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A History of the Catholic Church in the American South,
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James M. Woods

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035321

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035321.001.0001

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Padres, Prairies, and Piney Woods

Padres, Prairies, and Piney Woods

Catholicism in Spanish Texas, 1519–1763

(p.32) Two Padres, Prairies, and Piney Woods
A History of the Catholic Church in the American South, 1513–1900

James M. Woods

University Press of Florida

One of the first Europeans to set foot in Texas was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Cabeza de Vaca's odyssey prompted two major exploratory trips into what is now the United States. Well into the seventeenth century, Spain made few efforts to expand settlements or Catholicism into Texas. Not even the mystical appearance of the “Lady in Blue” spurred them into Texas. Franciscan father Juan Larios advanced missionary efforts to the banks of the Rio Grande by 1670. While visiting his sister in Durango in 1670, Fr. Larios met two Indians from above the Rio Grande who requested missionaries. Believing this chance meeting a providential act, he relocated to just above Monclova in the present Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders the Rio Grande. After laboring alone among Indians just below that river, Larios received some assistance in 1673 from two fellow Franciscans, Father Francisco Peñasco de Lozano and Brother Manuel de la Cruz.

Keywords:   Texas, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, United States, Spain, settlements, Catholicism, Lady in Blue, Juan Larios, Rio Grande, Francisco Peñasco de Lozano

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