Miguel Febres Cordero, the first saint of Ecuador, was born with misshapen legs that made it difficult for him to walk properly. This lasted until the age of five, when he was healed after receiving a vision of the Blessed Mother. He was educated in a school established in Cuenca by the de la Salle Christian Brothers; at the age of fourteen he became the first native vocation to the order. He was a superior student.
By the time he was twenty he had written a Spanish grammar so excellent that it was adopted as a textbook throughout the national schools. In recognition of his scholarship, he would, in time, be inducted into the Academies of Ecuador, Spain, and France. And yet his greatest passion was to teach young people, offering classes in Spanish and religion. Constantly he revised his lessons, always striving to improve. In 1907 he was called by the order to travel to Belgium to train French priests preparing for work in Latin America. The European winters took a toll on his health. He was transferred to Spain but died on February 9, 1910.
Upon his canonization in 1984, Pope John Paul II hailed him as an apostle of the school, an exemplary missionary, an evangelizer of Latin America. Today, in his honor, the Lasallian Christian Brothers in the United States operate a network of San Miguel Schools for economically disadvantaged students.
“The heart is rich when it is content and the heart is always content when its desires are focused on God. Nothing can bring one greater happiness than doing God’s will.”—St. Miguel Febres Cordero