Saint Miguel Febres Cordero
SAINT MIGUEL FEBRES CORDERO
(died 1910 A.D.)
Miguel is a Spanish name meaning “Who is like God?” Cordero is a Spanish word for “Lamb.”
Do you have a long name? Probably not as long as this saint, Francesco Luis Febres-Cordero y Muñoz. He had a long name but took a short one when he began religious life. And that short name is how he is known today. Brother Miguel.
On November 7, 1854, Francesco Luis was born in Ecuador in South America. His feet had a deformity which made him unable to stand or walk. When he was five years old, the Blessed Mother appeared to him and cured him. When he was eight, a bull attempted to gore him, but he claimed to be saved by the Blessed Mother. His own mother, who educated him until her death when he was nine years old, was replaced by a stepmother who took her place.
That same year he was enrolled in a school run by the Christian Brothers who had just come to his area. When he desired to enter the Christian Brothers, his father initially strongly opposed it. However, God had his way and, on 24 March 1868, when Francesco Luis was fourteen years old, he became a member of the Christian Brothers. On the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, he received the habit and the name Brother Miguel.
For over thirty years, Brother Miguel was a teacher in Quito. Known for his gentleness and dedication, he also published his own school books as well as teaching manuals. The government adopted some of his textbooks. He also did research and authored books on literature and languages, translated various texts, and received many honors for his work. He conducted retreats, helped prepare students for the First Communion, and served as Novice director for new young men joining the Order. In 1888, he represented his Order at the beatification of its founder John Baptist de la Salle. When his health began to fail in 1908, he continued to work until he was so infirm that work was impossible. Then he prayed and managed to make a pilgrimage in Spain to the site of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin known as the Virgin of the Pillar. Here Our Lady had appeared to Saint James the Apostle. Brother Miguel prayed to Our Lady in this holy place. He was prepared for his death from pneumonia in 1910.
Brother Miguel’s life was one of faithfulness to his duties for love of God. May he pray for us to live as faithful to our duties and as obedient to our superiors as he was.