Don Vasco was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, in Castilla, Spain in 1470 and served as one of the judges in the second Audiencia that governed New Spain.
During his tenure in present-day Mexico, inspired in the writings of St. Thomas More, Don Vasco founded hospital-towns, or communities organized to promote the physical, spiritual, and social health of the indigenous people.
Don Vasco founded these communities for three central purposes: to care for the sick and needy, to restore order to a society ravaged by rebellions, and to instruct the people in the Catholic faith. In 1536, Don Vasco was appointed the first bishop of Michoacan, Mexico, where he founded the Seminary of San Nicolas.
In each of his pursuits, Don Vasco aimed to create profound social transformation based upon Catholic principles. He created institutions that protected the vulnerable, healed the sick, and enabled people to use their work for the common good. In his writings, he stated: “The people's work will take place willingly and without complaining, for the benefit of the hospital and its functions, by considering it as a vehicle to learn care for others. Six hours a day will be spent for works for the common good…”
By creating new opportunities for peaceful coexistence and transformative social relationships, Don Vasco allowed diverse groups to live together in harmony. His memory is kept alive in the people of Michoacan, who still call him Tata (“Daddy”) Vasco.