Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halos vs Halloween

Halloween, celebrated in various Western countries, and with particular emphasis in America, originated with the Christian feast of All Saints, or All Halos. The old English expression, All Hallows’ Eve, eventually evolved into Halloween. The feast of All Saints is an ancient feast in the Catholic Church dating back to the time of the first martyrs of the Roman Empire.

The first Christians greatly venerated those who, refusing to offer incense to the pagan deities of the time, heroically upheld their belief in Christ to the point of shedding their blood. As martyrdoms increased, local dioceses established a common feast day ensuring that all martyrs were properly honored. Pope Gregory III who reigned from 731 to 741 instituted the present feast of all saints on November I, and consecrated a chapel in honor of all martyrs in St. Peter’s Basilica. At first the feast of All Saints was celebrated locally but Pope Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration to the whole church.

The feast also honors all those canonized saints who did not shed blood for their Faith, and all holy souls who died in the Lord–in short, all saints known and unknown. Hallow’s Eve or the vigil of the feast of All Saints is as ancient as the feast of All Saints, and contrary to what some believe, did not have pagan origins. Hallow’s Eve high-jacked Nevertheless, the feast has, undoubtedly, been paganized and demonized. Halloween, as we know it today, increasingly promotes “horns” over “halos". Not only have harvest pumpkins and Casper ghosts evolved into ghastly ghouls, but the demonic is no longer even masked.

Driving down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans a few days ago, I was taken aback by the horrific displays on the front lawns of the beautiful mansions. One house had a ten foot luciferian demon complete with glaring eyes, menacing claws, fangs and horns blocking the path up to the front door. Flanking this central demon were two others just as huge and hideous. I’m always reminded of a program on TV years ago in which a practicing witch was interviewed. She said that if people only knew what sort of spirits they attract with such displays, they would not put them up. Reclaiming the “Halos” On the other hand, a new practice is slowly rising, true to the original celebration of All Hollows’ Eve. Church groups and groups of parents promote “saints parties” in which the children dress as saints and put on skits and games such as “guess which saint I am”. The children either read or relate a short bio of the saint they represent, and a prize goes to the one who first guesses the saint’s name.

The town of Loretto, PA puts on a yearly Candlelight Saints Tour that is a must see. This year, for two days on October 25 and 26, starting at 6PM, visitors were treated to several skits representing the lives of the saints at several stations throughout the grounds of the historic Basilica of St. Michael. Marie Kopp, a resident of the area who represented St. Maryanne Cope a newly canonized Australian saint, said the tours last about an hour and a half each and go until 11:30pm.

Among the saints represented this year were St. Isaac Jogues, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Catherine Drexel, and St. Elizabeth Seton. “I grew up going to saints parties,” said Marie, “we played games, rode hay-rides, collected candy and had as much fun as in any other Halloween party.” A growing movement, saints’ parties, parades and candlelight tours aim to celebrate light over darkness and to reclaim the halo in Halloween. Read "A Fire in My Chest..." about Blessed Jacinta Marto References: Catholic Encyclopedia Online, Catholic Online, Marie Kopp, Loretto, PA. - See more at:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is NOT Thanksgiving


If you believe that Thanksgiving is to thank God for what we have, not to buy more stuff, then please send Macy’s this urgent petition message:

Don’t Open on Thanksgiving


See, Macy’s has never opened for business on Thanksgiving. NOT in the last 155 years!

And unless you send your message immediately – Macy’s will break that precious 155 year tradition.

It’s time for us to say loud and clear:

Keep Your Thanksgiving Tradition!


And if we don’t start saying that, the next generation of children will be celebrating the holiday only by running out to shop for the Thanksgiving Day sale.

Or lining up at 5 am on Thanksgiving morning for a sale on a super size television set.

So will you help me save Thanksgiving for the next generation?

You can do that by telling Macy’s to remain closed for business; to keep their precious 155 year tradition alive.

It really isn’t very complicated!

Also, by Macy’s staying closed on Thanksgiving, their employees can stay home with family, so they can offer thanks to God for what they already have.

Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?


Thank you.

TFP Student Action defends morality and traditional marriage

Defending marriage in Chicago (5 photos)

TFP Student Action volunteers just finished a one-week tour for marriage in Illinois. — in Chicago, IL.

Chicago photo

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Controversy sparked as L.A. archdiocesan magazine hails pro-abortion Gov Jerry Brown

by Ben Johnson

LOS ANGELES, October 29, 2013 ( – The fact that California Governor Jerry Brown is arguably the most pro-abortion legislator in the country did not stop Catholic officials in Los Angeles from praising him in a glowing front page story in the archdiocesan publication.

Archbishop José Gómez personally appeared at the podium before Governor Brown signed a bill (A.B. 60) granting illegal immigrants the right to hold drivers licenses.

A photograph of the October 3 signing ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall, featuring Governor Brown, graced the issue of The Tidings, the archdiocese's official weekly.

In 2004, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted a resolution saying that Catholic institutions should not honor pro-abortion politicians, accepting it on a near-unanimous vote. The document,“Catholics in Political Life,” states,“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” (Emphasis in original.)

Governor Jerry Brown Brown highlighted Abp. Gomez's presence and support, putting his name first in a list of attendees included in his official press release.

The Tidings cover, dated October 11, was released just two days after Governor Brown signed a bill (A.B. 154) radically expanding abortion in California by allowing non-physicians, including certified nurses and midwives, to perform first-trimester suction aspiration abortions.

Attempts to reach the archdiocese's media relations department by phone and e-mail were not returned by press time.

Other pro-abortion politicians at the signing ceremony, some of whom are depicted in Tidings, included:

California Catholic Daily criticized the praising of abortion supporters for their unrelated policy decisions as a “pact with the devil.” The writer likened the archbishop's actions to “German bishops turning out to join Adolf Hitler to open autobahns and Volkswagen factories and then publishing pictures of the events in their diocesan papers so all the Catholics would know that they should vote for an support the great friend of the bishops.”

Although Christianity has not had an historical dogma on the issue of immigration, the Christian faith has opposed abortion since its founding. Perhaps reflecting the dichotomy between the immigration and abortion issues, the cover story in the next issue of The Tidings was “Christian Service 4LIFE rally draws 6,000.”


Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241

Phone: (213) 637-7000


Tasmania same-sex ‘marriage’ bill fails

by Andrew Smith, LifeSiteNews Australian correspondent

Hobart, Australia, October 29, 2013 ( - Yet another attempt to pass a same-sex “marriage” bill was defeated in Australia today in the Tasmanian Upper House by a vote of 8 to 6. The motion was introduced by Independent MLC, Ruth Forrest, and sought to reignite a bill that failed at an earlier attempt late last year.

Same-sex “marriage” was debated in both Tasmanian houses in 2012, but failed to move ahead amid concerns about federal and state jurisdiction on the issue of marriage. Forrest wanted the debate to be revisited on the strength of a new legal opinion suggesting that there is no legal impediment to the island state legislating on the issue.

Ruth Forrest wants the debate to be revisited on the strength of a new legal opinion suggesting that there is no legal impediment to the island state legislating on the issue.

Ms Forrest told the Examiner Newspaper that, given that many MLCs said they opposed the earlier legislation because of constitutional concerns, they had a duty to reconsider in light of the new advice, as well as the fact that more states and countries have been passing same-sex “marriage” legislation.

The ‘no’ vote gained unexpected extra support from Tony Mulder MLC. While Mulder supported the bill on the last occasion but said this time that, "Unless there's a real proposition of the Bill itself being passed, this motion cruelly raises the hopes of people who were crushed by the result just last year."

Calling the result ‘a setback,’ Tasmanian Greens leader, Nick McKim MP, promised to revisit the issue in the next parliament. “The Greens will continue this fight until has been won, and we will re-introduce this legislation in the next term of government,” he said. Tasmanians go to the polls in March 2014.

The votes comes in the wake of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passing its own ‘marriage equality’ bill a week ago. As LifeSiteNews reported, this law will be challenged in Australia’s High Court by the Federal Government, also on the question of jurisdiction. The ACT government plans to see their law operational before the full bench of the High Court can hear the federal government’s case.

Last week the Federal Government confirmed that it has lodged a writ with the High Court of Australia and is asking that the hearings be expedited to be heard in full by the end of November this year.

Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director, Mark Brown, called the Tasmania vote another attempt to ‘pass legislation by fatigue’.

“This legislation was defeated in the parliament only last year. This debate has become wearisome. It is a low order priority for the majority of Australians and it is time to move on. There is no discrimination in Tasmanian law against same-sex couples – there is no need to redefine marriage.”

Jim Collins, Tasmanian state officer for Family Voice Australia, called the defeat “good news” for the Tasmanian community.

“Marriage is fundamentally a complementary union of a man and a woman who have the potential to conceive and raise the next generation with both male and female role models.

“The push to redefine marriage fails to recognise the unique contributions that natural marriage offers society.  Let’s strengthen marriage, not redefine it,” said Collins.

On Thursday (31st Oct), the Upper House of the New South Wales Parliament will begin debating their Same Sex Marriage Bill 2013. In July this year their Standing Committee on Social Issues reported its findings on same sex “marriage” laws. It said that the state did have the power to pass such laws but that the result of any challenge by the federal government would be uncertain. This statement has been taken by supporters of same sex “marriage” as a green light. However, that bill is also expected to fail.

Dr. David van Gend, spokesman for Australian Marriage Forum, called this “constitutional larrikinism” and repeated calls for the matter of same-sex “marriage” to be settled, once for all, by a referendum. “I have faith in the Australian people that, faced with a choice between the demands of two men to be called a marriage and the needs of a child to have, where possible, both a mum and a dad, they will vote on behalf of the child,” Dr van Gend concluded.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

STORY of MARY -- At The Hour Of Our Death

Very worried, Saint John lost no time
in visiting the Blessed Virgin
to tell her of Lillian and
her great danger..

Statue of “Sedes Sapientiae” [Seat of Wisdom]

     After the Holy Ghost had descended in the form of fiery tongues on the Apostles on Pentecost day, Saint Peter stepped out before a great crowd and spoke with so much fire, unction, and wisdom that five thousand at once asked for holy baptism.

     In that crowd was a poor, young woman, listening with all her soul.  Her name was Lillian.

     Lillian was poor and humble, and busied herself with her household chores. A short time after that great day when she had heard Saint Peter preach, Lillian fell ill. Her malady gradually worsened and soon, exhausted and weakened, she took to her bed.

     The devil, who is a very big coward, had been watching her very closely: “Ha, ha!” he thought. “Now that she is so weak and sickly I may prompt her to sin and, perhaps, even steal her new Faith from her.”

     You see, my friends, the devil is very resentful of all who possess our holy Catholic Faith, for that Faith gives them the means to reach heaven and see the good God. This, the devil will never be able to do. .

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In her weakened state, the poor girl did consent to a few sins. Now, we all know that when we commit sins we become weaker, making it much easier for the devil to tempt us even more.

     So the devil now took on the appearance of a woman, approached Lillian’s sickbed, and began to talk to her about the new Church that had just been founded: “You, know,” said the woman (who was really the devil), “you shouldn’t listen to what those disciples of that Man who just died on a cross have to say. They are deceiving you. All those things they are telling you are lies. You should stay away from them. If you don’t, the same priests and judges who crucified their Teacher will punish you.”

     On and on went the devil, spinning his tale, until the young girl was nearly convinced that she should give up her newly acquired Faith. Still, she asked, “But what about that lady whom I have seen with the Christians and who is so beautiful, so good, so kind and patient?”

     “Oh,” replied the devil, “wouldn’t you know. She is the worst of them all! Don’t be deceived by her looks and her supposed kindness and patience!”

     Hearing all this, young Lillian believed the fiend and gave up her Faith. At the same time, her health failed once and for all, and she was soon at death’s door.

     Hearing of her condition from a neighbor, one of the seventy-two disciples of Our Lord Jesus visited her.

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Finding her so very sick, he tried to talk to her and help prepare her for the approaching end. But she would not listen to him. The more he tried to talk, the more she stopped her ears and asked him to leave her house.

     Realizing that the girl was in great danger, the disciple immediately looked for the Apostle Saint John to tell him about Lillian’s plight. Saint John quickly made his way to the girl’s house and, on entering, beheld the poor creature lying on her bed surrounded by legions of demons.

     On seeing Saint John, the demons retired, but, still, there was nothing the Apostle could do to convince Lillian to return to her Faith. The girl could not be reached. As soon as Saint John left, all of the devils came right back, tormenting the poor girl and making sure that she remained in their clutches.

     Very worried, Saint John lost no time in visiting the Blessed Virgin, who was then living in Jerusalem, to tell her of Lillian and her great danger. Our Lady was much concerned and immensely sorry for this simple soul whom the devil was trying to snatch from her Son.

     Now, our great Lady had, among all her gifts, the ability to see with the eyes of her soul all that happened with her Son’s Church. Gazing with these interior eyes, she could see the poor young girl on her bed, suffering terribly and surrounded by hideous devils. Retiring to her chamber, she prostrated on the floor, and begged God to save that tormented soul.

     After having prayed, the holy Lady called one of the angels that always accompanies her and bade him go to the young girl to try his mightiest to return her to her senses. The angel obeyed immediately, and was soon back.

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“My Lady, I return from the task of assisting this girl in her mortal danger, as thou, Mother of Mercy, had commanded me. Alas, so hard is her heart that she will not listen to me. I have fought against the demons but they resisted, saying that, by right, this soul belongs to them because she gave herself to them willingly. God has not enabled me to fulfill thy will. I am sorry, my Lady, but I cannot give thee this consolation.”

     The loving mother was quite saddened at this news but, being truly our mother, she would not give up on this poor girl. Once more, with her face to the ground, she beseeched God Our Lord to deliver this poor soul from the devil’s clutches.

     Our Lord, however, seemed not to hear her. Sometimes He did this only to hear His sweet mother’s voice calling to Him longer. Besides, He was sure she would do the right thing.

     Even though her Son said nothing from heaven, the Blessed Lady knew that she had to help. Whenever a charitable act had to be done, no one was as eager as the Blessed Virgin, our Mother, to accomplish it.

     Turning to Saint John then, she said: “Come with me, my son. I am myself going to help this young dove who is so deceived.” Closing the door of the Cenacle behind them, they made their way to the girl’s house, which was not far from there.

     As soon as they had gone but a few paces, several angels appeared before them and blocked their progress. The holy Mother asked them why they did this, and they answered: “There is no reason that we should allow you to walk, my Lady, when we can carry you.” Saying this, they made a throne of shining clouds and, seating the great Lady upon it, they carried her right to Lillian’s bedside.

     Lo, as soon as the Blessed Lady appeared in the room, the devils made such haste to leave that that they tripped over each other in their flight! The powerful Queen commanded them to return to hell and to remain there until she gave them permission to come out. So ordered, they could do nothing but give in to her command.

     This kindest of mothers then approached the girl and, taking her hand and calling her by name, spoke to her sweetest words of life. Immediately, the girl felt better and refreshed.

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“My Lady,” she said, “a woman came to me and told me that the disciples of Jesus were deceiving me and that I had better separate myself from them and from thee. She said that if I accepted their way of life, great misfortune would befall me.”

     The Queen answered: “My daughter, she who seemed to you a woman was your enemy, the devil. I come in the name of the Most High to give you eternal life. Return, then, to His true Faith, and confess Him with all your heart as your God and Redeemer. Adore Him and ask Him to forgive you your sins.”

    “All this,” the girl answered, “I believed before, but the woman told me it was all very bad and that they would punish me if I should ever confess it.”

     The heavenly teacher replied: “My daughter, do not fear this deceit; remember that the only punishments to be really feared are those of hell, to which the demon wants to take you.”

     The poor girl was soon crying and most sorry for what she had done. She begged the good Lady to continue to help her and to bring her back to the Church.

     The Blessed Mother then sent for Saint John to administer the Sacraments to the dying girl. Repeating the acts of contrition and love and invoking Jesus and Mary, the girl died happily in the arms of the good Mother.

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Adapted by Michelle Taylor for Crusade Magazine’s “Family Series” from a story told by Venerable Mary of Agreda in The Mystical City of God

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The Charge of the Rosary Brigade

by John Horvat II

When I first heard that America Needs Fatima had set a goal of 10,000 Public Square Rosary Rallies for 2013, I thought to myself that this was not just an ordinary crowd but a veritable army or brigade. The invitation to pray publicly for America’s future on such a massive scale enthralled me. When the number of rallies surged to over 11,000, I was awestruck. The idea of a brigade stayed with me in the days before the rally as I prepared myself to venture out into the public square. This was truly the Charge of the Rosary Brigade!


Indeed, it would appear madness for a single individual to defy our culture and pray publicly in the public square for America’s conversion. Now I was part of a whole brigade. Like the soldier that takes comfort in knowing he is not alone in the midst of the battle, so also I was comforted knowing that I was joined by others in my particular rally and yet hundreds of thousands more in 11,000 other rallies across the nation.

With lines of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” running through my mind, I took courage, and on that October 12 morning, rode into the culture of death not with the six hundred but with the 11,000.

Of course, there were obstacles to be confronted. True to Tennyson’s narrative, we also faced adversity. There were smirks to the right of us, insults by passersby on the left. Indifference scattered all about. But the conviction that I was with others only served to embolden me to surge ahead and pray all the louder.
In such circumstances, I did not stop to think out each detail of our mission. We were focused on our great goal: to ask Our Lady’s intercession for all the moral problems we face. In the thick of our public square charge, ours indeed was not to reason why but to do and die as we defied the culture of death with the 11,000!

My rally was a small one in the nation’s capital. It was but a small episode of the whole battle. We were situated on a busy intersection of Connecticut and Calvert streets. It was a trendy part of town with plenty of foot traffic yet full of those who hardly shared our perspective. We occupied one of “their” corners with our banner and standard. On the other side of the street, there gathered groups of people that formed what seemed like a “counter” rally of spectators who looked upon us with disbelief and even scorn. It was truly a test of wills taking place on that corner on a drizzly October day.

Thousands of pedestrians and drivers witnessed this astonishing scene of bold witness. A few passersby broke ranks and join us in prayer. Others walked up and encouraged us with exclamations of God bless you! But many showed disdain for our prayers, uttered gratuitous insults or feigned indifference. Ours was the task to endure ridicule and redouble our prayers as we defied the culture of death with the 11,000!

Decade after decade, we advanced our rosary, an act repeated across the nation. It was wondrous to be at that busy intersection. We were part of a huge brigade that stormed heaven with our prayers at this moment when our nation is full of great difficulties.

We were those who grieved for the nation and sought heavenly solutions to our moral problems.

We were honored to be part of those who defied the culture of death, broke through indifference and scorn, and presented our entreaties to the Blessed Mother. From this day forward, we can say we were part of the Charge of the Rosary Brigade – that noble 11,000!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

U.S. Army labels influential pro-family organization ‘domestic hate group’


by Peter Baklinski

The picture of the alleged slide show

The picture of the alleged slide show

(Photo Credit: Todd Starnes)

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi, October 15, 2013 ( – The U.S. Army labeled one of the largest and most effective pro-family Christian organizations in the country a domestic hate group because of its strong traditional family values that have no place for same-sex “marriage”.

Several dozen Army active duty and reserve troops were told during a mandatory military training session in Mississippi last week that the pro life-and-family American Family Association (AFA) is now classified as a hate group, reported Fox News’ Todd Starnes.

The AFA’s traditional family values includes outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion. The group believes that God has “communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times.” It’s mission is to “inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture” through Gospel values.

The training session reportedly linked the AFA to hate groups such as Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers, and the Nation of Islam.

A Christian soldier attending the training session snapped a photo of a slide show that labeled the Christian group.

“I had to show Americans what our soldiers are now being taught,” said the soldier to Fox News, who asked not to be identified. “I couldn’t just let this one pass.”

“I was completely taken back by this blatant attack not only on the AFA but Christians & our beliefs.”

The Army has not yet issued a statement on the content of the training session.

Bryan Fischer, who hosts a talk show on AFA’s American Family Radio, said that if “our military wasn’t headed by a commander-in-chief who is hostile to Christian faith, these allegations would be laughed off every military base in the world,” he told Fox News.

The U.S. Army is not the first to label the AFA as a hate group for upholding a biblical view of marriage. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which enjoys a close relationship with the Obama administration's Department of Justice, has built an elaborate fundraising empire by branding mainstream Christian ministries, including the AFA, as “hate groups” for opposing homosexuality.

Gay terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II admitted in April that the SPLC’s labeling the Christian group Family Research Council as a “hate” group led directly to him targeting the pro-family organization for his August 2012 shooting rampage.

Fischer called the Army’s labeling the AFA a hate group “libelous, slanderous and blatantly false.”

“This mischaracterization of AFA is reprehensible and inexcusable. We have many military members who are a part of the AFA network who know these accusations are a tissue of lies,” he said.

An update on the situation today from Fox News is that the Pentagon is claiming the information used in the presentation calling AFA a hate group "was not acquired from official sources and does not reflect Army doctrine." However, Tim Wildmon, President of AFA says that the organization will still persue a lawsuit against the military.

Wildmon told Fox News that "he doesn’t believe the Army’s excuse." because they are hearing from too many people acroos the US who have had the same experience in military training sessions in both the Army and the Air Force.

Saint Teresa of Avila and Building the Interior Castle

Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada, born at Avila, Old Castile, 28 March, 1515; died at Alba de Tormes, 4 Oct., 1582.

This is the only portrait of St. Teresa, which day after day, she obediently sat for as a penance. It was painted when St. Teresa was 61, by Friar Juan de la Miseria in 1576. When the picture was finished, with a faint smile, she said, “God forgive you Fray Juan! To think that after all I have suffered at your hands, you should paint me so bleary eyed and ugly!”

The third child of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife, Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died when the saint was in her fourteenth year, Teresa was brought up by her saintly father, a lover of serious books, and a tender and pious mother. After her death and the marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was sent for her education to the Augustinian nuns at Avila, but owing to illness she left at the end of eighteen months, and for some years remained with her father and occasionally with other relatives, notably an uncle who made her acquainted with the Letters of St. Jerome, which determined her to adopt the religious life, not so much through any attraction towards it, as through a desire of choosing the safest course. Unable to obtain her father’s consent she left his house unknown to him on Nov., 1535, to enter the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns. The wrench from her family caused her a pain which she ever afterwards compared to that of death. However, her father at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.

The incorrupt arm of St. Teresa of Avila in Alba de Tormes, Spain.

The incorrupt arm of St. Teresa of Avila in Alba de Tormes, Spain.

After her profession in the following year she became very seriously ill, and underwent a prolonged cure and such unskillful medical treatment that she was reduced to a most pitiful state, and even after partial recovery through the intercession of St. Joseph, her health remained permanently impaired. During these years of suffering she began the practice of mental prayer, but fearing that her conversations with some world-minded relatives, frequent visitors at the convent, rendered her unworthy of the graces God bestowed on her in prayer, discontinued it, until she came under the influence, first of the Dominicans, and afterwards of the Jesuits.

This is the stone that St. Teresa sat on, waiting for King Philip II. This stone, generally goes unnoticed, is on the front left corner of El Escorial.

This is the stone that St. Teresa sat on, waiting for King Philip II. This stone, generally goes unnoticed, is on the front left corner of El Escorial.

Meanwhile God had begun to visit her with “intellectual visions and locutions”, that is manifestations in which the exterior senses were in no way affected, the things seen and the words heard being directly impressed upon her mind, and giving her wonderful strength in trials, reprimanding her for unfaithfulness, and consoling her in trouble. Unable to reconcile such graces with her shortcomings, which her delicate conscience represented as grievous faults, she had recourse not only to the most spiritual confessors she could find, but also to some saintly laymen, who, never suspecting that the account she gave them of her sins was greatly exaggerated, believed these manifestations to be the work of the evil spirit. The more she endeavoured to resist them the more powerfully did God work in her soul. The whole city of Avila was troubled by the reports of the visions of this nun. It was reserved to St. Francis Borgia and St. Peter of Alcantara, and afterwards to a number of Dominicans (particularly Pedro Ibañez and Domingo Bañez), Jesuits, and other religious and secular priests, to discern the work of God and to guide her on a safe road.

Her incorrupt body , which is above the main altar, in Alba de Tormes. After all her illnesses, which she suffered with her entire life, and being at the time of her death 67, the body of St. Teresa, remained as white and smooth as alabaster, like that of a child of three. All the wrinkles that had gathered since her illness had vanished. A sweet smell which nobody could describe or identify came from the body and everything that had touched it — towels, garments, even St. Teresa’s fingerprints on a plate. It became so overpowering in the cell where she died that the windows had to be opened to prevent headaches and fainting.

The account of her spiritual life contained in the “Life written by herself” (completed in 1565, an earlier version being lost), in the “Relations”, and in the “Interior Castle”, forms one of the most remarkable spiritual biographies with which only the “Confessions of St. Augustine” can bear comparison. To this period belong also such extraordinary manifestations as the piercing or transverberation of her heart, the spiritual espousals, and the mystical marriage. A vision of the place destined for her in hell in case she should have been unfaithful to grace, determined her to seek a more perfect life. After many troubles and much opposition St. Teresa founded the convent of Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of St. Joseph at Avila (24 Aug., 1562), and after six months obtained permission to take up her residence there.

The hourglass, spoon, and various dishes that were used by St. Teresa. St. Teresa was especially fond of the gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well seeking the water of life and she would say to Him over and over again, "Lord, give me that water!" To her, water always seemed something delightful and marvelous, something at once so natural and so inexplicable, so clearly an evidence of the power and goodness of God, that she was constantly admiring it and trying to think of ways to describe its properties. From her childhood till her death, she never lost this wonder and delight at the sight and feeling of water.

The hourglass, spoon, and various dishes that were used by St. Teresa. St. Teresa was especially fond of the gospel story of the Samaritan woman at the well seeking the water of life and she would say to Him over and over again, “Lord, give me that water!” To her, water always seemed something delightful and marvelous, something at once so natural and so inexplicable, so clearly an evidence of the power and goodness of God, that she was constantly admiring it and trying to think of ways to describe its properties. From her childhood till her death, she never lost this wonder and delight at the sight and feeling of water.

Four years later she received the visit of the General of the Carmelites, John-Baptist Rubeo (Rossi), who not only approved of what she had done but granted leave for the foundation of other convents of friars as well as nuns. In rapid succession she established her nuns at Medina del Campo (1567), Malagon and Valladolid (1568), Toledo and Pastrana (1569), Salamanca (1570), Alba de Tormes (1571), Segovia (1574), Veas and Seville (1575), and Caravaca (1576). In the “Book of Foundations” she tells the story of these convents, nearly all of which were established in spite of violent opposition but with manifest assistance from above. Everywhere she found souls generous enough to embrace the austerities of the primitive rule of Carmel. Having made the acquaintance of Antonio de Heredia, prior of Medina, and St. John of the Cross (q.v.), she established her reform among the friars (28 Nov., 1568), the first convents being those of Duruelo (1568), Pastrana (1569), Mancera, and Alcalá de Henares (1570).

Her incorrupt heart, which was pierced with an arrow.  Her body was exhumed several times after her death, and each time the body was found incorrupt, firm, and sweet-smelling. Her heart, hands, right foot, right arm, left eye and part of her jaw are on display in various sites around the world.

Her incorrupt heart, which was pierced with an arrow. Her body was exhumed several times after her death, and each time the body was found incorrupt, firm, and sweet-smelling. Her heart, hands, right foot, right arm, left eye and part of her jaw are on display in various sites around the world.

A new epoch began with the entrance into religion of Jerome Gratian, inasmuch as this remarkable man was almost immediately entrusted by the nuncio with the authority of visitor Apostolic of the Carmelite friars and nuns of the old observance in Andalusia, and as such considered himself entitled to overrule the various restrictions insisted upon by the general and the general chapter. SubscriptionOn the death of the nuncio and the arrival of his successor a fearful storm burst over St. Teresa and her work, lasting four years and threatening to annihilate the nascent reform. The incidents of this persecution are best described in her letters. The storm at length passed, and the province of Discalced Carmelites, with the support of Philip II, was approved and canonically established on 22 June, 1580. St. Teresa, old and broken in health, made further foundations at Villnuava de la Jara and Palencia (1580), Soria (1581), Granada (through her assiatant the Venerable Anne of Jesus), and at Burgos (1582). She left this latter place at the end of July, and, stopping at Palencia, Valldolid, and Medina del Campo, reached Alba de Torres in September, suffering intensely. Soon she took to her bed and passed away on 4 Oct., 1582, the following day, owing to the reform of the calendar, being reckoned as 15 October. After some years her body was transferred to Avila, but later on reconveyed to Alba, where it is still preserved incorrupt. Her heart, too, showing the marks of the Transverberation, is exposed there to the veneration of the faithful. She was beatified in 1614, and canonized in 1622 by Gregory XV, the feast being fixed on 15 October.

This is the room where St. Teresa died. Shortly before St. Teresa died, Bl. Ana de San Bartolomé saw Our Lord at the foot of St. Teresa’s bed in majesty and splendor, attended by myriad angels, and at the head, the Ten Thousand Martyrs who had promised St. Teresa, in a rapture years before, to come for her in the moment of death. When she sighed her last, one of the sisters saw something like a white dove pass from her mouth. And while Sister Catalina de la Concepción, who was very holy and had less than a year to live, was sitting by the low window opening on the cloister by La Madre’s cell, she heard a great noise as of a throng of joyful and hilarious people making merry, and then saw innumerable resplendent persons, all dressed in white, pass the cloister and into the room of the dying Saint, where the nuns gathered about her seemed but a handful in comparison; and then all advanced toward the bed. And this was the moment when St. Teresa died.

This is the room where St. Teresa died. Shortly before St. Teresa died, Bl. Ana de San Bartolomé saw Our Lord at the foot of St. Teresa’s bed in majesty and splendor, attended by myriad angels, and at the head, the Ten Thousand Martyrs who had promised St. Teresa, in a rapture years before, to come for her in the moment of death. When she sighed her last, one of the sisters saw something like a white dove pass from her mouth. And while Sister Catalina de la Concepción, who was very holy and had less than a year to live, was sitting by the low window opening on the cloister by La Madre’s cell, she heard a great noise as of a throng of joyful and hilarious people making merry, and then saw innumerable resplendent persons, all dressed in white, pass the cloister and into the room of the dying Saint, where the nuns gathered about her seemed but a handful in comparison; and then all advanced toward the bed. And this was the moment when St. Teresa died.

St. Teresa’s position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences, which a deep insight and analytical gifts enabled her to explain clearly. The Thomistic substratum may be traced to the influence of her confessors and directors, many of whom belonged to the Dominican Order. She herself had no pretension to found a school in the accepted sense of the term, and there is no vestige in her writings of any influence of the Aeropagite, the Patristic, or the Scholastic Mystical schools, as represented among others, by the German Dominican Mystics. She is intensely personal, her system going exactly as far as her experiences, but not a step further.

St. Teresa of Avila painted by Manuel Gómez-Moreno González

St. Teresa of Avila painted by Manuel Gómez-Moreno González

BENEDICT ZIMMERMAN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"I could do that!" Kathy Worboys said to herself after reading about America Needs Fatima’s Public Rosary Rallies held annually around the country.

She was particularly impressed when she saw a picture of a banner that read: “As human efforts fail to solve America’s key problems, we turn to God, through His Holy Mother, asking His help!” She wasted no time and called the number at the end of the article. “Those words captivated me,” she said. “I really wanted one of those banners, and I thought that assembling a public rosary rally was really a neat idea.” She immediately agreed to become a Rosary Rally Captain. That was three years ago, and every year since then she has organized her Public Rosary Rally with great success each time at the Harry Allen Park in downtown Honeoye Falls, New York. Worboys Collage WEB

However, her fourth Rosary Rally held last October 12th, could have been her last: Kathy has battled stage four breast cancer since March of 2012, and has recently metastasized to her spine. Her doctor told her husband of 29 years, that she had only six months to live. "That was seven months ago," she quipped, "so who but only God knows!”

You see, Kathy strongly believes that her faith in God and the Blessed Virgin Mary is her strongest defense against her disease. “The Rosary has been a powerful weapon” she affirms.

Kathy’s desire to be closer to God started in 2006 when a friend gave her a book that recommended among other things, Eucharistic Adoration. She immediately found a perpetual adoration chapel near her home. There she met Virginia Tondryk, who taught her how to pray the Rosary and since that day, the two ladies have been close friends. They are members of a prayer group that gathers at their parish church, St. Paul of the Cross, to say nightly Rosaries and pray in front of an abortion clinic once a week.

However, something terribly unexpected happened to both of them on the exact same day in March of 2012. Virginia was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia and Kathy with Breast Cancer. Despite the setback in their health, they continue to pray and promote the Rosary: this time, with an added purpose. “It helps us to fight our cancers with faith,” said Kathy. “we would not be able to face any of our trials without our faith” she added. Worboys WEBIn planning her Public Rosary Rallies, she relies mainly on Our Lady’s inspiration.  “She has certainly motivated me and kept me organized in all my efforts to promote the Rosary Rally.”  she said. This past October, her rally was attended by over 200 people - even a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus in their gala uniforms and Fr. Michael Upson of St. Paul of the Cross parish, who gave an inspiring talk before the Rosary.

Regardless of what the future holds, Kathy cannot forget the two devotions that changed her life. She proudly declared "Eucharistic Adoration is a powerful place and the Rosary is a powerful weapon."

One more thing, she quickly remembers, “That non-Catholic man I married 29 years ago on the feast of the Immaculate Conception? He was baptized at an Easter Vigil Mass in 2012. You can’t tell me that Mary didn’t have a hand in that!”  Kathy plans to continue with her devotion and promotion of the Rosary and was scheduled to go on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal in November. Join Kathy and sign up NOW as a 2014 Rosary Rally Captain!

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Who Was Christopher Columbus, and Why Is He Important?


Christopher Columbus

Born at Genoa, or on Genoese territory, probably 1451; died at Valladolid, Spain, 20 May 1506.

His family was respectable, but of limited means, so that the early education of Columbus was defective. Up to his arrival in Spain (1485) only one date has been preserved. His son Fernando, quoting from his father’s writings says that in February, 1467, he navigated the seas about “Tile” (probably Iceland). Columbus himself in a letter to King Ferdinand says that he began to navigate at the age of fourteen, though in the journal of his first voyage (no longer in existence), in 1493, he was said to have been on the sea twenty-three years, which would make him nineteen when he first became a mariner.

Columbus sees the New World for the first time.

Columbus sees the New World for the first time.

The early age at which he began his career as a sailor is not surprising for a native of Genoa, as the Genoese were most enterprising and daring seamen. Columbus is said in his early days to have been a corsair, especially in the war against the Moors, themselves merciless pirates. He is also supposed to have sailed as far south as the coast of Guinea before he was sixteen years of age. Certain it is that while quite young he became a thorough and practical navigator, and later acquired a fair knowledge of astronomy. He also gained a wide acquaintance with works on cosmography such as Ptolemy and the “Imago Mundi” of Cardinal d’Ailly, besides entering into communication with the cosmographers of his time. The fragment of a treatise written by him and called by his son Fernando “The Five Habitable Zones of the Earth” shows a degree of information unusual for a sailor of his day. As in the case of most of the documents relating to the life of Columbus the genuineness of the letters written in 1474 by Paolo Toscanelli, a renowned physicist of Florence, to Columbus and a member of the household of King Alfonso V of Portugal, has been attacked on the ground of the youth of Columbus, although they bears signs of authenticity. The experiences and researches referred to fit in satisfactorily with the subsequent achievements of Columbus. For the rest, the early part of Columbus’s life is interwoven with incidents, most of which are unsupported by evidence, though quite possible. His marriage about 1475 to a Portuguese lady whose name is given sometimes as Doña Felipa Moniz and sometimes as Doña Felipa Perestrella seems certain.

Painting of the Santa Maria by Andries van Eertvelt

Painting of the Santa Maria by Andries van Eertvelt

Columbus seems to have arrived in Portugal about 1471, although 1474 is also mentioned and supported by certain indications. He vainly tried to obtain the support of the King of Portugal for his scheme to discover the Far East by sailing westward, a scheme supposed to have been suggested by his brother Bartholomew, who is said to have been earning a livelihood at Lisbon by designing marine charts. Columbus went to Spain in 1485, and probably the first assistance he obtained there was from the Duke of Medina Celi, Don Luis de la Cerda, for whom he performed some services that brought him a compensation of 3000 maravedis in May, 1487. He lived about two years at the home of the duke and made unsuccessful endeavors to interest him in his scheme of maritime exploration. His attempts to secure the help of the Duke of Medina Sidonia were equally unproductive of results. No blame attaches to the noblemen for declining to undertake an enterprise which only rulers of nations could properly carry out. Between 1485 and 1488 Columbus began his relations with Doña Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, or Harana, of a good family of the city of Cordova, from which sprang his much beloved son Fernando, next to Christopher and his brother Bartholomew the most gifted of the Colombos.

The return of Christopher Columbus; his audience before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Painting by Eugene Delacroix

The return of Christopher Columbus; his audience before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Painting by Eugene Delacroix

Late in 1485 or early in 1486, Columbus appeared twice before the court to submit his plans and while the Duke of Medina Celi may have assisted him to some extent, the chief support came from the royal treasurer, Alonzo de Quintanilla, Friar Antonio de Marchena (confounded by Irving with Father Perez of La Rábida), and Diego de Deza, Bishop of Placencia. Columbus himself declared that these two priests were always his faithful friends. Marchena also obtained for him the valuable sympathy of Cardinal Gonzalez de Mendoza. Through the influence of these men the Government appointed a junta or commission of ecclesiastics that met at Salamanca late in 1486 or early in 1487, in the Dominican convent of San Esteban to investigate the scheme, which they finally rejected. The commission had no connection with the celebrated University of Salamanca, but was under the guidance of the prior of Prado. It seems that Columbus gave but scant and unsatisfactory information to the commission, probably through fear that his ideas might be improperly made use of and he be robbed of the glory and advantages that he expected to derive from his project. This may account for the rejection of his proposals. The prior of Prado was a Hieronymite, while Columbus was under the especial protection of the Dominicans. Among his early friends in Spain was Luis de Santangel, whom Irving calls “receiver of the ecclesiastical revenues of Aragon”, and who afterwards advanced to the queen the funds necessary for the first voyage. If Santangel was receiver of the church revenues and probably treasurer and administrator, it was the Church that furnished the means (17,000 ducats) for the admiral’s first voyage.

Christopher Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment, challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip. After his challengers gave up, Columbus did it himself by simply tapping the egg on the table so as to flatten its tip.

Christopher Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment, challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip. After his challengers gave up, Columbus did it himself by simply tapping the egg on the table so as to flatten its tip.

It would be unjust to blame King Ferdinand for declining the proposals of Columbus after the adverse report of the Salamanca commission, which was based upon objections drawn from Seneca and Ptolemy rather than upon the opinion of St. Augustine in the “De Civitate Dei”. The king was then preparing to deal the final blow to Moorish domination in Spain after the struggle of seven centuries, and his financial resources were taxed to the utmost. Moreover, he was not easily carried away by enthusiasm and, though we now recognize the practical value of the plans of Columbus, at the close of the fifteenth century it seemed dubious, to say the least, to a cool-headed ruler, wont to attend first to immediate necessities. The crushing of the Moorish power in the peninsula was then of greater moment than the search after distant lands for which, furthermore, there were not the means in the royal treasury. Under these conditions Columbus, always in financial straits himself and supported by the liberality of friends, bethought himself of the rulers of France and England. In 1488 his brother Bartholomew, as faithful as sagacious, tried to induce one or the other of them to accept the plans of Christopher, but failed. The idea was too novel to appeal to either. Henry VII of England was too cautious to entertain proposals from a comparatively unknown seafarer of a foreign nation, and Charles VIII of France was too much involved in Italian affairs. The prospect was disheartening. Nevertheless, Columbus, with the assistance of his friends, concluded to make another attempt in Spain. He proceeded to court again in 1491, taking with him his son Diego. The court being then in camp before Granada, the last Moorish stronghold, the time could not have been more inopportune. Another junta was called before Granada while the siege was going on, but the commission again reported unfavourably. This is not surprising, as Ferdinand of Aragon could not undertake schemes that would involve a great outlay, and divert his attention from the momentous task he was engaged in. Columbus always directed his proposals to the king and as yet the queen had taken no official notice of them, as she too was heart and soul in the enterprise destined to restore Spain wholly to Christian rule.

The Fall of Granada in 1492, Painting by Carlos Luis Ribera y Fieve.

The Fall of Granada in 1492, Painting by Carlos Luis Ribera y Fieve.

The junta before Granada took place towards the end of 1491, and its decision was such a blow to Columbus that he left the court and wandered away with his boy. Before leaving, however, he witnessed the fall of Granada, 2 January, 1492. His intention was to return to Cordova and then, perhaps, to go to France. On foot and reduced almost to beggary, he reached the Dominican convent of La Rábida probably in January, 1492. The prior was Father Juan Perez, the confessor of the queen, frequently confounded with Fray Antonio Marchena by historians of the nineteenth century, who also erroneously place the arrival of Columbus at La Rábida in the early part of his sojourn in Spain. Columbus begged the friar who acted as door-keeper to let his tired son rest at the convent over night. While he was pleading his cause the prior was standing near by and listening. Something struck him in the appearance of this man, with a foreign accent, who appeared to be superior to his actual condition. After providing for his immediate wants Father Perez took him to his cell, where Columbus told him all his aspirations and blighted hopes. The result was that Columbus and his son stayed at the convent as guests and Father Perez hurried to Santa Fe near Granada, for the purpose of inducing the queen to take a personal interest in the proposed undertaking of the Italian navigator.

Columbus at Rabida. Painting by Eduardo Cano de la Peña

Columbus at Rabida. Painting by Eduardo Cano de la Peña

Circumstances had changed with the fall of Granada, and the Dominican’s appeal was favourably received by Isabella who, in turn, influenced her husband. Columbus was called to court at once, and 20,000 maravedis were assigned him out of the queen’s private resources that he might appear in proper condition before the monarch. Some historians assert that Luis de Santangel decided the queen to espouse the cause of Columbus, but the credit seems rather to belong to the prior of La Rábida. The way had been well prepared by the other steadfast friends of Columbus, not improbably Cardinal Mendoza among others. At all events negotiations progressed so rapidly that on 17 April the first agreement with the Crown was signed, and on 30 April the second. Both show an unwise liberality on the part of the monarchs, who made the highest office in what was afterwards the West Indies hereditary in the family of Columbus. Preparations were immediately begun for the equipment of the expedition. The squadron with which Columbus set out on his first voyage consisted of three vessels–the Santa Maria, completely decked, which carried the flag of Columbus as admiral, the Pinta, and the Niña, both caravels, i.e. undecked, with cabins and forecastles. These three ships carried altogether 120 men. Two seamen of repute, Martín Alonso Pinzon and his brother Vicente Yanez Pinzon, well-to-do-residents of Palos commanded, the former the Pinta. the latter the Niña, and experienced pilots were placed on both ships. Before leaving, Columbus received the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, at the hands (it is stated) of Father Juan Perez, the officers and crews of the little squadron following his example. On 3 August, 1492, the people of Palos with heavy hearts saw them depart on an expedition regarded by many as foolhardy.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella bid farewell to Columbus for his First Voyage, Departure for the New World, August 3, 1492.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella bid farewell to Columbus for his First Voyage, Departure for the New World, August 3, 1492.

Las Casas claims to have used the journal of Columbus’s first voyage, but he admits that he made an abridged copy of it. What and how much he left out, of course, is not known. But it is well to bear in mind that the journal, as published, is not the original in its entirety. The vessels touched at the Canaries, and then proceeded on the voyage. Conditions were most favourable. Hardly a wind ruffled the waters of the ocean. The dramatic incident of the mutiny, in which the discouragement of the crews is said to have culminated before land was discovered, is a pure invention. That there was dissatisfaction and grumbling at the failure to reach land seems to be certain, but no acts of insubordination are mentioned either by Columbus, his commentator Las Casas, or his son Fernando. Perhaps the most important event during the voyage was the observation, 17 September, by Columbus himself, of the declination of the magnetic needle, which Las Casas attributes to a motion of the polar star. The same author intimates that two distinct journals were kept by the admiral, “because he always represented [feigned] to the people that he was making little headway in order that the voyage should not seem long to them, so that he kept a record by two routes, the shorter being the fictitious one, and the longer the true one”. He must therefore either have kept two log-books, or he must have made two different entries in the same book. At any rate Las Casas seems to have had at his command both sets of data, since he gives them almost from day to day. This precautionary measure indicates that Columbus feared insubordination and even revolt on the part of the crews, but there is no evidence that any mutiny really broke out. Finally, at ten o’clock, p.m., 11 October, Columbus himself described a light which indicated land and was so recognized by the crew of his vessel. It reappeared several times, and Columbus felt sure that the shores so eagerly expected were near. At 2 a.m. on 12 October the land was seen plainly by one of the Pinta’s crew, and in the forenoon Columbus landed on what is now called Watling’s Island in the Bahama group, West Indies. The discoverers named the island San Salvador. The Indians inhabiting it belonged to the widespread Arawak stock and are said to have called the island Guanahani. Immediately after landing Columbus took possession of the island for the Spanish sovereigns.

The results of the first voyage, aside from the discovery of what the admiral regarded as being approaches to India and China, may be summed up as follows: partial recognition of the Bahamas; the discovery and exploration of a part of Cuba, and the establishment of a Spanish settlement on the coast of what is now the Island of Haiti or Santo Domingo. Cuba Columbus named Juana, and Santo Domingo, Hispaniola.

Columbus on his voyage

It was on the northern coast of the large island of Santo Domingo that Columbus met with the only serious mishap of the first voyage. Having established the nucleus of the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Indies, he left about three score men to hold it. The vicinity was comparatively well peopled by natives, Arawaks like those of the Bahamas, but slightly more advanced in culture. A few days previous to the foundation Martin Alonso Pinzon disappeared with the caravel Pinta which he commanded and only rejoined the admiral on 6 January, 1493, an act, to say the least, of disobedience, if not of treachery. The first settlement was officially established on Christmas Day, 1492, and hence christened “La Navidad”. On the same day the admiral’s ship ran aground. It was a total loss, and Columbus was reduced for the time being to the Niña, as the Pinta had temporarily deserted. Happily the natives were friendly. After ensuring, as well as he might, the safety of the little colony by the establishment of friendly relations with the Indians, Columbus left for Spain, where, after weathering a frightful storm during which he was again separated from the Pinta, he arrived at Palos, 15 March, 1493.

From the journal mentioned we also gather (what is not stated in the letters of Columbus) that while on the northern shores of Santo Domingo (Hispaniola) the admiral “learned that behind the Island Juana [Cuba] towards the South, there is another large island in which there is much more gold. They call that island Yamaye. . . . And that the island Española or the other island Yamaye was near the mainland, ten days distant by canoe, which might be sixty or seventy leagues, and that there the people were clothed [dressed]“. Yamaye is Jamaica, and the mainland alluded to as sixty or seventy leagues distant to the south (by south the west is meant), or 150 to 175 English miles (the league, at that time, being counted at four millas of 3000 Spanish feet), was either Yucatan or Honduras. Hence the admiral brought the news of the existence of the American continent to Europe as early as 1493. That he believed the continent to be Eastern Asia does not diminish the importance of his information.

Christopher Columbus

Columbus had been careful to load his ship with all manner of products of the newly discovered countries and he also took some of the natives. Whether, among the samples of the vegetable kingdom, tobacco was included, is not yet satisfactorily ascertained. Nor is it certain that, when upon his return he presented himself to the monarchs at Barcelona, an imposing public demonstration took place in his honour. That he was received with due distinction at court and that he displayed the proofs of his discovery can not be doubted. The best evidence of the high appreciation of the King and Queen of Spain is the fact, that the prerogatives granted to him were confirmed, and everything possible was done to enable him to continue his explorations. The fact that Columbus had found a country that appeared to be rich in precious metals was of the utmost importance. Spain was poor, having been robbed, ages before, of its metallic wealth by the Romans. As gold was needed the discovery of a new source of that precious metal made a strong impression on the people of Spain, and a rush to the new regions was inevitable.

Columbus started on his second voyage to the Indies from Cadiz, 25 September, 1493, with three large vessels and thirteen caravels, carrying in all about 1500 men. On his first trip, he had heard about other, smaller islands lying some distance south of Hispaniola, and said to be inhabited by ferocious tribes who had the advantage over the Arawaks of being intrepid seafarers, and who made constant war upon the inhabitants of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas, carrying off women and children into captivity. They were believed to practice cannibalism. These were the Caribs and the reports about them were true, outside of some exaggerations and fables like the story of the Amazons. Previous to the arrival of Columbus the Caribs had driven the Arawaks steadily north, depopulated some of the smaller islands, and were sorely pressing the people of Hispaniola, parts of Cuba, Porto Rico, and even Jamaica. Columbus wished to learn more about these people. The helpless condition of the Arawaks made him eager to protect them against their enemies. The first land sighted, 3 November, was the island now known as Dominica, and almost at the same time that of Marie Galante was discovered. Geographically the second voyage resulted in the discovery of the Caribbean Islands (including the French Antilles), Jamaica, and minor groups. Columbus having obtained conclusive evidence of the ferocious customs of the Caribs, regarded them as dangerous to the settlements he proposed to make among the Arawaks and as obstacles to the Christianization and civilization of these Indians. The latter he intended to make use of as labourers, as he soon perceived that for some time to come European settlers would be too few in numbers and too new to the climate to take advantage of the resources of the island. The Caribs he purposed to convert eventually, but for the time being they must be considered as enemies, and according to the customs of the age, their captors had the right to reduce them to slavery. The Arawaks were to be treated in a conciliatory manner, as long as they did not show open hostility. Before long, however, there was a change in these relations.

Map of the Atlantic Ocean, made ​​by Columbus and his brother Bartolomeo, ca 1490

Map of the Atlantic Ocean, made ​​by Columbus and his brother Bartolomeo, ca 1490

After a rapid survey of Jamaica, Columbus hastened to the northern coast of Haiti, where he had planted the colony of La Navidad. To his surprise the little fort had disappeared. There were to be seen only smouldering ruins and some corpses which were identified as Spanish. The natives, previously so friendly, were shy, and upon being questioned were either mute or contradictory in their replies. It was finally ascertained that another tribe, living farther inland and hostile to those on the coast, had fallen upon the fort, killed most of the inmates, and burnt most of the buildings. Those who escaped had perished in their flight. But it also transpired that the coast people themselves had taken part in the massacre. Columbus, while outwardly on good terms with them, was on his guard and, in consequence of the aversion of his people to a site where only disaster had befallen them, moved some distance farther east and established on the coast the larger settlement of Isabella. This stood ten leagues to the east of Cape Monte Cristo, where the ruins are still to be seen.

The existence of gold on Haiti having been amply demonstrated on the first voyage, Columbus inaugurated a diligent search for places where it might be found. The gold trinkets worn by the Indians were washings or placeres, but mention is also made, on the first voyage, of quartz rock containing the precious metal. But it is likely that the yellow mineral was iron pyrites, probably gold-bearing but, in the backward state of metallurgy, worthless at the time. Soon after the settlement was made at Isabella the colonists began to complain that the mineral wealth of the newly discovered lands had been vastly exaggerated and one, who accompanied the expedition as expert in metallurgy, claimed that the larger nuggets held by the natives had been accumulated in the course of a long period of time. This very sensible supposition was unjustly criticized by Irving, for since Irving’s time it has been clearly proved that pieces of metal of unusual size and shape were often kept for generations by the Indians as fetishes.

Statue of Christopher Columbus in Spain

Statue of Christopher Columbus in Spain

A more important factor which disturbed the Spanish was the unhealthiness of the climate. The settlers had to go through the slow and often fatal process of acclimatization. Columbus himself suffered considerably from ill-health. Again, the island was not well provided with food suitable for the newcomers. The population, notwithstanding the exaggerations of Las Casas and others, was sparse. Isabella with its fifteen hundred Spanish immigrants was certainly the most populous settlement. At first there was no clash with the natives, but parties sent by Columbus into the interior came in contact with hostile tribes. For the protection of the colonists Columbus built in the interior a little fort called Santo Tomas. He also sent West Indian products and some Carib prisoners back to Spain in a vessel under the command of Antonio de Torres. Columbus suggested that the Caribs be sold as slaves in order that they might be instructed in the Christian Faith. This suggestion was not adopted by the Spanish monarchs, and the prisoners were treated as kindly in Spain as the friendly Arawaks who had been sent over.

The condition of affairs on Hispaniola (Haiti) was not promising. At Isabella and on the coast there was grumbling against the admiral, in which the Benedictine Father Buil (Boil) and the other priests joined, or which, at least, they did not discourage. In the interior there was trouble with the natives. The commander at Santo Tomas, Pedro Margarite, is usually accused of cruelty to the Indians, but Columbus himself in his Memorial of 30 January, 1494, commends the conduct of that officer. However, he had to send him reinforcements, which were commanded by Alonzo de Ojeda.

Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels) is a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of Columbus's three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, built for the 500th anniversary celebrations in 1992. The museum has details of Columbus's life, including this exhibit.

Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels) is a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of Columbus’s three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, built for the 500th anniversary celebrations in 1992. The museum has details of Columbus’s life, including this exhibit.

Anxiously following up his theory that the newly discovered islands were but outlying posts of Eastern Asia and that further explorations would soon lead him to the coast of China or to the Moluccas, Columbus, notwithstanding the precarious condition of the colony, left it in charge of his brother Diego and four counsellors (one of whom was Father Buil), and with three vessels set sail towards Cuba. During his absence of five months he explored parts of Cuba, discovered the Isle of Pines and several groups of smaller islands, and made the circuit of Jamaica, landing there almost every day. When he returned to Isabella (29 September, 1494), he was dangerously ill and in a stupor. Meanwhile his brother Bartholomew had arrived from Spain with a small squadron and supplies. He proved a welcome auxiliary to the weak Diego, but could not prevent serious trouble. Margarite, angered by interference with his administration in the interior, returned to the coast, and there was joined by Father Buil and other malcontents. They seized the three caravels that had arrived under the command of Bartholomew Columbus, and set sail in them for Spain to lay before the Government what they considered their grievances against Columbus and his administration.

That there was cause for complaint there seems to be no doubt, but it is almost impossible now to determine who was most at fault, Columbus or his accusers. He was certainly not as able an administrator as he was a navigator. Still, taking into consideration the difficulties, the novelty of the conditions, and the class of men Columbus had to handle, and placing over against this what he had already achieved on Haiti, there is not so much ground for criticism. The charges of cruelty against the natives are based upon rather suspicious authority, Las Casas being the principal source. There were errors and misdeeds on both sides, which, however, might not have brought about a crisis had not disappointment angered the settlers, who had based their expectations on the glowing reports of Columbus himself, and disposed them to attribute all their troubles to their opponents.

A replica of the Santa María, Columbus’ flagship in 1492 seen in the harbour of Funchal, Madeira.

A replica of the Santa María, Columbus’ flagship in 1492 seen in the harbor of Funchal, Madeira.

Before the return of Columbus to Isabella, Ojeda had repulsed an attempt of the natives to surprise Santo Tomas. Thereupon the Indians of various tribes of the interior now formed a confederation and threatened Isabella. Columbus, however, on his return, with the aid of firearms, sixteen horses, and about twenty blood-hounds easily broke up the Indian league. Ojeda captured the leader, and the policy of kindness hitherto pursued towards the natives was replaced by repression and chastisement. According to the customs of the times the prisoners of war were regarded as rebels, reduced to slavery, and five hundred of these were sent to Spain to be sold. It is certain that the condition of the Indians became much worse thereafter, that they were forced into unaccustomed labours, and that their numbers began to diminish rapidly. That these harsh measures were authorized by Columbus there can be no doubt.

Subscription14While the Spanish monarchs in their dispatches to Columbus continued to show the same confidence and friendliness they could not help hearing the accusations made against him by Father Buil, Pedro Margarite, and the other malcontents, upon their return to Spain. It was clear that there were two factions among the Spaniards in Haiti, one headed by the admiral, the other composed of perhaps a majority of the settlers including ecclesiastics. Still the monarchs enjoined the colonists by letter to obey Columbus in everything and confirmed his authority and privileges. The incriminations, however, continued, and charges were made of nepotism and spoliation if royal revenue. There was probably some foundation for these charges, though also much wilful misrepresentation. Unable to ascertain the true condition of affairs, the sovereigns finally decided to send to the Indies a special commissioner to investigate and report. Their choice fell upon Juan de Aguado who had gone with Columbus on his first voyage and with whom he had always been on friendly terms. Aguado arrived at Isabella in October, 1495, while Columbus was absent on a journey of exploration across the island. No clash appears to have occurred between Aguado and Bartholomew Columbus, who was in charge of the colony during his brother’s absence, much less with the admiral himself upon the latter’s return. Soon after, reports of important gold discoveries came from a remote quarter of the island accompanied by specimens. The arrival of Aguado convinced Columbus of the necessity for his appearance in Spain and that new discoveries of gold would strengthen his position there. So he fitted out two ships, one for himself and one for Aguado, placing in them two hundred dissatisfied colonists, a captive Indian chief (who died on the voyage), and thirty Indian prisoners, and set sail for Spain on 10 March, 1496, leaving his brother Bartholomew at Isabella as temporary governor. As intercourse between Spain and the Indies was now carried on at almost regular intervals. Bartholomew was in communication with the mother country and was at least tacitly recognized as his brother’s substitute in the government of the Indies. Columbus reached Cadiz 11 June, 1496.

The story of his landing is quite dramatic. He is reported to have gone ashore, clothed in the Franciscan garb, and to have manifested a dejection which was wholly uncalled for. His health, it is true, was greatly impaired, and his companions bore the marks of great physical suffering. The impression created by their appearance was of course not favourable and tended to confirm the reports of the opponents of Columbus about the nature of the new country. This, as well as the disappointing results of the search for precious metals, did not fail to have its influence. The monarchs saw that the first enthusiastic reports had been exaggerated, and that the enterprise while possibly lucrative in the end, would entail large expenditures for some time to come. Bishop Fonseca, who was at the head of colonial affairs, urged that great caution should be exercised. What was imputed to Bishop Fonseca as jealousy was only the sincere desire of an honest functionary to guard the interests of the Crown without blocking the way of an enthusiastic but somewhat visionary genius who had been unsuccessful as an administrator. Later expressions (1505) of Columbus indicate that the personal relations to Fonseca were at the time far from unfriendly. But the fact that Columbus had proposed the enslaving of American natives and actually sent a number of them over to Spain had alienated the sympathy of the queen to a certain degree, and thus weakened his position at court.

Christopher Columbus is shown landing in the West Indies. Painting by John Vanderlyn

Christopher Columbus is shown landing in the West Indies. Painting by John Vanderlyn

Nevertheless, it was not difficult for Columbus to organize a third expedition. Columbus started on his third voyage from Seville with six vessels on 30 May, 1498. He directed his course more southward than before, owing to reports of a great land lying west and south of the Antilles and his belief that it was the continent of Asia. He touched at the Island of Madeira, and later at Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, whence he sent to Haiti three vessels. Sailing southward, he went to the Cape Verde Islands and, turning thence almost due west, arrived on 31 July 1498, in sight of what is now the Island of Trinidad which was so named by him. Opposite, on the other side of a turbulent channel, lay the lowlands of north-eastern South America. Alarmed by the turmoil caused by the meeting of the waters of the Orinoco (which empties through several channels into the Atlantic opposite Trinidad) with the Guiana current, Columbus kept close to the southern shore of Trinidad as far as its south-western extremity, where he found the water still more turbulent. He therefore gave that place the name of Boca del Drago, or Dragon’s Mouth. Before venturing into the seething waters Columbus crossed over to the mainland and cast anchor. He was under the impression that this was an island, but a vast stream of fresh water gave evidence of a continent. Columbus landed, he and his crew being thus the first Europeans to set foot on South American soil. The natives were friendly and gladly exchanged pearls for European trinkets. The discovery of pearls in American waters was important and very welcome.

A few days later, the admiral, setting sail again, was borne by the currents safely to the Island of Margarita, where he found the natives fishing for pearls, of which he obtained three bags by barter.

The Cross of Parra, also known as the Columbus Cross, is part of the original cross erected by Christopher Columbus in Baracoa, Cuba on December 27, 1492.

The Cross of Parra, also known as the Columbus Cross, is part of the original cross erected by Christopher Columbus in Baracoa, Cuba on December 27, 1492.

Some of the letters of Columbus concerning his third voyage are written in a tone of despondency. Owing to his physical condition, he viewed things with a discontent far from justifiable. And, as already said, his views of the geographical situation were somewhat fanciful. The great outpour opposite Trinidad he justly attributed to the emptying of a mighty river coming from the west, a river, so large that only a continent could afford its space. In this he was right, but in his eyes that continent was Asia, and the sources of that river must be on the highest point of the globe. He was confirmed in this idea by his belief that Trinidad was nearer the Equator than it actually is and that near the Equator the highest land on earth should be found. He thought also that the sources of the Orinoco lay in the Earthly Paradise and that the great river was one of the four streams that according to Scripture flowed from the Garden of Eden. He had no accurate knowledge of the form of the earth, and conjectured that it was pear-shaped.

Cruz de Parra. A replica of the cross set in this place by Christopher Columbus, December 1492.

Cruz de Parra. A replica of the cross set in this place by Christopher Columbus, December 1492.

On 15 August, fearing a lack of supplies, and suffering severely from what his biographers call gout and from impaired eyesight, he left his new discoveries and steered for Haiti. On 19 August he sighted that island some distance west of where the present capital of the Republic of Santo Domingo now stands. During his absence his brother Bartholomew had abandoned Isabella and established his head-quarters at Santo Domingo so called after his father Domenico. During the absence of Columbus events on Haiti had been far from satisfactory. His brother Bartholomew, who was then known as the adelantado, had to contend with several Indian outbreaks, which he subdued partly by force, partly by wise temporizing. These outbreaks were, at least in part, due to a change in the class of settlers by whom the colony was reinforced. The results of the first settlement far from justified the buoyant hopes based on the exaggerated reports of the first voyage, and the pendulum of public opinion swung back to the opposite extreme. The clamour of opposition to Columbus in the colonies and the discouraging reports greatly increased in Spain the disappointment with the new territorial acquisitions. That the climate was not healthful seemed proved by the appearance of Columbus and his companions on his return from the second voyage. Hence no one was willing to go to the newly discovered country, and convicts, suspects, and doubtful characters in general who were glad to escape the regulations of justice were the only reinforcements that could be obtained for the colony on Hispaniola. As a result there were conflicts with the aborigines, sedition in the colony, and finally open rebellion against the authority of the adelantado and his brother Diego. Columbus and his brothers were Italians, and this fact told against them among the malcontents and lower officials, but that it influenced the monarchs and the court authorities is a gratuitous charge.

As long as they had not a common leader Bartholomew had little to fear from the malcontents, who separated from the rest of the colony, and formed a settlement apart. They abused the Indians, thus causing almost uninterrupted trouble. However, they soon found a leader in the person of one Roldan, to whom the admiral had entrusted a prominent office in the colony. There must have been some cause for complaint against the government of Bartholomew and Diego, else Roldan could not have so increased the number of his followers as to make himself formidable to the brothers, undermining their authority at their own head-quarters and even among the garrison of Santo Domingo. Bartholomew was forced to compromise on unfavourable terms. So, when the admiral arrived from Spain he found the Spanish settlers on Haiti divided into two camps, the stronger of which, headed by Roldan, was hostile to his authority. That Roldan was an utterly unprincipled man, but energetic and above all, shrewd and artful, appears from the following incident. Soon after the arrival of Columbus the three caravels he had sent from Gomera with stores and ammunition struck the Haitian coast where Roldan had established himself. The latter represented to the commanders of the vessels that he was there by Columbus’s authority and easily obtained from them military stores as well as reinforcements in men. On their arrival shortly afterward at Santo Domingo the caravels were sent back to Spain by Columbus. Alarmed at the condition of affairs and his own importance, he informed the monarchs of his critical situation and asked for immediate help. Then he entered into negotiations with Roldan. The latter not only held full control in the settlement which he commanded, but had the sympathy of most of the military garrisons that Columbus and his brothers relied upon as well as the majority of the colonists. How Columbus and his brother could have made themselves so unpopular is explained in various ways. There was certainly much unjustifiable ill will against them, but there was also legitimate cause for discontent, which was adroitly exploited by Roldan and his followers.

Painting of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo.

Painting of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo.

Seeing himself almost powerless against his opponents on the island, the admiral stooped to a compromise. Roldan finally imposed his own conditions. He was reinstated in his office and all offenders were pardoned; and a number of them returned to Santo Domingo. Columbus also freed many of the Indian tribes from tribute, but in order still further to appease the former mutineers, he instituted the system of repartimientos, by which not only grants of land were made to the whites, but the Indians holding these lands or living on them were made perpetual serfs to the new owners, and full jurisdiction over life and property of these Indians became vested in the white settlers. This measure had the most disastrous effect on the aborigines, and Columbus has been severely blamed for it, but he was then in such straits that he had to go to any extreme to pacify his opponents until assistance could reach him from Spain. By the middle of the year 1500 peace apparently reigned again in the colony, though largely at the expense of the prestige and authority of Columbus.

Meanwhile reports and accusations had reached the court of Spain from both parties in Haiti. It became constantly more evident that Columbus was no longer master of the situation in the Indies, and that some steps were necessary to save the situation. It might be said that the Court had merely to support Columbus whether right or wrong. But the West Indian colony had grown, and its settlers had their connections and supporters in Spain, who claimed some attention and prudent consideration. The clergy who were familiar with the circumstances through personal experience for the most part disapproved of the management of affairs by Columbus and his brothers. Queen Isabella’s irritation at the sending of Indian captives for sale as slaves had by this time been allayed by a reminder of the custom then in vogue of enslaving captive rebels or prisoners of war addicted to specially inhuman customs, as was the case with the Caribs. Anxious to be just, the monarchs decided upon sending to Haiti an officer to investigate and to punish all offenders. This visitador was invested with full power, and was to have the same authority as the monarchs themselves for the time being, superseding Columbus himself, though the latter was the Viceroy of the Indies. The visita was a mode of procedure employed by the Spanish monarchs for the adjustment of critical matters, chiefly in the colonies. The visitador was selected irrespective of rank or office, solely from the standpoint of fitness, and not infrequently his mission was kept secret from the viceroy or other high official whose conduct he was sent to investigate; there are indications that sometimes he had summary power over life and death. A visita was a much dreaded measure, and for very good reasons.

Francisco de Bobadilla arrests Christopher Columbus

Francisco de Bobadilla arrests Christopher Columbus

The investigation in the West Indies was not called a visita at the time, but such it was in fact. The visitador chosen was Francisco de Bobadilla, of whom both Las Casas and Oviedo (friends and admirers of Columbus) speak in favourable terms. His instructions were, as his office required, general and his faculties, of course, discretionary; there is no need of supposing secret orders inimical to Columbus to explain what afterwards happened. The admiral was directed, in a letter addressed to him and entrusted to Bobadilla, to turn over to the latter, at least temporarily, the forts and all public property on the island. No blame can be attached to the monarchs for this measure. After an experiment of five years the administrative capacity of Columbus had failed to prove satisfactory. Yet, the vice-regal power had been vested in him as an hereditary right. To continue adhering to that clause of the original contract was impracticable, since the colony refused to pay heed to Columbus and his orders. Hence the suspension of the viceregal authority of Columbus was indefinitely prolonged, so that the office was reduced to a mere title and finally fell into disuse. The curtailment of revenue resulting from it was comparatively small, as all the emoluments proceeding from his other titles and prerogatives were left untouched. The tale of his being reduced to indigence is a baseless fabrication.

Columbus' shipsA man suddenly clothed with unusual and discretionary faculties is liable to be led astray by unexpected circumstances and tempted to go to extremes. Bobadilla had a right to expect implicit obedience to royal orders on the part of all and, above all, from Columbus as the chief servant of the Crown. When on 24 August, 1500, Bobadilla landed at Santo Domingo and demanded of Diego Columbus compliance with the royal orders, the latter declined to obey until directed by the admiral who was then absent. Bobadilla, possibly predisposed against Columbus and his brothers by the reports of others and by the sight of the bodies of Spaniards dangling from gibbets in full view of the port, considered the refusal of Diego as an act of direct insubordination. The action of Diego was certainly unwise and gave colour to an assumption that Columbus and his brothers considered themselves masters of the country. This implied rebellion and furnished a pretext to Bobadilla for measures unjustifiably harsh. As visitador he had absolute authority to do as he thought best, especially against the rebels, of whom Columbus appeared in his eyes as the chief.

Within a few days after the landing of Bobadilla, Diego and Bartholomew Columbus were imprisoned and put in irons. The admiral himself, who returned with the greatest possible speed, shared their fate. The three brothers were separated and kept in close confinement, but they could hear from their cells the imprecations of the people against their rule. Bobadilla charged them with being rebellious subjects and seized their private property to pay their personal debts. He liberated prisoners, reduced or abolished imposts, in short did all he could to place the new order of things in favourable contrast to the previous management. No explanation was offered to Columbus for the harsh treatment to which he was subjected, for a visitador had only to render account to the king or according to his special orders. Early in October, 1500, the three brothers, still in fetters, were placed on board ship, and sent to Spain, arriving at Cadiz at the end of the month. Their treatment while aboard seems to have been considerate; Villejo, the commander, offered to remove the manacles from Columbus’s hands and relieve him from the chains, an offer, however, which Columbus refused to accept. It seems, nevertheless, that he did not remain manacled, else he could not have written the long and piteous letter to the nurse of Prince Juan, recounting his misfortunes on the vessel. He dispatched this letter to the court at Granada before the reports of Bobadilla were sent.

The news of the arrival of Columbus as a prisoner was received with unfeigned indignation by the monarchs, who saw that their agent Bobadilla had abused the trust placed in him. The people also saw the injustice, and everything was done to relieve Columbus from his humiliating condition and assure him of the royal favour, that is, everything except to reinstate him as Governor of the Indies. This fact is mainly responsible for the accusation of duplicity and treachery which is made against King Ferdinand. Critics overlook the fact that in addition to the reasons already mentioned no new colonists could be obtained from Spain, if Columbus were to continue in office, and that the expedient of sending convicts to Haiti had failed disastrously. Moreover, the removal of Columbus was practically implied in the instructions and powers given to Bobadilla, and the conduct of the admiral during Aguado’s mission left no room for doubt that he would submit to the second investigation. He would have done so, but Bobadilla, anxious to make a display and angered at the delay of Diego Columbus, exceeded the spirit of his instructions, expecting thereby to rise in royal as well as in popular favour.

Fernando Colón, son of Christopher Columbus.

Fernando Colón, son of Christopher Columbus.

In regard to the former he soon found out his mistake. His successor in the governorship of Haiti was soon appointed in the person of Nicolas de Ovando. Bobadilla was condemned to restore to Columbus the property he had sequestered, and was recalled. The largest fleet sent to the Indies up to that time sailed under Ovando on 13 February, 1502. It is not without significance that 2500 people, some of high rank, flocked to the vessels that were to transport the new governor to the Indies. This shows that with the change in the administration of the colony faith in its future was restored among the Spanish people. By this time the mental condition of Columbus had become greatly impaired. While at court for eighteen months vainly attempting to obtain the restoration to a position for which he was becoming more and more unfitted, he was planning new schemes. Convinced that his third voyage had brought him nearer to Asia, he proposed to the monarchs a project to recover the Holy Sepulchre by the western route, that would have led him across South America to the Pacific Ocean. He fancied that the large river he had discovered west of Trinidad flowed in a direction opposite to its real course, and thought that by following it he could reach the Red Sea and thence cross over to Jerusalem. So preoccupied was he with these ideas that he made arrangements for depositing part of his revenue with the bank of Genoa to be used in the reconquest of the Holy Land. This alone disposes of the allegations that Columbus was left without resources after his liberation from captivity. He was enabled to maintain a position at court corresponding to his exalted rank, and favours and privileges were bestowed on both of his sons. The project of testing the views of Columbus in regard to direct communication with Asia was seriously considered, and finally a fourth voyage of exploration at the expense of the Spanish Government was conceded to Columbus. That there were some misgivings in regard to his physical and mental condition is intimated by the fact that he was given as companions his brother Bartholomew, who had great influence with him, and his favourite son Fernando. Four vessels carrying, besides these three and a representative of the Crown to receive any treasure that might be found, about 150 men, set sail from San Lucar early in May, 1502. Columbus was enjoined not to stop at Haiti, a wise measure, for had the admiral landed there so soon after the arrival of Ovando, there would have been danger of new disturbances. Disobeying these instructions, Columbus attempted to enter the port of Santo Domingo, but was refused admission. He gave proof of his knowledge and experience as a mariner by warning Ovando of an approaching hurricane, but was not listened to. He himself sheltered his vessels at some distance from the harbour. The punishment for disregarding the friendly warning came swiftly; the large fleet which had brought Ovando over was, on sailing for Spain, overtaken by the tempest, and twenty ships were lost, with them Bobadillo, Roldan, and the gold destined for the Crown. The admiral’s share of the gold obtained on Haiti, four thousand pieces directly sent to him by his representative on the island, was not lost, and on being delivered in Spain, was not confiscated. Hence it is difficult to see how Columbus could have been in need during the last years of his life.

The vessels of Columbus having suffered comparatively little from the tempest, he left the coast of Haiti in July, 1502, and was carried by wind and current to the coast of Honduras. From 30 July, 1502, to the end of the following April he coasted Central America beyond Colon to Cape Tiburon on the South American Continent. On his frequent landings he found traces of gold, heard reports of more civilized tribes of natives farther inland, and persistent statements about another ocean lying west and south of the land he was coasting, the latter being represented to him as a narrow strip dividing two vast seas. The mental condition of Columbus, coupled with his physical disabilities, prevented him from interpreting these important indications otherwise than as confirmations of his vague theories and fatal visions. Instead of sending an exploring party across the isthmus to satisfy himself of the truth of these reports, he accepted this testimony to the existence of a sea beyond, which he firmly believed to be the Indian Ocean, basing his confidence on a dream in which he had seen a strait he supposed to be the Strait of Malacca. As his crews were exasperated by the hardships and deceptions, his ships worn-eaten, and he himself emaciated, he turned back towards Haiti with what he thought to be the tidings of a near approach to the Asiatic continent. It had been a disastrous voyage; violent storms continually harassed the little squadron, two ships had been lost, and the treasure obtained far from compensated for the toil and the suffering endured. This was all the more exasperating when it became evident that a much richer reward could be obtained by penetrating inland, to which, however, Columbus would not or perhaps could not consent.

Photo of the tomb of Christopher Columbus at the cathedral of Seville, Spain, by Paul Hermans.

Photo of the tomb of Christopher Columbus at the cathedral of Seville, Spain, by Paul Hermans.

On 23 June, 1503, Columbus and his men, crowded on two almost sinking caravels, finally landed on the inhospitable coast of Jamaica. After dismantling his useless craft, and using the material for temporary shelter, he sent a boat to Haiti to ask for assistance and to dispatch thence to Spain a vessel with a pitiful letter giving a fantastic account of his sufferings which in itself gave evidence of an over-excited and disordered mind.

Ovando to whom Columbus’s request for help was delivered at Jaragua (Haiti) cannot be acquitted of unjustifiable delay in sending assistance to the shipwrecked and forsaken admiral. There is no foundation for assuming that he acted under the orders or in accordance with the wishes of the sovereigns. Columbus had become useless, the colonists in Haiti would not tolerate his presence there. The only practical course was to take him back to Spain directly and remove him forever from the lands the discovery of which had made him immortal. In spite of his many sufferings, Columbus was not utterly helpless. His greatest trouble came from the mutinous spirit of his men who roamed about, plundering and maltreating the natives, who, in consequence, became hostile and refused to furnish supplies. An eclipse of the moon predicted by Columbus finally brought them to terms and thus prevented starvation. Ovando, though informed of the admiral’s critical condition, did nothing for his relief except to permit Columbus’s representative in Haiti to fit out a caravel with stores at the admiral’s expense and send it to Jamaica; but even this tardy relief did not reach Columbus until June, 1504. He also permitted Mendez, who had been the chief messenger of Columbus to Haiti, to take passage for Spain, where he was to inform the sovereigns of the admiral’s forlorn condition. There seems to be no excuse for the conduct of Ovando on this occasion. The relief expedition finally organized in Haiti, after a tedious and somewhat dangerous voyage, landed the admiral and his companions in Spain, 7 November, 1504.

The death of Queen Isabella the Catholic. Painted by Eduardo Rosales

The death of Queen Isabella the Catholic. Painted by Eduardo Rosales

A few weeks later Queen Isabella died, and grave difficulties beset the king. Columbus, now in very feeble health, remained at Seville until May, 1505, when he was at last able to attend court at Valladolid. His reception by the king was decorous, but without warmth. His importunities to be restored to his position as governor were put off with future promises of redress, but no immediate steps were taken. The story of the utter destitution in which the admiral is said to have died is one of the many legends with which his biography has been distorted. Columbus is said to have been buried at Valladolid. His son Diego is authority for the statement that his remains were buried in the Carthusian Convent of Las Cuevas, Seville, within three years after his death. According to the records of the convent, the remains were given up for transportation to Haiti in 1536, though other documents placed this event in 1537. It is conjectured, however, that the removal did not take place till 1541, when the Cathedral of Santo Domingo was completed, though there are no records of this entombment. When, in 1795, Haiti passed under French control, Spanish authorities removed the supposed remains of Columbus to Havana. On the occupation of Cuba by the United States they were once more removed to Seville (1898).

The death of Columbus. Lithograph by L. Prang & Co., 1893.

The death of Columbus. Lithograph by L. Prang & Co., 1893.

Columbus was unquestionably a man of genius. He was a bold, skilful navigator, better acquainted with the principles of cosmography and astronomy than the average skipper of his time, a man of original ideas, fertile in his plans, and persistent in carrying them into execution. The impression he made on those with whom he came in contact even in the days of his poverty, such as Fray Juan Perez, the treasurer Luis de Santangel, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and Queen Isabella herself, shows that he had great powers of persuasion and was possessed of personal magnetism. His success in overcoming the obstacles to his expeditions and surmounting the difficulties of his voyages exhibit him as a man of unusual resources and of unflinching determination.

Columbus was also of a deeply religious nature. Whatever influence scientific theories and the ambition for fame and wealth may have had over him, in advocating his enterprise he never failed to insist on the conversion of the pagan peoples that he would discover as one of the primary objects of his undertaking. Even when clouds had settled over his career, after his return as a prisoner from the lands he had discovered, he was ready to devote all his possessions and the remaining years of his life to set sail again for the purpose of rescuing Christ’s Sepulchre from the hands of the infidel.

Christopher Columbus at the gates of the monastery of Santa Maria de la Rabida with his son Diego. Painting by Benito Mercade y Fabregas

Christopher Columbus at the gates of the monastery of Santa Maria de la Rabida with his son Diego. Painting by Benito Mercade y Fabregas


Other members of the Columbus family also acquired fame:

Diego. Diego, the first son of Christopher and heir to his titles and prerogatives, was born at Lisbon, 1476, and died at Montalvan, near Toledo, 23 February, 1526. He was made a page to Queen Isabella in 1492, and remained at court until 1508. Having obtained confirmation of the privileges originally conceded to his father (the title of viceroy of the newly discovered countries excepted) he went to Santo Domingo in 1509 as Admiral of the Indies and Governor of Hispaniola. The authority of Diego Velazquez as governor, however, had become too firmly established, and Diego was met by open and secret opposition, especially from the royal Audiencia. Visiting Spain in 1520 he was favourably received and new honours bestowed upon him. However, in 1523, he had to return again to Spain to answer charges against him. The remainder of his life was taken up by the suit of the heirs of Columbus against the royal treasury, a memorable legal contest only terminated in 1564. Diego seems to have been a man of no extraordinary attainments, but of considerable tenacity of character.

Ferdinand. Ferdinand, better known as Fernando Colon, second son of Christopher, by Doña Beatriz Enriquez, a lady of a noble family of Cordova in Spain, was born at Cordova, 15 August, 1488; died at Seville, 12 July 1539. As he was naturally far more gifted than his half-brother Diego, he was a favourite with his father, whom he accompanied on the last voyage. As early as 1498 Queen Isabella had made him one of her pages and Columbus in his will (1505) left him an ample income, which was subsequently increased by royal grants. Fernando had decided literary tastes and wrote well in Spanish. While it is stated that he wrote a history of the West Indies, there are now extant only two works by him: “Descripción y cosmografía de España”, a detailed geographical itinerary begun in 1517, published at Madrid in the “Boletin de la Real Sociedad geográfica” (1906-07); and the life of the admiral, his father, written about 1534, the Spanish original of which has been lost. It was published in an Italian translation by Ulloa in 1571 as “Vita dell’ ammiraglio”, and re-translated into Spanish by Barcia. “Historiadores primitivos de Indias” (Madrid, 1749). As might be expected this biography is sometimes partial, though Fernando often sides with the Spanish monarchs against his father. Of the highest value is the report by Fray Roman Pane on the customs of the Haitian Indians which is incorporated into the text. (See ARAWAKS.) Fernando left to the cathedral chapter of Seville a library of 20,000 volumes, a part of which still exists and is known as the Biblioteca Columbina.

Bartholomew. Bartholomew, elder brother of Christopher, born possibly in 1445 at Genoa; died at Santo Domingo, May, 1515. Like Christopher he became a seafarer at an early age. After his attempts to interest the Kings of France and England in his brother’s projects, his life was bound up with that of his brother. It was during his time that bloodhounds were introduced into the West Indies. He was a man of great energy and some military talent, and during Christopher’s last voyage took the leadership at critical moments. After 1506 he probably went to Rome and in 1509 back to the West Indies with his nephew Diego.

Diego. Diego, younger brother of Christopher and his companion on the second voyage, born probably at Genoa; died at Santo Domingo after 1509. After his release from chains in Spain (1500) he became a priest and returned to the West Indies in 1509.

The tract of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, De prima in mari Indico lustratione, was published with the Bellum Christianorum principum of ROBERT ABBOT OF SAINT-REMI (Basle, 1533).–Codice diplomatico-Colombo-Americano, ossia Raccolia di documenti spettanti a Cr. Col., etc. (Genoa, 1823); ANON., Cr. Col. aiutato dei minorite nella scoperta del nuovo mondo (Genoa, 1846); SANGUINETTI, Vita di Colombo (Genoa, 1846); BOSSI, Vita di Cr. Col. (Milan, 1818); SPOTORNO, Della origine e della patria di Cr. Col. (Geonoa, 1819); NAVARRETE, Coleccion de los viajes y descubrimientas. . .desde fines del siglo XV (Madrid, 1825), I, II; AVEZAC-MACAYA, Annee veritable de la naissance de Chr. Col. (Paris, 1873); ROSELLY DE LORGNES, Vie et voyages de Chr. Col. (Paris, 1804), from which was compiled by BARRY, Life of Chr. Col. (New York, 1869); COLUMBUS, FERDINAND, French tr. by MULLER, Hist. de la vie et des decouvertes de Chr. Col. (Paris, s.d.); MAJOR (tr.), Select Letters of Chr. Col. (London, 1847 and 1870); HARRISSE, Fernando Colon historiador de du padre (Seville, 1871); VIGNAUD, La maison d’Alba et les archives colombiennes (Paris, 1901); l’HAGON, La Patria dr Colon segun los documentos de las ordenes militares (Madrid, 1892); UZIELLO in Congresso geografico italiano; Atti for April, 1901, Tascanelli, Colombo e Vespucci (Milan, 1902); WINSOR, Christopher Columbus (Boston, 1891); ADAMS, Christopher Columbus, in Makers of America (New York, 1892); DURO, Colon y la Historia Postuma (Madrid, 1885); THACHER, Christopher Columbus: His Life, His Work, His Remains (3 vols., New York, 1903-1904); IRVING, Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (3 vols., New York, 1868); PETER MARTYR, Dr orbe nova (Alcala, 1530); LAS CASAS, Historia de las Indias in Documentas para la historia de Espana; OVIEDO, Hist. general (Madrid, 1850). The last three authors had personal intercourse with Columbus, and their works are the chief source of information concerning him. CLARKE, Christopher Columbus in The Am. Cath. Quart. Rev. (1892); SHEA, Columbus, This Century’s Estimate of His Life and Work (ibid.); U.S. CATH. HIST. SOC., The Cosmographier Introductio of Martin Waldseemuller (New York, 1908).

AD. F. BANDELIER (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 325