Thursday, 19 April 2018 00:00

Saint Pedro Poveda: priestly celebrations

MADRID, Spain.

Saint Pedro Poveda always lived the anniversaries of his priestly ordination and first mass with gratitude and depth. On April 17, 1897, he was ordained a priest in the chapel of the episcopal palace of Guadix and on April 21st he celebrated his first solemn Mass in the same place.

The Teresian Association keeps alive the memory of his St. Pedro Poveda, aware that there is his deepest identity, which led him to pronounce before his martyrdom "I am a priest of Jesus Christ." In different places of the world these dates are an opportunity for encounter and communion.

Among the many aspects of the spirituality of St. Pedro Poveda, we offer a text by Mª Dolores Gómez Molleda, which is part of a book recently published by the Editorial Narcea, “Pedro Poveda y nosotros. Un equipaje espiritual para cristianos laicos” (Pedro Poveda and us. A spiritual baggage for lay Christians); (1) along with an invitation to read the set of lectures delivered by the author between 2005 and 2011.

Men and women of the Spirit

"Despite the predominance of the tendency to move away from the world lived in highly qualified social and religious sectors at the beginning of the twentieth century, it is surprising to see the position taken by Pedro Poveda when he was a young spiritual director,” writes to a married lady [Ms. Carmen Escario] (2)

"Holiness is compatible with all life situations, with all temperaments, with all ages and gender. Nothing and nobody are impediments, be it occupations, business, contrariety, abundance, or scarcity. No specific penances are required, no  specific prayer time, no prescribed reading, or any particular prayer (...)

Thus, one can be holy in that situation, in that house, in those occupations and in that atmosphere. Thus, if one is not holy, it depends on one’s will, because God wants it, and it is possible. The necessary requirements are: great desire and perseverance; love for the will of God and continuous prayer (...) and great trust in the Lord. Continuous prayer does not mean continuous devotions, only constant presence of God."

In this way Poveda bridged the Christian's distance from the world, recognizing it as a place for holiness. He maintained this position since the beginning of the XX century until his death.

The first Christians, each with their own destiny, animated the pagan society with their faith in a quiet and effective way. The members of the Work of Poveda, like the early Christians, each one in their own situation were involved in the world `as a soul that cannot be seen but gives life.' Being a soul and giving life costs a lot. Wanting to combine a spiritual life with a relaxed and comfortable life is absurd. Do not make religion "semi-supernatural", "disconcerting." Life in the world, according to Poveda, requires first of all keeping one's Christian vocation to perfection without betraying it. This vocation should configure the intimate spiritual self and the public self of the member of his Work. We have to be what we say, in action, in private, in public, in family, in society, alone or with everyone.

We have to be in the world committed to everything human but in the open, without losing sight of the divine; blending in with `ordinary people, but internally devoted to the cause of the Kingdom, like Christ, the true regenerator of humanity.' Throughout Poveda's writings, one is asked to live in the world, but to live in the world in the Spirit, "taking its renewing force to the heart of earthly realities," as Paul VI said. (3)

What is the real the difference between `the worldly 'and the` not worldly' established by Pedro Poveda?

"Everything we do, apparently others do also, and if the work they perform (...) is not transcendent (...) it is because it is not inspired, informed, and carried out by the spirit; it lacks spirit". (4)

Consequently, Pedro Poveda, proposes a way of thinking and attitudes that move away from what is esteemed as a "worldly spirit." We live with people - he writes - we carry out our normal activities, but 'we do not profess the criteria of the world', 'nor are we subject to ordinances different from those of the gospel'. (5)

In daily life, this implies a difficult asceticism that seeks the path of freedom of the new man, who does not rely on power, proven science, wealth or human strength. (…)


(1) Mª Dolores Gómez Molleda, Conferencias 2005-2011. Pedro Poveda y nosotros. Un equipaje espiritual para cristianos laicos. Narcea Ediciones, 2018, pp.141-142. lecture given on May 13,  2011 at the International Congress of Lay Spirituality.  Published in Elisa Estévez López (Coord.), "Hombres y mujeres de espiritu en el siglo XXI", as part of a Seminar organized by Pedro Poveda Chair of the Pontifical University of Salamanca,  2012, pp. 229-256. 

(2) Pedro Poveda, Obras, Vol. V, Epistolario, Letter from Pedro Poveda to Carmen Escario s.f., 1898 [2].

(3) Pablo VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, December 8, 1975.

(4) Espíritu de nuestra Obra Teresiana (1916) [78].

(5) Porque aunque andamos en carne, no militamos según la carne (1920) [160]; 2 Co 10, 3-5.


Pedro Poveda's website  - Time line -.




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