Journal of Texas Catholic History and Culture
Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M.
Note: According to our Tibesar family tree Antonine was born 22 Mar 1909 in Quincy, Adams, Illinois, USA
Still deeply engrossed in the history of the Franciscans in Peru, Friar Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M. met Sister Death on 4 March 1992. Born in 1917, this highly educated (Ph.D., Catholic University) friar continued an innate desire for academics almost all of his life, and most especially his priestly life. His studies took him often to Lima, Peru, which became his second home. No matter where he was–at the Academy of American Franciscan History, Bethesda, Maryland, or in archives of Lima–Friar Antonine was at home with books, documents, microfilm, print-outs, manuscripts and paper.
Friar Antonine lived in the practical world at the academy and the academic world of sixteenth-century Peru–in both places among Franciscan friars who sought to bring together the Franciscan past and the Franciscan present. For Friar Antonine, sixteenth-century Franciscanism flowed into twentieth-century presence. At times, it was difficult to know in which century he was living or working. For Friar Antonine to live was to be in a continuum of both centuries.
During the twentieth century, Friar Antonine, through the auspices of the Franciscan Academy, led many scholars to recognition of brilliance in the realm of Latin American History. Ever alert to proposals of ideas that would elucidate Latin American history and the role of the Franciscans in that history, Friar Antonine was able to forward scholarship in Americas, the periodical of the academy.
When the academy was moved to Berkeley, California, Friar Antonine moved to Bastrop, Louisiana. In Bastrop, he continued working on a sixteenth-century catechism from Peru. When the Franciscans handed over the parish they had staffed in Bastrop, Friar Antonine moved to San Antonio (Texas). In San Antonio he chose to live at Our Lady of Angels Parish, a 99 percent Mexican-American parish founded by the Franciscans of the Sacred Heart Province of St. Louis (the province to which Friar Antonine belonged), in 1947. At one square mile with 2,000 poor Mexican-American families, the parish was a far cry from Bethesda or Lima. His Spanish came in handy, but he probably missed the academic atmosphere. Friar Antonine’s health began to decline, but he continued to work on the Peruvian catechism and finished it before his health really failed. During this time, Friar Antonine began to send artifacts of the many honors he had received over the years to the provincial archives in St. Louis. Sister Death came gently to this once strong, hearty, tall Franciscan. He was buried in a poor Franciscan habit in a poor coffin.