Pedro Poveda Castroverde

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Pedro Poveda Castroverde
BornDecember 3, 1874
Linares, Spain
DiedJuly 28, 1936(1936-07-28) (aged 61)
Madrid, Spain
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
BeatifiedOctober 10, 1993, Rome, Italy by Pope John Paul II
CanonizedMay 4, 2003, Madrid, Spain by Pope John Paul II
PatronageTeresian Association

Pedro Poveda (born Pedro José Luis Francisco Javier Poveda Castroverde; December 3, 1874 - July 28, 1936) was a Spanish priest, humanist, educator and martyr. He was the founder of the Teresian Association. His humanitarian-educational activity had lasted for over 30 years up until his execution by persecutors of Christian faith in 1936. Poveda was canonized in 2003, his feast day is 28 July.


Youth and scholarship[edit]

Pedro Poveda was born December 3, 1874 at Linares, Spain to a family of solid Christians José Poveda Montes and María Linarejos Castroverde Moreno. Deciding to become a priest at the young age, he entered the seminary in Jaen in 1889, and then transferred to the seminary of Guadix, Granada, where he had been offered a scholarship by the Bishop.[1] Ordained on April 17, 1897, at the age of twenty-three. He taught at the seminary, continued his studies, and received his licentiate in theology in Seville in 1900.

Beginning of educational activity[edit]

In 1902 he was assigned to preach a Lenten mission in Guadix to the Roma people who lived in the caves. He began Christian doctrine classes, then two schools for the children. Poveda moved to the caves in order to live closer to the people. He began Christian doctrine classes, then a school for boys and girls, a dining room and evening classes for adults.[2] He collected funds for the project, travelling through the province and to Madrid where he had good friends, and organized the St. Vincent de Paul Conferences. Convinced of the importance of education, he founded the Schools of the Sacred Heart for poor children. In 1905, due to difficulties with the acceptance of his socio-educational activities he was obliged to abandon the work in the Caves of Guadix and at the age of thirty-two accepted an appointment as a canon of the Basilica of Covadonga, Asturias.

Establishment of the Teresian Association, later years[edit]

His time in Guadix had impressed Pedro with the need for education for the poor. He began to published articles and pamphlets on the question of the professional formation of teachers.[1] These constitute the beginning of what later on will become the Teresian Association. The Academies were an answer to the critical situation of the times. In Spain, at the end of the nineteenth century, 68% of men and 79% of women were illiterate.[3]

He joined the Apostolic Union of Secular Priests in 1912, wrote on the need for more teachers, and opened teacher training centers. He returned to teaching at the seminary at Jaen, served as spiritual director of Los Operarios Catechetical Centre, and taught religion at the Teachers Training School.[3] In 1921 he was transferred to Madrid and was appointed a chaplain of the Royal Palace.[2] In 1922 he was appointed to the Central Board Against Illiteracy, and continued to work with the Teresian Association.


When the Civil War broke out, he was identified as an enemy by those who wished to dechristianize the schools. A few days before his death he wrote, "Now more than ever we must study the lives of the first Christians so as to learn from them how to behave in times of persecution. See how they obeyed the Church, how they confessed Christ, how they prepared for martyrdom, how they prayed for their persecutors and forgave them...."[2]

At dawn, on July 28, 1936 a group of paramilitaries came to search his house. Fr. Pedro identified himself,"I am a priest of Christ".[4] He was shot by firing squad for his faith and for the cause of Christian education.[5] Father Poveda was sixty-one years old.


He was beatified by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica on October 10, 1993, together with Victoria Diez, a member of the Teresian Association. This association has schools around the world, including Brazil. Ireland, Philippines, India and in most South American capitals. He was canonized on May 4, 2003, by Pope John Paul II in Madrid, Spain.[5] His work is continued by the many men, women and youth on four continents by the Teresian Association.


"St Pedro Poveda, grasping the importance of the role of education in society, undertook an important humanitarian and educational task among the marginalized and the needy. He was ... a teacher of the Christian life and of the relationship between faith and knowledge, convinced that Christians must bring essential values and commitment to building a world that is more just and mutually supportive. His life ended with the crown of martyrdom." [6]

Palacete de José Goyanes Capdevila (Madrid), Headquarters of the Teresian Association

Teresian Association[edit]

Father Poveda was deeply aware of both the need for education in his country, and for qualified teachers to provide it. He also saw this as an important role for women. In 1911 Pedro founded 1911 the St. Teresa of Avila Academy in Oviedo for those ladies studying to become teachers.[3] He named it St. Teresa of Avila, a woman of learning, a doctor of the Church, and a teacher of prayer. He named his organization the Teresian Association. Its aim is to invite men and women to work for a social and human transformation, in accordance with Gospel values, from the platform of their own professions, especially those related to the fields of education and culture.[7] The early members of the Association were women involved in all levels of education, from elementary to the provision of higher education for women. Additional academies were established in many other cities of Spain.

In 1914 he opened Spain's first university residence for women in Madrid. Residences for women were opened in those places that have a university.

In 1924, Pope Pius XI approved the Teresian Association as a "pious union of the faithful", and later spread to Chile and Italy.[5] In 1951 the Teresian Association was granted the status of Secular Institute. On 10 July 1990, Pope John Paul II approved that it reverts to its original identity as being an Association of the Faithful. The Teresian Association is registered in the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life of the Holy See. It is active in thirty countries. Its objective is the human promotion of individuals and the transformation of unjust structures by means of an education and culture imparted from a Christian perspective.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pedro Poveda Castroverde", Vatican News Service
  2. ^ a b c "Saint Pedro Poveda", Teresian Association
  3. ^ a b c Butler, Alban, Burns, Paul. "St. Pedro Poveda Castroverde, Founder and Martyr", Butler's Lives of the Saints: Supplement of new saints and blessed, Vol. 1, Liturgical Press, 2005 ISBN 9780814618370
  4. ^ Hollingsworth, Gerelyn. "On this day: St. Pedro Poveda", National Catholic Reporter, July 28, 2011
  5. ^ a b c "St. Pedro Poveda Castroverde, OCD", the Order of Carmelites
  6. ^ Homily of John Paul II on the occasion of his Apostolic Journey to Spain, 4 May 2003
  7. ^ "Pedro Poveda's Life", Archived November 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]