Don John of Austria was loved as a father by his soldiers and sailors

April 19, 2012

[Don John of Austria’s] sure, sound judgment, his prudence in deciding, his frankness and courage in performing, and his firmness and energy in reprimanding and punishing revealed to all in the new leader the not unworthy son of Charles V; and his noble magnanimity towards the vanquished, his gracious compassion for the unfortunate, and his respectful charity towards all the poor and miserable, be they ever so low and vile, also revealed the former Jeromín who marshaled Doña Magdalena’s poor people in the courtyard of Villagarcia, cap in hand, and who had learnt from that noble woman to see and respect in the poor the image of Our Lord.

It is believed that this "Christ of the Battles" is the famous crucifix rescued by Luis Quejada from the Moors, but that this is not an absolute certainty.

Never, she used to say, does a crucifix cease to be a symbol of our redemption; even though evil hands have profaned it and thrown it on the dust-heap, it will always be capable of being cleaned and polished, and always merit the same veneration. In the same way, no man ceases to be the “redeemed of Christ”; and, however tarnished by infamy and stained by crime, is always susceptible of repentance and pardon, and will always merit the respect appertaining to that which has cost the blood of God.

This expedition, then, made firm the pedestal on which had been erected the great figure of D. John of Austria, and thenceforward he was looked up to by the captains as a leader, loved like a father by the soldiers and crews of the ships.

Don John of Austria by Alonso Sánchez Coello


Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912),  pp. 165-166.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 170


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