Louis of Granada

Louis of Granada

Louis of Granada (1505 - December 31, 1588) was a Dominican theologian, writer, and preacher. He was born at Granada, Spain. Died at Lisbon, Portugal.


He was born of poor parents. At the age of nineteen he was received into the Dominican Order in the convent of Santa Cruz, Granada. His philosophical studies finished, he was chosen by his superiors to represent his convent at the College of St. Gregory at Valladolid, an institution of the Dominican Order reserved for extraordinary students.

His studies completed, he entered upon the career of a preacher, in which he continued with extraordinary success during forty years. The fame of his preaching spread beyond the boundaries of his native land, and at the request of the Cardinal-Infante, Dom Henrique of Portugal, son of King Manuel, he was transferred to Portugal, where he became provincial of the Portuguese Dominicans in 1557. His extraordinary sanctity, learning, and wisdom soon attracted the attention of the queen regent, who appointed him her confessor and counselor. The Bishopric of Viseu and the Archbishopric of Braga were successively offered to him only to be courteously, but firmly, refused. The honours of the cardinalate, offered to him by Pope Sixtus V, were also declined.

Besides ascetical theology, his published works treat of Scripture, dogma, ethics, biography, and Church history. He is best known, however, for his ascetical writings. Most of them were translated into many languages. The best known of his ascetical writings, and the one that achieved the greatest measure of success, is "The Sinner's Guide" (La Guia de Pecadores), published in 1555. It is marked by a smooth, harmonious style of purest Spanish idiom which has merited for it the reputation of a classic, and by an unctuous eloquence that has made it a perennial source of religious inspiration. It has been most favourable compared with Thomas à Kempis's "Imitation of Christ". Within a comparatively short time after its first appearance it was translated into Italian, Latin, French, German, Polish, and Greek. He earned much money for his writings, all of which went to the poor.

In 1539, at the age of 35, he wrote a small tract on the method of prayer for a student who had written to him for advice. This tract developed into his first book, "The Book of Prayer and Meditation", published in 1554. The unexpected success of the book led him to dedicate himself to writing on spiritual themes for all. He led a life of an ascetic, his cell being poor and having little possessions. He wrote for 35 years, producing 49 works.

He died at the age of 84.

St. Rose of Lima's favorite book of Ven. Louis was "The Book of Prayer and Meditation"--a book that laments the miseries of life and manifests spiritual contempt for the world. Once, she banished the devil's temptations by reading this book causing the devil to snatch the book from her and throw it onto a rubbish heap. Rose remained calm, certain that the Lord would return it to her, and she got it back.

Other famous Catholics who have read and loved the works of Venerable Louis include St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Francis de Sales, Cardinal Berulle and Bossuet (all French); St. Charles Borromeo (Italian), Louis of Leon (Spanish), and the Jesuit and Barnabite Orders. St. Teresa read his books and commanded her nuns to do so.

St. Francis de Sales highly commended to a Bishop-elect to have the whole works of Louis of Granada, and to regard them as a second breviary. He advised the Bishop-elect to read them carefully, beginning with The Sinner's Guide. He said, "But to readhim with fruit you must not run through himhastily ; he must be pondered, and have his fullweight, and chapter after chapter must bemused upon and applied to the soul with much thought and prayer to God. You must readhim with reverence and devotion, like a bookcontaining the most useful inspirations mancan receive from on high, and thereby reformall the powers of the soul." [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=i7gQAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA243&dq=life+of+lewis+granada&lr=#PPA280,M1 Dyson, Thomas. "Lives of Some of the Sons of St. Dominic" (1883) pg. 280] ]

His books

*de Granada, Luis (1554). "Libro de la Oracion y Meditacion" ("The Book of Prayer and Meditation"); Andrés de Portonariis; Salamanca, Spain.
* [http://www.archive.org/details/amemorialchrist00luisuoft A memorial of a Christian life]

*A collected edition of his works was published in 9 volumes at Antwerp in 1578.

* [http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/GRANADA.HTM "The Sinner's Guide" - Ven. Louis of Granada (html version)]

* [http://www.archive.org/details/sinnersguideintw00luisuoft The Sinner's Guide (archive.com version)]


*A biography was written by L. Munoz, "La Vida y virtudes de Luis de Granada" (Madrid, 1639).



External links

* [http://www.library.nd.edu/rarebooks/exhibits/dominican/spain/1588_deGranada.html University of Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collections] Books by Luis (Luys) de Granada
*CathEncy|wstitle=Ven. Louis of Granada

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