THE UNIVERSITY’S founder, Fr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., was unrecognized in his hometown of Carreon de los Condes in Palencia, Spain for the past 400 years until last July 1, when a bronze statue of him was unveiled there with Spanish and Filipino Dominicans and Spanish government officials in attendance.

“It appears that although late, the people of Carreon delos Condes and Spain finally served the recognition due to Benavides,” Fr. Pedro Tejero O.P., UST Seminary spiritual adviser, said. Tejero, a Spanish Dominican like Benavides, was one of the UST delegates sent to witness the inauguration.

Former UST Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana O.P. explained that Benavides was buried in Manila, the people of Condes might not have heard of his enduring contributions to Philippine education and to the Philippine Church.

“Benavides died in the Philippines in 1605, far from his homeland,” Lana said.

Lana said it was through the efforts of both Spanish and Filipino Dominican fathers that Benavides was made known to the people of Carreon delos Condes.

“The Dominican fathers gave them Spanish reading materials on the life of Benavides,” Lana said.

Benavides was the first bishop of Nueva Segovia (now Vigan) and the third Archbishop of Manila. Before becoming a bishop, Benavides was a tireless Dominican missionary. He wrote Doctrina Cristiana in Chinese, one of the first books to be printed in the Philippines in 1593.

Although Benavides died in 1605, his endowment of his personal fortune of P1,500 and his personal library to the establishment of a school was realized in 1611 when the Dominicans set up the Collegio de Santo Tomas, which became UST. As such, he is recognized as the founder of the University.

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A compromise

Aside from the inauguration of Benavides’ statue, Tejero said the people of Carreon de los Condes also launched an exhibit of Benavides’s memorabilia, which included the University’s foundation acts, valuable coins, and paintings.

The University also donated two paintings from the College of Fine Arts and Design and a painting by renowned international Filipino artist Rene Robles to be displayed at a church in Carreon delos Condes, Tejero said.

“One of the paintings presents Benavides preaching the Gospel to the Chinese of Manila, while another is a reproduction of 18th-century old painting at the Rector’s Office,” Tejero said. Leonard James D. Postrado

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