Fray Angelico Chavez

Anthropologist, Artist, Scholar/Researcher, Teacher, Writer
1910 – 1996
Functions, Occupations, and Activities
The missions of New Mexico, 1776 a description by Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez ; with other contemporary documents ; translated and annotated by Eleanor B. Adams & Angelico Chavez ; drawings by Horace T. Pierce - Albuquerque University of New Mexico Press [1975, c1956] ;Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period (Paperback) – December 1, 1992 (1st edition 1954) by Fray Angélico Chávez
On 10 April 1910 Fabián Chavéz and María Nicolasa Roybal de Chávez welcomed the birth of their first child, Manuel Ezequiel Chávez, in the small northern town of Wagon Mound, New Mexico...Manuel attended the local public school in Mora run by the Sisters of Loretto. As early as the fourth or fifth grade, he announced his desire to become a Franciscan...Answering the call, in the fall of 1924, the fourteen-year-old Manuel left New Mexico for the Saint Francis Seraphic Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. For the next thirteen years, Manuel and his fellow students lived a highly regimented life, with set times for classes, homework, eating, exercising, sleeping, and praying...In this atmosphere, Manuel’s interests in literature and the arts blossomed...It was during this period that the rector of the seminary gave Manuel the name Angélico after the medieval artist Fra Angelico da Fiesole...n 1937 Manuel Ezequiel Chávez returned to New Mexico to be ordained as the Franciscan friar, Angelico Chavez, in Saint Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe. In his first assignment, the parish of Peña Blanca, Fray Angelico worked as a missionary traveling between the disparate missions...It was during this tenure that the friar worked to renovate the church in Peña Blanca. In order to preserve New Mexico’s visual and material history, he conducted research and did the construction work himself, thus assuring a historically accurate renovation. He also painted murals of the Stations of the Cross, incorporating images of himself, his family, and his parishioners. With this experience, he went on to renovate other churches in Domingo Station and Cerrillos...In addition to painting, Fray Angelico continued to write poetry throughout his various positions. In 1947, he also turned, once again, to the history of the Franciscans in the Americas and decided to study their unique history in New Mexico. While digging for the golden nuggets of Franciscan history in the archdiocesan archives, he instead came across baptismal, marriage, and death records that revealed much about the families who had settled the region. He wrote: “It was like the case of a miner who sifted a hill of ore for gold, setting aside any silver he encountered; in the end the silver far outweighed the gold. The only thing to do was to render the silver useful.” He compiled the silver and published the Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period in 1954. Genealogists searching for their familial roots have found the book invaluable...Throughout his life, as a poet, historian, and artist, he had endeavored to live by the highest Franciscan ideal: to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. [Retrieved on 2/7/2018 from]
Geographic names
Santa Fe
Related people/organizations
E. Boyd (worked with)
Gerald Cassidy (worked with)