Juan de Padilla

Friar Minor, protomartyr of the United States, born Andalusia, Spain; died Hall County, Nebraska, c.1544. He joined the Franciscan Order and c.1528, went to Mexico, there joining the Franciscan province of the Holy Gospel. Chaplain for the expedition to Nueva Galicia, under Nullo de Guzman, 1529-1531, from 1531-1540 he engaged in missionary labors among the Indians and built the convent at Tzapoltan and the monastery at Tulantcingo. In 1540 he set out with Coronado on the famous march to the Seven Cities, going as far as Quivira and the Lower Loup River in Nebraska. After the departure of the expedition, Father Padilla remained behind with Father Juan de la Cruz and Brother Luis de Ubeda to work among the Tiguez on the Rio Grande. Setting out to visit the hostile Guas to the south, he was attacked by a band of savages and killed while kneeling in prayer.

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