Biography of San Juan de Ávila (1499-1569)

Mystic and ascetic, writer, born 6 January 1499 in Almodovar del Campo (Toledo) and died in 1569 in Montilla (Córdoba); It was of Jewish lineage from father. Critics still disputed whether it belonged to the secular or regular clergy. He/She made his studies of law in Salamanca (1513) and four years after retired to Almodóvar, where led a withdrawn life. In 1520 he/she moved to Alcalá de Henares, where he/she studied theology with Domingo de Soto. Since July 22, 1526 he/she devoted himself to preaching in Andalusia, in the Archbishopric of Seville. Later he/she preached in Lebrija, Guadaira, Écija. In the latter city he/she met Doña Sancha Carrillo, for whom he/she composed his major work, Audi, filia, commentary on verses 11 and 12 of the 44 psalmo. He/She was imprisoned by the Inquisition in the autumn of 1532 and acquitted the following year. Your stay in Cordoba, where heard him preach Luis of Granada, who was to become his disciple and would be his biographer is documented in 1535. In 1536 traveled to Granada and in 1537 to Écija, where he/she attended the funeral of Doña Sancha Carrillo. Upon his return to Granada in 1538, it is possible to receive the higher theological degrees. During its stay in Granada he/she was Francisco de Borja as a disciple. Next activity preacher, Juan de Ávila was dedicated to Foundation for priests - and smaller schools - Baeza, Granada - Jaen, Sevilla, Córdoba, Evora, Alcalá. Since 1555, seriously ill, he/she settled in Montilla, where maintained epistolary correspondence, among others with Santa Teresa de Jesús. His best-known work is the susomentada Audi, filia, probably written before 1526; supposedly, although does not base such an opinion, would have been drawn up during your stay in jail due to problems with the Inquisition. They followed new Newsroom in 1537 and 1545 - notices and Christian rulers (Alcalá, 1556) and 1565 and 1574 - book spiritual to dealing with the languages of the world, flesh and Devil and remedies against them (Toledo, 1574), these last reviewed at the behest of the inquisitorial censors. Other treaties writings of his hand are graduates Doctrina christiana (Valencia, 1554), two talks made priests (Córdoba, 1595), rules of good living (Antwerp, 1595), spiritual documents (Madrid, 1623), letters (Baeza, a. 1578) and numerous sermons, warnings and reform treaty with a view to the Council; Although attributed to Fray Luis de Granada, yours would also be the translation of Contemptus mundi, again romanzado (Seville, 1536). Many of his disciples went to form part of the company of Jesus and the reformed Carmel, suffering incessant sometimes inquisitorial persecution as their teacher. His mystical and ascetic work happens to be fundamental in the formation of numerous Renaissance writers. Less well known is his role as a scientist, although he/she tells them: I, the master Juan de Ávila (...) say that it is thus that I found with my work and industry four arts or wits upload water of low to high, that are named balance of boxes, encouraging dead waters, suplevientos and prudent ways. However, the memory that remains of this character is an ascetic that influenced later, Spanish and European spirituality of remarkable way, and that it would be beatified in 1894 and canonized in 1970.

Fray Luis de Granada.


Avila, j. of: complete works, 7 vols. (Madrid, 1970).

Maple, R. San Juan de Avila and the reform of the Church in Spain, Madrid, 1970.

MUÑOZ MUÑOZ, A. time and language in the works of the master Juan de Ávila, Salamanca, 1976.

MC CLURE, Torrance, Style, themes and ideas in the works of San Juan de Ávila, Ann Arbor, 1985.