Bartolomé de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies

20 July -- Commemoration
If observed as a Lesser Festival, Common of Any Saint, page 527

Bartolomé de las Casas was the sixteenth-century Dominican priest who became known as 'the defender of the Indians' in 'the new world' of America. Born in 1484 at Las Casas in Seville, Bartolomé arrived in Haiti in 1502 and underwent a conversion after witnessing the injustices inflicted on the Indians. Proclaiming that Jesus Christ was being crucified in the poor, he went on to spend a lifetime challenging the Church and the Empire of his day. He was consecrated Bishop of Chiapa in Mexico in 1543 where he continued his prophetic rôle and emerges as a man of unquestioned courage and a theologian of remarkable depth, whose vision continues to set in relief the challenge of the gospel in a world of injustice. He died on 18 July 1566.