In 1570, the Franciscan friar Jerónimo de Mendieta bestowed a rare gift on Juan de Ovando, then president of the Council of Indies. Mendieta placed in Ovando's hands a small manuscript volume in superb Gothic script with illuminated initials and color illustrations, one of several important manuscripts he had brought to Spain for various prominent recipients. Were it not for its contents, one could have thought it a meticulous version of a breviary or a book of hours, but its contents were unprecedented. This tome contained a scholarly Nahuatl translation of the most popular devotional work in Western Europe in the previous century. It was Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ, which caught Iberian Christians under its spell between the 1460s and the early sixteenth century by means of multiple Latin editions and translations into Portuguese, Catalan, and Spanish, including a version in aljamiado (Spanish in Arabic characters). Indeed, a decisive turning point in the Iberian reception of this work had taken place three decades earlier, through the 1536 publication of Juan de Ávila's influential Spanish-language adaptation.