Saint Miguel Febres Cordero, F.S.C.
Saint Miguel Febres Cordero is Ecuador’s first canonized saint. He was born in 1854 in the city of Cuenca, which is located 8,000 feet high in the Andes mountains. His grandfather had been active in Ecuador’s struggle for independence in 1822. His father taught English and French in the seminary in Cuenca, and his mother was a devout woman who was active in many of the local works of charity.
Francisco was crippled in both legs from birth and was unable to stand until he was five years old. His mother cared for him and educated him at home until he was nine. He then attended the De La Salle Brothers school in Cuenca where he became an outstanding student. He was chosen to give the address of welcome to President Garcia Moreno when he came to visit the school.
He joined the Christian Brothers as a teenager and during his first years as a brother developed a Spanish grammar textbook that was published when he was 19 years old. Brother Miguel’s grammar book eventually became the standard text for all schools in Ecuador. He continued his work on similar educational publications and became recognized internationally as an educational writer. Brother Miguel also ministered extensively in the area of religious education and made a lifelong commitment of preparing young people for the sacraments. He was a humble, dedicated religious who devoted himself to the stewardship of education, both in the Spanish language arts and in religious formation for youth. Besides his accomplishments in the areas of religious education, he was known as a man of prayer, and a person with a generous heart. He died in 1910 at the age of 56 and was canonized by Saint John Paul II in 1984. Although he is not on the General Roman Calendar, his feast day is February 9.
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