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About the Author: Angélico Chávez

Fray Angélico Chávez (1910-1996) was an American Franciscan Priest, historian, author, poet and painter. Born the first of 10 children he attended public schools in Mora. At the age of 14, Chávez was admitted to St. Francis Seminary in Ohio.

While at the seminary, Chávez endeavored to improve his English (his second language) through a study of the classic literature of the language. He began writing fiction, essays, and other works at this time, several of which were published in the Brown and White, the student magazine he later edited.

In 1929, he officially became a novice and received the order's habit. Due to his promise as a visual artist, was given the religious name Frater Angélico after the Florentine painter Fra Angelico. He continued his studies in Detroit, graduating in 1933. He studied for four more years before being ordained at Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe, the first native New Mexican Franciscan.

He was assigned to the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Peña Blanca and its missions in Jémez Pueblo and Los Cerrillos.

After a career in the military during WWII and through the Korean War, Chávez was appointed archivist of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and undertook the cataloguing and translation of its Spanish archives. This work provided new primary sources that allowed for a reevaluation of the history of New Mexico. He wrote the definitive work on the families of New Mexico, as well as many other works of history, some of which is considered revisionist.

He also wrote poetry, short stories and novels, including his 1974 book “My Penitente Land: Reflections on Spanish New Mexico.” Since his fictional works center on the history and culture of the Hispanic people of New Mexico, he is sometimes regarded as "the father of Chicano literature".


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Paperback, Published in Sep 2010 by Sunstone Press

ISBN10: 0865347719 | ISBN13: 9780865347717

Page count: 100

A gentle wood carver whose santos are stolen; an old hunchback who, with the help of Our Lady, comes into her own; a horse thief innocent of wrong intents-theirs are the stories that Fray Angelico paints, framing them with exquisite art in the manner of the medieval triptych. Born and bred in the land of sunshine and silence, Fray Angelico Chavez has a threefold heritage and a threefold gift. Heir to the artistic tradition of Spanish New Mexico, steeped in the spirit of Franciscan mysticism, and word-perfect in the folklore of the adobe village, he interprets the ageless spirit of his people in story, poetry and painting. Fray Angelico Chavez, in the decades following his ordination as a Franciscan priest in 1937, performed the difficult duties of an isolated backcountry pastor. His assignments included Hispanic villages and Indian pueblos. As an army chaplain in World War II, he accompanied troops in bloody landings on Pacific islands, claiming afterwards that because of his small stature, Japanese bullets always missed him. In time, despite heavy clerical duties, Fray Angelico managed to become an author of note, as well as something of an artist and muralist. Upon all of his endeavors, one finds, understandably, the imprint of his religious perspective. During nearly seventy years of writing, he published almost two dozen books. Among them were novels, essays, poetry, biographies, and histories, some of which are published by Sunstone Press."

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