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Alvarez de Paz

Famous mystic of the Society of Jesus (1560-1620)

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Alvarez de Paz, a famous mystic of the Society of Jesus, b. at Toledo in 1560; d. at Potosi, January 17, 1620. He entered the Society in 1578, taught theology and philosophy at Lima, and was Provincial of Peru. He acknowledged to his confessor that, during all the distracting occupations of twenty-five years, his union with God had never been interrupted. Sometimes, during his sermons, he fell into ecstasy and had to be carried from the pulpit. The fame of his sanctity was so great in South America, that, when he arrived, in a dying condition, at Potosi, the whole city came out to receive his blessing. On the day of his death 100,000 men in the silver mines stopped work to assist at his obsequies. He is said to have had the gift of prophecy, and it is reported that after his death his body remained incorrupt. Hurter says of the three folio volumes of his works: “Summi aestimantur rara et cara sunt”. His first treatise is “De vita spirituali ejusque perfectione” (1608); his second, “De exterminatione mall et promotione boni” (1613); his third, “De inquisitione pacis, sive de studio orationis” (1611). The work has been widely used in compendiums, extracts, and translations. In the opinion of a recognized authority on mysticism, Father Poulain, S.J., writing in Vacant, “his bent is not so much to observe patiently, as to philosophize and display much erudition. He is the first to use the expression oratio affectiva, implying a species of contemplation or meditation in which the affections dominate. He does not appear to have read St. Teresa, whose works were just published, and he may be regarded as one of the last representatives of the ancient schools of mysticism.”


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