Saint Peter of Alcantara: the Spanish Saint proclaimed Patron Saint of Brazil


In 1826, Pope Leo XII, in response to a request from Dom Pedro I, proclaimed Saint Peter of Alcantara the patron saint of Brazil.

Newsroom (October 19, 2021, 4:10 PM, Gaudium Press) Few people know that Our Lady of Aparecida is not the only patron saint of Brazil, nor was she the first, chronologically speaking. Before this Marian invocation was proclaimed as patroness of our nation, another saint had already earned this title: Saint Peter of Alcantara, whose liturgical memory is remembered this October 19.

Born in 1499 in the Spanish city of Alcantara, Pedro was used to a life of prayer from an early age. During his studies at the University of Salamanca, he discovered his vocation and decided to enter the Franciscan Order, even though his father wanted him to become a lawyer.

Example and model of sanctity

Once ordained a priest he became superior of several convents, where he was always seen as a model of a life of prayer, fasting, detachment from material goods and penance, following the norms of the community.

In order to offer the religious the opportunity to live out more mortification, prayer and meditation, Saint Peter of Alcantara founded the Franciscan branch of “strict observance” or “Alcantarines”. The Saint died in 1562, at the age of 63.

Patron Saint of Brazil

Saint Peter of Alcantara was also the confessor of King Dom João III of Portugal, and for this reason, he later became the saint of the devotion of the Royal Family, who chose his name for the two emperors of Brazil – Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II. In 1826, Pope Leo XII, in response to a request from Dom Pedro I, proclaimed São Pedro de Alcântara the patron saint of Brazil. (EPC)

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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