Rome, Italy, Jan 26, 2012 / 15:59 pm
Today's world can learn a lot from St. John of Avila, according to those who have studied the life of the next Doctor of the Catholic Church.
"St. John of Avila is far from us in time, but nearby for his figure, his life, his evangelizing witness and for his teaching," Archbishop Juan del Río Martín of Spain's Archdiocese for Military Services told CNA.
Archbishop del Río Martín was one of three experts on the Spanish saint who gathered in Rome on Jan. 20 for the presentation of a new book in Spanish that explores the writings of St. John of Avila.
The archbishop, who wrote his doctoral thesis on St. John of Avila’s teachings, believes that Pope Benedict made an investment in the future of the Church by choosing the 16th-century saint as the Church's newest doctor.
The Pope has called the Church to a new evangelization, he notes, and in the “Apostle of Andalusia” she has a “model of how to evangelize."
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.
He is credited with re-evangelizing the southern Spanish region of Andalusia after it was reclaimed from the Moors.
The Apostle of Andalusia is now venerated in Spain as the patron of the nation's priests.