Bishop authors historical novel

Bishop Robert J. Baker has authored a new book, “Cacique: A Novel of Florida’s Heroic Mission History.” It is scheduled for publication later this month by Saint Catherine of Siena Press.

“Cacique,” a Spanish word for chieftain, is the tale of Florida’s Potano Indian chieftains and their relationship with Spanish Franciscan missionaries, according to a press release from the publisher.

It was co-authored by Tony Sands and recounts the little-known history of the chain of Spanish missions that stretched westward from St. Augustine and northward to South Carolina.

“Unlike the missions of California and Texas, Florida’s mission artifacts have long lain buried beneath the ground,” Bishop Baker said in the press release. “Through persistent research, however, the site of one of the earliest and longest standing of the 17th century Spanish missions in northern Florida, Mission Santa Fé de Toloca, has been discovered and verified.”

The mission is the focal point of the book. In the press release, Florida archaeologist Jerald Milanich said that it was “a remarkable story of the Indians and Franciscan friars who lived at that Florida mission and who together forged a new world.”

“The faithful zeal of these holy and courageous men shines through,” said Raymond Arroyo, EWTN news director. “Here is compelling historical fiction, sure to enlighten and entertain.”

Bishop Baker was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine in 1970, and served as a parish priest and high school teacher. After receiving a doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, he returned to Florida in 1977 and served as a pastor and member of the faculty at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach.

He was ordained the 12th Bishop of Charleston in 1999.

Co-author Sands graduated from the School of Cinema/Television at the University of Southern California. He spent the last 10 years working in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, most recently as a director for television at Family Theater Productions, Inc., and as production coordinator for its radio component. Sands met Bishop Baker while on pilgrimage with him in Mexico. He lives in Los Angeles.

Saint Catherine of Siena Press is a Catholic publisher based in Indianapolis, Ind. The company publishes study guides “that put the reader in contact with the sources of Catholic doctrine,” according to its Web site.

For more information about “Cacique,” or to pre-purchase it, visit or call (888) 544-8674. The 288-page paperback is $14.99.