Peter of Alcantara, St

Peter OF Alcantara, St.

was born in the place after which he is surnamed in 1499, studied at the university in Salamanca. and when sixteen years old became a Franciscan monk. In 1519 he became prior at Badajoz, and in 1524 priest. For several years he lived in retirement, but in 1538 he was made general-superior of his order in Estremadura. In 1555 he founded, with the consent of pope Julius III, a separate reformed congregation, called the Observantists (q.v.), and assisted St. Theresa in her reforms of the Carmelites. He died in 1562, and was canonized in 1569. His work De oratione et meditatione was long and widely circulated. The De animi pace seu tranquillitate is not genuine. According to the legend, Peter walked on the sea by faith. In a picture in the Munich gallery, he not only walks himself, but a lay brother goes with him, whom Peter seems to encourage by pointing to heaven. See Acta Sanctorum, volume 8.

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