SAINT PETER OF ALCANTARA
Saint Peter of Alcantara was born in Alcantara, Spain in 1499. His father was the Governor of the province and his mother came from a noble family. He was privately tutored and attended the University of Salamanca. After he returned home from university, he joined the Franciscans.
Peter was accepted as a Franciscan Friar of the Stricter Observance in the Friary at Manxaretes Extramadura in 1515.
At the young age of 22, he was sent to found a community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.
He was ordained as a priest in 1524 and in 1525 he became Guardian of the friary of St. Mary of the Angels at Robredillo, Old Castile.
He later entered the Order of the reform of the Discalced Friars. By 1538, he was elected the Superior of St. Gabriel province. As the superior, he drew up new constitutions for the order of Stricter Observance, however these were met with resistance. Eventually he resigned from this post.
Peter then began a new life, one of less formal responsibility but one of greater spiritual responsibility. He took up his spiritual cross and preached with great success to the poor. Peter preferred preaching to this group more than any other and he frequently drew inspiration from the Old Testament books. His sermons often concentrated on the topic of on compassion.