Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BERTRAND, Saint Louis, born in Valencia, Spain, in 1526; died there in 1581. He joined the Dominicans in 1544, and obtained permission from his general to preach to the Indians when he had finished his studies. He arrived in Carthagena in 1562, and, after a short stay in the convent of St. Joseph, was ordered to preach the gospel among the savage tribes that dwelt between the River Nagdalena and the Cordilleras. As he knew no other language than Spanish, the task seemed insurmountable. It is said that, in answer to his prayers, he was able to make himself understood by his hearers, though speaking only his native language, and that he also received the gifts of prophecy and miracles. In less than three months he converted more than 10,000 Indians in the province of Tubara. Learing some of his companions to complete his work, he next went among the Indians of Cipacoa, whom he found threatened with famine, owing to the absence of rain. This danger having been averted, as the natives believed, by the prayers of the missionary, they all embraced Christianity. After attempting unsuccessfully to evangelize the Caribs, he turned his attention to the savages of the St. Martha mountains, whom, to the number of 15,000, he formed into a civilized community. Similar results attended his labors in the province of Monpox and in the island of St. Thomas. Although his efforts to Christianize the natives were hindered by some of his countrymen whose vices he denounced, he succeeded in converting all the Indians of New Grenada. lie then decided on returning to Spain, with the object of enlisting novices for the American mission. But the entreaties of the Indians, combined with his election as prior of the convent of Santa-Fe-de-Bogota, changed his plans, tie set out from Carthagena ; but the vessel which carried him was wrecked on an island in the Magdalena, and he was obliged to return. Here he was met by a summons from the general of the Dominicans to return to Europe. A few days later he put to sea, reaching Valencia in the month of October 1569. He was placed at the head of a novitiate, and spent the rest of his life in training missionaries for the Indian mission.
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