Tuesday, 18 April 2017

# Saints

Saint Peter of Saint Joseph de Betancur

Statue of St. Peter of St. Joseph in the Cave of Santo Hermano Pedro,
Tenerife, Spain.
The 18th of April is the feast day of Saint Peter of Saint Joseph de Betancur. He is the patron saint of Canary Islands, Guatemala, Central America, catechists of Guatemala, Honorary Mayor of municipalities in the south of Tenerife and Honorary Mayor of Antigua Guatemala, of the homeless.

Saint Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur is also known as Pedro de San Jose Betancur or Hermano Pedro. He lived between 1626 to 1667 and was born in Canary Islands living in poverty. He was a shepherd until he travelled to Guatemala at 24 years old in the hope to see a relative and to become a priest. The journey greatly impoverished him so that he entered a bread line which was served by the Franciscans. He then worked in a textile factory and studied for the priesthood in a Jesuit college. However, he was a poor student and had to drop out of school. He then became a Third Order Franciscan. He helped the poor, the oppressed in jails, ministering to African slaves, Native Americans and those in hospitals. He founded a hospital and school for the poor and shelter for the homeless. He also preached by inviting the rich to repent of their sins. He was known as the Saint Francis of the Americas. People started to follow his way of life and he founded the Bethlehemite Brothers and Sisters. Their charism was devoted to the Divine Child and the Blessed Virgin and prayed and offered sacrifices for the holy souls in purgatory as well as serving the poor. Every night Saint Peter carried a wooden cross down the street as a way to evangelise and to offer penance. He is said to have started the Posadas procession during Advent. He was canonised by Pope Saint John Paul II and is the first saint from Central America.

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