Together with Rose of Lima and Martin de Porres, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.
Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.
When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.
He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. He was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies (and suffering) to this area first.
He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. He confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was St. Rose of Lima and possibly St. Martin de Porres.
[Occasionally I have proposed to my Confirmation candidates their example, arguing that, if a couple of them became saints as Rose and Martin did, perhaps I, like Toribio, might get considered for having conferred on them the Holy Spirit to guide their lives in the way of Jesus!]
His people, though very poor, were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.
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Remembering Archbishop Larry Burke before the Lord
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Tomorrow evening, I will preside at a Commemorative Mass that will be offered for the repose of the soul of the late Archbishop Lawrence Burke, S.J., fourth Archbishop of Kingston (in Jamaica).
Venue and time: the Chapel of St. Joseph at Regis College, 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto (corner of Queen's Park Crescent East) at 7:30 PM; reception to follow.