Pedro de Corpa and Companions

Another Saint of the Day for January 5


 

Pedro de Corpa and Companions’ Story

These five friars were martyred in Georgia for their insistence on monogamy in Christian marriages.

In 1565, the Spanish established a fort and a settlement at St. Augustine, Florida. Pedro de Corpa came from Spain to Florida in 1587 and in the same year went to the missions among the Guale people in Georgia.

Pedro worked in Tolomato (near present Darien) where he converted a number of Guales and assisted their chief in running this Christian village. Juanillo, the chief’s son, lapsed into polygamy and was urged to give this up. He refused and was publicly denounced and deprived of the right to succeed his father. Juanillo left, but only to gather some friends to help him seek vengeance on the friars. They killed Father Pedro several days later on September 13, 1597.

Father Blas de Rodriguez had come to Florida from Spain in 1580. He was the superior of the five martyred friars. Juanillo and his followers killed Blas on September 16 at the village of Tupiqui (near present Eulonia).

Father Miguel de Anon had come to Georgia in 1595; Brother Antonio de Badajoz in 1587. They were working together on St. Catherine’s Island when Juanillo and his followers killed them on September 17.

Father Francisco de Berascola had come to Georgia in 1595 and founded the Misión Santo Domingo de Asao on St. Simon’s Island. He was martyred by Juanillo’s forces around September 18.

In 1605, the Guale missions were reestablished. They again began to prosper until English colonists arrived and destroyed all of them by 1702.


Reflection

What would have happened if Pedro de Corpa and his companions had compromised Christ’s teaching on monogamous marriage? They would have betrayed the very gospel they came to preach. Following Jesus always leads to hard choices.