Metro Fray Servando is most often merely glimpsed by international travelers en route from the airport. Most Mexico City residents will tell you that Fray Servando is an important avenue marking the lower boundary of the Centro Histórico. The Metro station serves the neighborhoods of El Parque, Merced Balbuena, and Centro II, which is the southern neighborhood of the giant Merced Market area.
- Fray José Servando Teresa de Mier Noriega y Guerra (1765-1827) was a Dominican friar, orator, and writer. Originally from Monterrey, Mier rose to infamy with a 1794 speech during a commemorations of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Mier suggested that the apparition, traditionally celebrated as having been in 1531, had actually occurred some 1,750 years earlier.
- He was then condemned to exile for ten years by the archbishop and was banned from ever teaching, preaching, or hearing confessions. His doctoral degree was revoked.
- Mier then began a series of escapes from seemingly every jailer who tried to hold him. Confined to the Franciscan convent in Burgos, he escaped in 1801.
- Apprehended in Madrid, he was then imprisoned in Seville. He escaped from there in 1804. He then spent three more years in prison. With the French-Spanish war of 1806, he was frequently on the battlefield.
- Taken prisoner by the French, he escaped for a fifth time. He then moved to London and collaborated on the pro-Latin American independence newspaper, El Español.
- Arriving in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1816, Mier was captured at Soto la Marina in 1817 by Spanish royalist forces. Sent to the castle of San Carlos de Perote and the dungeons of the Inquisition, he was moved to Havana in 1820 but escaped that same year for a sixth time.
- By 1821, he was in Philadelphia where he continued to support the anti-monarchist cause. By 1822, he was taken prisoner in Veracruz, still under Spanish rule. The first Mexican constituent congress negotiated his release. But under the First Mexican Empire of Agustín de Iturbide he was arrested again and imprisoned in the Santo Domingo Monastery. He escaped from there on January 1, 1823.
Today Fray Servando is remembered as a tireless supporter of Mexican and Latin American independence from Spanish rule. Metro Fray Servando is perhaps but a minor reminder of his many works and his fascinating life.