and immediately began his novitiate, which was interrupted by the persecution. He was transferred to Lima, where he made his profession. The commisary, Friar Pedro Gual, took him as secretary on his visitation of the convents in Chile. When Yerovi returned to Lima to renew his life of mortification, he was appointed apostolic administrator of Ibarra. In this diocese, recently created by Pius IX at the request of President García Moreno, he increased his activity to care for the heavy work of organization, but very soon he was made coadjutor bishop of Quito, with the right of succession. On Aug. 5, 1866, he was consecrated.

Working zealously, he renewed the Eucharistic life in Quito, where it had been blighted by Jansenism, and spread the gospel as no other bishop had done. At his death he was widely mourned, for, as Juan Montalvo wrote, "such men as he come into the world only now and then." The case for his beatification was in progress in 1963.

Bibliography: j. tobar donoso, Il Ilmo Padre Fray José María Yerovi, O.F.M., arzobispo de Quito (Quito 1958). Cartas Pastorales (Publicadas por el Comité de Canonización; Quito 1954).

[j. tobar donoso]