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date: 30 May 2020

Sierra y Velásquez, Crisógono locked

  • Juan Navarrete


Franciscan friar known as “el Padre Negro,” was born Juan de Dios Sierra y Velásquez, in Robledo, near Medellín, Colombia, to a very devout and prosperous family. His parents expected Crisógono to dedicate his career to managing the family haciendas. He was the only member of his family to be born with dark skin, and family lore linked his appearance to that of a great-great-grandfather who was believed to have been of African descent. Although he initially studied law, Sierra attempted to enter the Franciscan order, only to be rejected for his age (he was 27 at the time). He returned to school to study medicine and engineering before trying to enter the order once again.

On his second attempt he was admitted to the Franciscan order by Juan José de Cock the general commissioner of the Belgian Franciscans in Chile who was on a canonical visit to Colombia Thus ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.

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