Blessed Bartholomew of Olmedo
Blessed Bartholomew of Olmedo (1485-1524) was a Spanish Mercedarian priest, and the first priest to arrive on Mexican soil in 1516 at the age of 31. He was chaplain for the expedition of Spanish Conquistador Fernando Cortés, who began the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the downfall of the Aztec empire. Bartholomew was well-liked by the native people. He taught them the Christian faith and exhorted them to end their practice of human sacrifice. He also defended them against injustice and restrained Cortés from acting out in violence against them. Bartholomew taught the native Mexicans devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Mercy, which they embraced. Blessed Bartholomew of Olmedo baptized more than 2500 people before he died in Mexico in 1524 at the age of 39. He was buried in Santiago de Tlatelolco. His feast day is February 11.
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