Louis López de Solís
Augustinian Servant of God
Louis López de Solís (1535-1606) was an Augustinian missionary to South America. He became a Bishop. In that role, he vigorously defended the rights of and promoted justice for the native peoples.
Louis was born in 1535 in Salamanca, Spain. He professed vows in the Augustinian Order in 1553.
He undertook studies for the Priesthood. After being ordained Deacon, but before completing his studies, Louis, along with ten other Augustinian friars, was sent to Peru. He was ordained a Priest in Peru.
Following a period of missionary activity among the native peoples, Louis was asked to teach Theology in Lima and Trujillo, Peru. While teaching, he continued his studies, earning a Doctor's Degree. He was then given the Chair of Theology at Saint Mark University, Lima.
Louis was selected for several leadership roles in the Order of Saint Augustine. He was Prior (local superior), a member of the Province Council and Prior Provincial (regional superior). He was universally respected for his enthusiasm and wisdom and for the witness of his regular lifestyle.
At the Third Council of Lima, Louis was present as a theological expert. He participated in the Fourth Council of Lima as Prior Provincial of the Augustinians in Peru.
In 1591, Louis was nominated Bishop of Río de la Plata (today Asunción, Paraguay). At first he did not want to accept this position, but finally was persuaded to do so not only by his religious superiors but also by civil authorities.
While he was still awaiting his official appointment as Bishop of Río de la Plata, he received word in 1592 that he had been named Bishop of Quito, Ecuador.
There he founded two seminaries. One of them was dedicated to the formation of native people as Priests. In a letter, Louis gave high praise to his native clergy, saying that their ministry was more fruitful and more Christian than that of the missionaries who had come from Spain.
Louis visited all parts of his vast Diocese, even the most remote villages. He steadfastly worked for justice in the treatment of the native peoples. He was not afraid to challenge civil authorities whenever their actions failed to respect the rights of the natives.
In 1601, Louis participated in the Fifth Council of Lima. By this time he was feeling the effects of his age and poor health. He hoped to retire and spend his last years in a monastery. Instead, he was named Archbishop of Charcas.
While on his way to Charcas, Louis stopped at Saint Augustine Monastery in Lima. A few days later, he died there. The year was 1606.
The process of Louis' beatification and canonization began in 1996 with a diocesan investigation in Lima and Quito. The Congregation of Saints recognized the validity of his cause in 1999. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, now oversees the progress of cause.