Help Now >
FREE Catholic Classes
Died before 1513. At one time he held the office of contador or accountant to the Queen of Spain, showing he was of noble family. Later he entered the Franciscan Order and distinguished himself for piety and learning. Queen Isabella chose him for her confessor. Finding court life distracting he asked permission to retire to his monastery. Soon after he was elected guardian of the convent, half a league from Palos in Andalusia, La Rábida (Arabian for hermitage, because it had once served as a Mohammedan place of retreat ). In 1200 it came into the hands of the Knights Templar , who in 1221 ceded it to the Friars Minor. Father Francisco Gonzaga, Superior General of the Order (1579-87), declares that La Rábida became a Franciscan monastery in 1261; and that it belonged to the Franciscan Custody of Seville, which by Decree of Alexander VI, 21 Sept., 1500, was raised to the rank of a province. The convent remained in charge of the Friars Minor without interruption until the general confiscation of religious houses in 1835. It is now the property of the nation, and used as a museum.
Here Christopher Columbus in 1484 or 1485 made the acquaintance of Perez. Father Antonio de Marchena, a cosmographer of some note, lived here, and in him the navigator discovered a man bent on the project of discovering a new world. The historian Francisco Lopez Gomara in 1552 seems to have started the blunder, copied by almost every subsequent writer on the subject, of making the two names Perez and Marchena serve to describe one and the same person by speaking of the Father Guardian of La Rábida as Father Juan Perez de Marchena. Both fathers materially assisted Columbus, who acknowledges his obligation in one of his letters to the king and queen. He writes that everybody ridiculed him save two friars, who always remained faithful. Navarrete, indeed, claims that Columbus in this passage spoke of Perez, the Franciscan, and Diego de Deza, the Dominican. As the latter was Bishop of Palencia when the navigator wrote his letter, and Columbus on all other occasions speaks of him as Bishop of Palencia, or lord bishop, it would seem strange that in this one instance he should omit the title. Deza aided Columbus to the best of his ability among the scientists of Salamanca; but he could not prevent the adverse decision of the Spanish Court. It was Juan Perez who persuaded the navigator not to leave Spain without consulting Isabella, when, footsore and dispirited, he arrived at La Rábida, determined to submit his plan to the King of France. At the invitation of the queen, Perez made a journey to Santa Fé for a personal interview with her. As a result Columbus was recalled, and with the assistance of Cardinal Mendoza and others his demands were finally granted.
When the navigator at last on 3 August, 1492, set sail in the Santa Maria, Perez blessed him and his fleet. Some writers assert that Perez accompanied his illustrious friend on the first voyage, but the silence of Columbus on this point renders the claim improbable. It appears certain, however, that Perez joined his friend on the second voyage in 1493. The earliest and best writers also agree: that when the second expedition reached Haiti, Father Perez celebrated the first Mass in the New World at Point Conception on 8 Dec., 1493, in a temporary structure; that this was the first church in America; and that Father Perez preserved the Blessed Sacrament there. He also became the guardian of the first convent which Columbus ordered to be erected at Santo Domingo. There all trace of him is lost. Whether he returned to La Rábida or died in America is uncertain. All we know is that, in the legal dispute between Diego and Columbus, the royal fiscal, Dr. Garcia Hernandes, testified in 1513 that Father Perez was then dead.
Help Now >
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Saint of the Day for Saturday, Nov 26th, 2022
Mysteries of the Rosary
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saints & Angels
The Apostles' Creed
Patron Saints A-Z
Daily Scripture Readings for Advent
St. John Berchmans
- Daily Readings for Sunday, November 27, 2022
- St. James Intercisus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 27, 2022
- Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua: Prayer of the Day for Sunday, November 27, 2022
- Daily Readings for Saturday, November 26, 2022
- St. John Berchmans: Saint of the Day for Saturday, November 26, 2022
- Act of Entrustment to Mary: Prayer of the Day for Saturday, November 26, 2022
Help Now >
Copyright 2022 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2022 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.