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Until recently there were 33 Doctors of the Church.

The title is bestowed on saints deemed to be of ’eminent learning’, of ‘great sanctity’ and whose writings are regarded to be of universal import to the Church.

On 20 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced, with great joy, that he would ‘shortly declare Saint John of Avila as a Doctor of the universal Church.’

Saint John of Avila was born in 1500 A.D. in a town 155 miles south of Madrid, Spain. During his life he became a powerful deliverer of sermons, author and mystic. His writings influenced many including Saint Francis Borgia, St. John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila.

St. John of Avila was canonized in 1970. His feast day is 10th May and he is the patron saint of the diocesan clergy of Spain.