Ferrer, Rafael

Ferrer, Rafael a Spanish missionary, was born at Valencia. Having entered the order of the Jesuits, he devoted himself to the preaching of the Gospel in the deserts bordering on the Amazon River. It was in particular, the ferocious and numerous nation of the Cofanes, which had never yet seen a missionary, and which, divided into twenty tribes, occupied a territory about sixty miles from Quito, to which he devoted his labors. The Cofanes had never been subjected to Spanish rule, and had recently destroyed the town of Ecija - and a number of villages. In 1603, after fourteen months of labor, Ferrer succeeded in organizing the mission of San Paulo y San Pedro de los Cofanes. In 1604 two other villages swelled the number of the converted population to 6500. In 1605 Ferrer followed the course of the Aguarico, penetrated into the Napo, and altogether, in the, course of two years and a half, travelled more than 1000 miles, and acquired a better acquaintance with the savage nations in the vicinity of the Amazon than any man of that time. In 1608 he returned to the Cofanes. He then prepared a Grammar of the language of the Cofanes, and translated for them the Catechism. He next undertook a journey to Quito, to induce the authorities to establish new mission-s. His petition having been granted, he again returned to the Cofanes, when his earnest sermons against polygamy cost him his life in 1611, one of the chiefs whom he had compelled to give up his concubines precipitating him from a steep rock.-Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gener. 17:535.

 
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