Madrid, Spain, Aug 20, 2011 / 13:15 pm
Pope Benedict XVI has honored the 16th century Spanish priest St. John of Avila by naming him the 34th Doctor of the Catholic Church.
“In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination,” said the Pope at the conclusion of a special World Youth Day Mass for seminarians at Madrid’s Cathedral of the Almudena on August 20.
St. John of Avila was born in 1500 in the town of Almodovar del Campo, 155 miles south of Madrid. A Christian of Jewish descent, he studied law at the University of Salamanca before being ordained a priest. He went on to become a great preacher, author and mystic, writing works that influenced St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis Borgia among others.
His best-known works include “Audi Fili,” a tract on Christian perfection, and his collected spiritual letters to his followers. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970, with his feast day falling on May 10.