Fr. Vicente Ferrer de Andrade, OFM, 1611, Suwannee River

Name:                  Fr. Vicente Ferrer de Andrade, OFM (Cuba)                          

Date:                    1611 (before August 6, 1611

Place:                   near the mouth of the Suwannee River, near mission at Cofa (he died in the convent)

Father Vincente came from Cuba with the bishop for a pastoral visit to the missions of La Florida.  This visit would change his life. Father experienced a great love for the native people and a tremendous respect for the work of the Franciscans.  With his bishop’s permission, he stayed in St. Augustine and entered the Franciscan order as a novice. Many natives became Christian as a result of his example and instruction.

One day, Fr. Vincente and about twenty-five Christian Indians were bringing altar supplies and food from St Augustine to the new mission near the Suwannee River.  A large group of Tocobaga and Pojoy natives, who had a history of hatred of Christianity, fell upon them by surprise.  With bows and arrows, they began to shoot the Christians down one by one, killing seventeen.

Amidst the chaos, Fr. Vincente cried out loudly to spare the lives of the Indians, that he would gladly give them their food and supplies (“except for the clothes destined to the worship and service of God”).

Father was shot with an arrow through the shoulder and neck and then repeatedly clubbed.  The few surviving Indians carried their dying priest to the mission, where he received the sacraments before his death.