In 1884 Pedro Poveda obtained a scholarship to study at the Seminary of Guadix, where he first saw the plight of poor local labourers in the area of town with the many cave dwellings. The people were living in ignorance and poverty and Pedro Poveda felt the need to educate them with the gospel. He was ordained as a priest and began his educational and missionary work, living in one of the cave dwellings like the locals. He offered them practical support and preached a great deal, highlighting the extreme poverty of these people to win the support of the rest of city. He also organised the Society of St. Vincent de Paul here.
Pedro Poveda was aware of the challenges of the times in which he lived and understood the role that secularism was playing in society. He aimed to live a life like the early Christians to help transform society. With this idea in mind he founded the Academia de Oviedo in 1911, the forerunner of the Institución Teresiana.