Alvarez of Cordova
Alvarez of Cordova (St.), was born at Cordova; a scion of the ancient house of the dukes of Cordova. He took the habit of the Dominicans in the convent of St. Paul, at Cordova, in 1368. Far from being satisfied with closely adhering to the rule of his order, he added to the strictness of it whatever was not actually forbidden. To the hair shirt he added commonly a chain of iron round his body; his fasts were rigorous, his watchings long, and his self-mortification continual; and he went throughout Spain, and even into Italy, proclaiming the Gospel (as he understood it) with the fervor of an apostle. He afterward proceeded to the Holy Land, and upon his return was selected first by Catherine, the wife of King Henry II, of Castile, and afterward by her son John II, to be their confessor. Alvarez, however, pined to be released from the worldly pomp and splendor of a court, and obtained permission to depart, for the purpose of building a new convent according to his own views and plan. This he did upon a mountain a short distance from Cordova, and gave to the new sanctuary the name of Scala Coeli. He died Feb. 19,1420. His tomb became a great place of resort to persons of all ranks, even to ecclesiastics and bishops. Benedict XIV authorized the worship of this saint (!), and extended the worship to the whole order of St. Dominic. His festival is held on the 19th of February. — Touron, Hist. of Illustrious Men of the Order of St. Dominic; Landon, Eccl. Dict. s.v.