San Juán de Ávila

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John of Ávila

John of Ávila was an inspirational man. He was born in 1499 in Almodóvar del Campo, in central Spain. At the age of fourteen, in 1513, he was sent to the University of Salamanca to study law but he withdrew and switched to the study of philosophy and theology parcticing the most austere piety.

When his parents died, he briefly returned home, sold all of his family property and distributed the money among the poor. He saw in the severing of natural ties a vocation to foreign missionary work and prepared to go to Mexico.

He traveled to Seville to await departure for the Indies in January 1527.

The Apostole of Andalusia

But he never did embarked for México. He was induced by the Archbishop of Sevile to stay, and he did, for nine years.

John’s first sermon was preached on 22 July 1529, and immediately established his reputation. During his nine years of missionary work, crowds packed the churches at all his sermons.

John v. The Inquisition

John of Ávila’s strong pleas for reform and his denunciation of the behaviour of the aristocracy meant that he was denounced to the office of the Inquisition in 1531, and put in prison in the summer of 1532. He was charged with attempting to close the gates of heaven to the rich.

But John was a very well known, respected and loved presence within the Spanish Church and to the parish and the trick didn’t work, the charges were refuted.

Mapping the life of John

So to depict the key moments in the life of John of Ávila, we produced a 23-minute movie to tell the life of John of Ávila. We shot on location with a carefully selected cast, our own script and a specially composed score by Gastón Horischnik.

The piece became a permanent mapping projected onto the altarpice, inside of the church in Almodovar del Campo, John’s hometown.

Now, anyone can step into this old baroque church and see the man for who he was.

On spanish TV

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