The influence of the great Spanish Empire on the Americas has been subject to much criticism in the last 50 years. But those Traditional minded Catholics know of the true importance in the conversion of the millions of souls in the Americas. As Our Lady guided Her church through the conquest She has left her impressions which still exist today. From the Spanish Missions of California to the tip of Tierra Fuego in Chile, Excelsior Tour facilitates this wonderful environment of Catholic Culture.
This noble purpose of evangelizing the new world was the official policy of Spain and was made very clear in its royal charters, legislation, and ordinances. Columbus stated in a letter why his sovereigns sent him…
“Your Highness, as Catholic Christians and Princes, loving the holy Christian Faith and the spreading of it, decided to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said regions of Hindustan (India) to see the said princes and the peoples and lands, and learn of their dispositions and the measures which could be taken for their conversion to our Holy Faith”
Queen Isabella of Spain declared in a letter to Pope Alexander VI stating that “Columbus has set sail to bear the light of Christ west to the heathen undiscovered lands.”
In agreeing to his second voyage, the good Catholic queen wrote to Columbus, urging that….
“Since the natives have neither dogma nor doctrine, strive and endeavor to win over the inhabitants of the said islands and mainland to be converted to our Holy Catholic Faith.”In her last Testament, she wrote that the primary intention of sending expeditions and governing the New World was…..
“To try to draw these peoples and convert them to our Holy Catholic Faith, and to send to said lands prelates, religious, and clerics and others to instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic Faith, to teach and endow them with good morals.”In 1526, King Charles I of Spain made clear the continuation of this same policy when he declared……
“The principal reason behind the discovery of these new lands is so that the natives there, who are without the light and knowledge of the Faith, may be drawn to the truths of our Holy Catholic Faith, so they may believe and understand them, become Christians and be saved. This is the main reason you must keep in mind and hold onto in these expeditions.”In 1565, King Phillip II of Spain gave a royal commission to establish missions and stated that……
“As we have in mind the good of the salvation of those native souls, we have decided to give orders to send Dominicans and Franciscans to instruct the said Indians, and those who are Christians and our subjects, and so that they (the Indians) by association and conversation with them, might more easily be taught our Holy Catholic Faith and be led to good practices and customs and to perfect behavior”(excerpts taken from “Discovering a Lost Heritage by Adam S. Miller, Marian Publications, Inc.)
The evangelization of the New World as undertaken by many religious orders but primarily by…….the Franciscans. Under the influence of Queen Isabella of Spain, it all began with the granting of a new Order of Nuns by Pope Innocent the VIII….the Franciscan order of the Immaculate Conception founded by St. Beatriz de Silva in 1489. This Pious Nun from the Spanish Nobility established an order dedicated to honoring the Immaculate Conception under a Cistercian Rule. Although St. Beatriz only lived until 1492…he influence with Queen Isabella would play a large part in this Royal Order Evangelizing the new world. Her Nuns would go on to found the Real Monasterio de La Limpia Concepcion in Quito in 1575. This cross Atlantic journey was accompanied by Marana de Jesus Torres the niece of St. Beatriz at the young age of 15. This future mystic Nun would later receive the apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito during the early 17th Century. The Conceptionists Nuns throughout the original years of the Conquest would play a major role in establishing the faith in the Americas. Including the bi location of the Conceptionist Nun Mother Mary of Agreda who without leaving her Convent in Spain instructed the native population in what is now Texas and New Mexico. As true history shows us….it was Queen Isabella that started the Evangelization of the Americas and it was Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico as well as the subsequent work of religious orders like the Franciscans that performed arguably the greatest conversion in the history of the world.
Most modern historians use the term COLONY for the Spain dominion over this vast territory. But until the revolutions of the mid 19th Century, both the Royal Court, Creoles, and indigenous considered the Americas part of Spain…not a colony. The mission of Queen Isabella LA CATOLICA was to first and foremost convert souls to the Faith…..from every soul regardless of race or ethnicity in the world. The Creoles remained consciously aware of their need for the Mother country’s guidance both spiritually and organizationally. Moreover, the indigenous of the Americas knew that the Conquistadores with the Missionaries not only brought the new God to replace their decadent paganism but they also replaced their pagan Monarch with a new one to rule much as they themselves had been ruled for centuries……by a Monarchy. The conversions of so many indigenous by so few people is truly a miracle compared only to the conversion of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Thus, Excelsior Tour focuses on this CONVERSION and all of the results which Our Lady is the main facilitator. One can only travel to Latin America today and still witness the deep devotion to Our Lady. We understand that the journey of every Catholic is the search for TRUTH. It is our aspiration in every Pilgrimage we operate to focus on that search of Gods truth.