Last Friday, the plenary session of the Municipal Corporation of Vilaflor de Chasna adopted a relevant agreement regarding its most illustrious and universal son, the Holy Brother Pedro de Bethencourt, born in said Tenerife town in 1626 and died in Guatemala in 1667 in praise of holiness. It is a request that the chasnera Corporation officially makes and that is addressed to the Canarian prelates so that Brother Pedro is appointed co-patron of the Nivariense and Canariense Dioceses respectively. There are more than enough merits that, in my opinion, this humble shepherd from the south of Tenerife possesses and that transcend beyond a specific religion or a particular way of living faith and spirituality. And it is that, in addition to the fact that Pedro de Bethencourt is the first native of the Canary Islands to have been canonized (by His Holiness John Paul II on July 30, 2002), his exceptional figure and work in favor of others continues to be, despite of the more than three centuries that have passed since his death, a reference to follow for present and future generations. Thus, Brother Pedro can be considered the most relevant and universal figure of all those who have come to the world in the Canary Archipelago, an authentic precursor of Human Rights at a time (17th century) in which said rights did not enjoy legal endorsement. and they were rarely part of the ethical-legal debate of the time, since it would not be until 1948 when Human Rights, as basic and inalienable rights of every human being, will obtain international recognition and treatment. Brother Pedro de Bethencourt anticipated said Universal Declaration by offering his help and consolation to all those who needed it in the stratified Guatemalan society of the 17th century without making distinctions based on race, sex, age, social or ethnic origin of the people who served him. they needed. And so, Hermano Pedro was a forerunner in children’s literacy, especially of Indian and black children, who did not usually receive any kind of instruction due to their belonging to the lowest strata of society at the time. He was also ahead of his time, being the first to promote social assistance in America by founding the first convalescent hospital, given that at that time many patients who escaped from a serious illness later died during their convalescence unattended because they had no one to care for them. take care Brother Pedro dedicated his time to those most in need, giving them all the food and clothing he could get. In addition, he visited and cared for patients who, because they were afflicted with disgusting diseases such as leprosy, no one wanted to attend, performing from the simplest tasks (such as sweeping and cleaning altars or asking for alms) to the most difficult, such as visiting once a week. prisoners in prisons and try to ease their harsh living conditions as much as possible.
The commendable work in favor of the weakest and most needy carried out by Brother Pedro during the half of his life that he spent in Guatemala justifies, without a doubt, his appointment as co-patron of the two dioceses that exist in the archipelago in which he was born and the which is closely linked by family ties. Thus, and with respect to the Diocese of Nivariense, for having been the island of Tenerife where he was born, while with respect to the Diocese of Canariense, for the majority of his ancestors, on both his paternal and maternal sides, were aboriginal from the island of Gran Canaria who joined the Castilian army that conquered the island of Tenerife in 1496 and among whom we can mention a large group of Canarian warriors, already baptized with Spanish names and surnames, who decisively participated in the conquest and repopulation of Tenerife, such as Alonso de Córdoba, Pedro Delgado, Diego de Torres, Juan Buenviaje, Pedro González and Pedro Texena or Texenen, the latter his aboriginal name from Gran Canaria. Given these unquestionable merits, it is not surprising that the City Council of Vilaflor de Chasna, through a letter addressed to Fecam, has asked the rest of the 87 municipal corporations of the Archipelago to adhere to the official request for the humble goatherd Pedro de Bethencourt, the man who was charity, is named co-patron of the two existing dioceses in the islands that saw him born almost four centuries ago.