Alonso was an early Western proponent of "the rights of nations" (international law), and of human rights generally.
His immediate concern was the human rights of the native people of the colonies of Spain in South America.
He said that they must be regarded as much a creation of God as were the people who had come from Spain.
They were endowed with souls, and thus were worthy of both respect and Christian care.
He was born with the family name of Alonso Gutiérrez at Caspuefias, Guadalajara, Spain in 1504.
From a wealthy family, He studied arts (which included philosophy) and theology at the universities of Alcala and Salamanca, and from 1533 onwards served as a tutor.
Not only was he well-known at the famed University of Salamanca but also he was chosen as the tutor the children of the Duke del Infantado, a ranking grandee of Spain.
In 1533 the Spanish Augustinians first sent missionaries to the Americas. In the year 1536, Alonso was a diocesan priest who had agreed to minister in the Americas with the Augustinians. He was then not much more than thirty years of age.
He travelled to Mexico on the same boat as Father Francisco de la Cruz O.S.A..
At the end of the voyage, he immediately became a member of the Order of Saint Augustine at Vera Cruz. His profession of vows took place at the Augustinian monastery of Our Lady of Grace in Mexico City.
There he changed his name to Alonso de la Vera Cruz. He was the first person to take Augustinian vows in the New World. He then served as the Augustinian Master of Novices at Mexico City.
He was a man courageous in the defense of his convictions.
For example, when Luis de Leon O.S.A
. was arrested by the Spanish Inquisition for having translated a book of the Bible, the Song of Songs
, Alonso de la Vera Cruz declared calmly, "In truth they may as well burn me if they burn him, for I feel just as he thinks."
(Continued on the next page.)
The Augustinians wend their way Westward. By Arthur Ennis O.S.A. Augustiniana (6), April 1956: Augustinian Historical
Louvain. pp 602-634.