For the Basque Marian devotion CLICK HERE.
This is a select list of Basque saints. The primary characteristic is their birth in a part of the Basque Country. Some identified with being Basque and they spoke Euskara, while with others it is less certain.
St. Mikel Aozaratzakoa (1598-1637)
Feast Day: September 28. Born: In the Triana neighborhood of Oñati, Gipuzkoa Also known as San Miguel Gonzalez de Aozaraza de Leibar. He was a Dominican friar, theologian, missionary and martyr. In 1635 he began working as a missionary in the Philippine Archipelago. In 1636 he joined a secret missionary expedition toOkinawa, Japan to help Christianize the Japanese who were persecuted by local authorities. He was arrested upon arrival and imprisoned for a year. He was then transferred to to Nagasaki and condemned to death. He refused to renounce his faith and was hanged upside down with his head in a pit for three days and finally was beheaded on September 29, 1637. He was 39.
St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra (Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, September 7, 1842 – March 20, 1912) was a Spanish nun, founder of the Institute of the Servants of Jesus charity and declared a saint by the Catholic Church in 2000. Born in 1842 in the city of Vitoria (Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain). With 7 years bereft of father and lived for some years in the home of relatives in Madrid. At 18 he felt a religious vocation and finally became a nun at the Institute of the Servants of Mary, taking the religious name of Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary. Founded in Bilbao in 1871, along with other colleagues who had left the Institute of the Servants of Mary, the Institute of the Servants of Jesus, which would be higher during the 41 years. This new institution was intended to aid the sick in hospitals and in their homes, the elderly, children and the homeless. The institution has grown since its first open house in Bilbao in 1871, so that when Maria Josefa died in 1912 were 43 houses and a thousand founded the Sisters of the institution. Today is extended to 16 countries and has nearly 100 homes.
St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes in the old Low Navarre territories of Xuberoa, France on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor and she was the first of nine children. She was baptized at St. Pierre’s, the local parish church, on January 9. As a toddler, Bernadette contracted cholera and suffered extreme asthma. Unfortunately, she lived the rest of her life in poor health. On Thursday, February 11, 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, when a very beautiful lady appeared to her above a rose bush in a grotto called Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha). The woman wore blue and white and smiled at Bernadette before making the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell to her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray. Bernadette later described the woman as “uo petito damizelo,” meaning “a small young lady. Though her sister and friend claimed they were unable to see her, Bernadette knew what she saw was real. Three days later, Bernadette, her sister Marie, and other girls returned to the grotto, where Bernadette immediately knelt, saying she could see “aquero” again. She fell into a trance and one girl threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock that shattered on the ground. It was then that the apparition disappeared. On February 18, Bernadette said “the vision” asked her to return to the grotto each day for a fortnight. With each visit, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary and the period of daily visions became known as “la Quinzaine sacrée,” meaning “holy fortnight.” When Bernadette began to visit the grotto, her parents were embarrassed and attempted to stop her, but were unable to do so. On February 25, Bernadette claimed to have had a life-changing vision. The vision had told her “to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there” as an act of penance. The next day, the grotto’s muddy waters had been cleared and fresh clear water flowed. On March 2, at the thirteenth of the apparitions, Bernadette told her family the lady said “a chapel should be built and a procession formed.” During her sixteenth vision, which Bernadette claims to have experienced for over an hour, was on March 25. Bernadette claimed she had asked the woman her name, but her question was only met with a smile. Bernadette asked again, three more times, and finally the woman said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” (Que soy y era Inmaculada).
Basques in the canonization process:
> Fr. Aloysius