Archbishop of Goa in the Portuguese Indies. Although a prelate of high rank, the life of Fray Alonzo de Benavides is very imperfectly known. He was born on the Island of San Miguel, professed in the Franciscan convent of Mexico in 1603, and, after acting as master of novices at the convent of Puebla, became Custos of the Missions of New Mexico, returned to Spain in 1630 and there was in communication with the Venerable María de Agreda . Upon his return to America he was made Archbishop of Goa. The date and place of his death are as yet unknown. Fray Alonzo de Benavides was indefatigable in his efforts to promote the welfare, temporal and spiritual, of New Mexico. He it was who, through the agency of Fray Esteban de Peréa, secured a reinforcement of missionaries for the utterly neglected province. In order to excite interest in those remote regions, he wrote and published two booklets, full of exaggerations in regard to the number of Indians, but otherwise of the highest value for the ethnography and ethnology of New Mexico. They must be judged as "encouraging guides", embodying at the same time much accurate and valuable information gathered from personal knowledge. His account of the numbers of people and villages may have been influenced by data taken from Espejo but such mistakes do not affect the value of his writings in general. He published "Relación de los grandes Tesoros espirituales y temporales descubiertos con el auxilio de Dios en el Nuevo Mexico", in 1630, and is best known through the "Memorial que Fray Juan de Santander de la orden de San Francisco &c. presenta á la Majestad Católica del Rey" (Madrid, 1630 translated into various languages and republished).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online