“Trust Yourself to God” : Friar Francisco Pareja and the Franciscans in Florida, 1595-1702
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts, Department of Humanities, College of Arts & Sciences, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Friar Francisco Pareja represented the pinnacle of the achievement for the Franciscans in Florida during the Spanish colonial period. But who were the Franciscans? Why were they, and Friar Pareja in particular, so successful as missionaries? The bulk of the writing done thus far on the mission system in Florida has concentrated on retelling the lost story of the native peoples who once inhabited the land. The impact of the missions and the Spanish colony weighed heavily on native cultures and the Franciscans role in this has been discussed. However, little has been said about the religious order itself, and the Order of Friars minor is the focus of this manuscript. Research for this manuscript was conducted at several sites, in particular at the St. Augustine Historical Society and the P. K. Yonge Library at the University of Florida. In both microfilm and in reprints there exists in these locations several of the letters and other documents that were copied from the Archivo General de los Indias in Seville. Also, other writings and documents have been collected in journals and other sources accessible through the internet. Friar Pareja’s Confesionario in 1613 was the earliest example of a Native American language translated into a European one. This feat was accomplished by a iii member of a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, one that was dedicated to a principle that did not always fall in line with that of the Spanish colonial government. While the Franciscans did aid in cultural destruction, their dedication to their Faith should not be overlooked. Friar Pareja’s Confesionario was just one example of the Friars’ trust in God aiding them in making a lasting impact on Florida’s past.