Miguel de Cervantes, Secular Franciscan
World-renowned Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, who is best known for writing El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, was an officially ordained Secular Franciscan. Although his ordination is not generally well known, it illustrates the cultural importance of the Franciscan Order in Spain and throughout the Hispanic world.
Luís Ruiz Gutiérrez, of the Asociación Híspanica de Estudios Franciscanos and who is a founding member of the San Francis in the Americas Project, provided us with the following information.
On April 2, 1616, Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was professed as a Secular Franciscan Tertiary. There is no known date of when he requested admission and received his holy orders, but if customs and norms of the time were followed, those events would have taken place in 1615. He died twenty-one days after his ordination, on Saturday April 23. The next day his body was transported in a humble coffin on the shoulders of four brothers of the Third Order of Penance of St. Francis of Assisi to the Convent of the Trinitarian Nuns, where he was buried. On June 8, 1609, his sister Andrea de Cervantes Saavedra and his wife Doña Catalina de Palacios Salazar received the habit of Secular Franciscan Tertiary, professing on January 10 and June 27, 1610, respectively.