Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur

Peter Of Saint Joseph Betancur

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Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur

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Brother Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur (March 21, 1626 (Tenerife)—April 25, 1667 (Antigua Guatemala), called Hermano Pedro de San José Betancurt or more simply Hermano Pedro, Santo Hermano Pedro, or San Pedro de Vilaflor, was a Spanish saint and missionary. He is known as the "St. Francis of the Americas." He is known as the first Canarian Saint.

Biography

Born in Vilaflor, on the island of Tenerife, he spent some time in a little cave in the arid region near the present-day town of El Médano (municipality of Granadilla de Abona).

He worked as a shepherd until age 24, when in 1649, he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, Cuba, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he arrived in Guatemala City the following year.

When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line which the Franciscans had established. He fell sick almost immediately but was able to recover his health.

He very much wanted to become a priest and soon enrolled in the local Jesuit college (Jesuit College of San Borgia) in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material, and thus withdrew from the school.

Unable to receive holy orders, he became a Franciscan tertiary in the convent of Costa Rica in Antigua Guatemala, and took the name "Peter of Saint Joseph". He visited hospitals, jails, the...
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