Saints

Basque Saints 

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ignatius_de_loyolaBASQUE SAINTS

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. Ferminus
 (272-303)
Feastday:  July 7; Sept. 25
Birthplace:  Pamplona, Nafarroa.
Fermin is said to have been the son of a Roman of senatorial rank in Pamplona in the 3rd century, who was converted to Christianity by St. Honestus, a disciple of St. Saturninus.  According to tradition, he was baptised by Saturninus (in Navarre also known as Saint Cernin) at the spot now known as the “Small Well of Saint Cernin”  Fermin was ordained a priest in Toulouse and returned to Pamplona as its first bishop. On a later preaching voyage, Fermin was beheaded in Amiens, France; and is now considered a martyr in the Catholic Church.  It is believed he died on September 25, AD 303. There is no written record of veneration in Pamplona of the Saint until the 12th century. Saint Fermin, as well as St. Francis Xavier, are now the two patrons of Navarre.  At Pamplona, Saint Fermin; is now sometimes said to have met his end by being dragged through the streets of Pamplona by bulls, a fate more commonly attributed to his mentor, Saturnin.

St. Martin Loynaz of the Ascension (1567-1597)
Feastday:  Feb. 6
Birthplace:  Bergara, Gipuzkoa
Franciscan martyr of Japan. He was born at Bergara, Gipuzkoa and became a Franciscan in 1586 . Martin was assigned to Mexico and Manila, in the Philippines, before serving in Japan. He was crucified at Nagasaki and was canonized in 1862.

Ignazio Loiolako | St. Ignatius of Loyola 
Feastday: July 31
Birthplace: Azpeitia, Gipuzkoa
Canonized: 1622
St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guipúzcoa, Spain, the youngest of 13 children, and was called Iñigo. When he was old enough, he became a page, and then a soldier of Spain to fight against the French. A cannon ball and a series of bad operations ended his military career in 1521. While St. Ignatius recovered, he read the lives of the saints, and decided to dedicate himself to becoming a soldier of the Catholic Faith. Soon after he experienced visions, but a year later suffered a trial of fears and scruples, driving him almost to despair. Out of this experience he wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises”. After traveling and studying in different schools, he finished in Paris, where he received his degree at the age of 43. Many first hated St. Ignatius because of his humble Lifestyle. Despite this, he attracted several followers at the university, including St. Francis Xavier, and soon started his order called The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. There are 38 Jesuit members who have been declared Blessed, and 38 who have been canonized as saints. He died at the age of 65.

St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
Feastday: December 3
Birthplace:  near Pamplona, Nafarroa
Born in the family castle of Xavier, near Pamplona in the Basque area of Spanish Navarre on Apr. 7, he was sent to the University of Paris 1525, secured his licentiate in 1528, met Ignatius Loyola and became one of the seven who in 1534, at Montmartre founded the Society of Jesus. Working against great difficulties, language problems (contrary to legend, he had no proficiency in foreign tongues), inadequate funds, and lack of cooperation, often actual resistance, from European officials, he left the mark of his missionary zeal and energy on areas which clung to Christianity for centuries. He was canonized in 1622 and proclaimed patron of all foreign missions by Pope Pius X. F. D. Dec. 3.

St. Vincenta Maria Lopez Vicuna (1847-1890)
Feastday:  December 26
Birthplace: Cascante, Nafarroa
Saint Vincenta Maria Lopez y Vicuña was born at Cascante, Navarre Spain in March 24, 1847. Vicenta had a happy childhood. She was a daughter of a famous lawyer, reared in a Catholic home and educated in Madrid. She may have had a good chance of living a comfortable life yet she chose the way of austerity and sacrifice. Vicenta’s uncle was a priest while her aunt was a nun who founded a home for domestic servants. This perhaps, fostered her attraction to religious life. At 23, she too became a nun and organized a group of ladies to protect and promote the welfare of the working girls- This was the beginning of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate. Along with this, Vicenta Maria founded several foundations, technical training schools, hostels, canteen, and provided these working girls boarding houses while they are away from home. She was a mother and homemaker to them, helping and teaching them in the ways of the Lord.  Her congregation spread throughout Spain and other parts of Europe as well as in Latin America. She endured many trials and difficulties which she faced with courage and faith. Saint Vicenta Maria died on December 26, 1890. Sixty years after her death and through numerous graces obtained through her intercession.

St. Balentin Berrio-Otxoa (1827-1861)
Feastday:
Birthplace: Elorria, Bizkaia
Canonized: 1988
St. Balentin Berrio-Ochoa, was a martyred Dominican bishop of Central Tonkin in Vietnam.  He was born in 1827 at Elorrio, Bizkaia and he was killed Nov. 1, 1861 at Hải Dương, Tonkin. Following his profession in the Order of Preachers, he was sent to the Philippines, where he was known as an especially devout member of the order.  In 1858, he was consecrated titular bishop of Tonkin and appointed vicar apostolic.  Upon his arrival in Vietnam, he faced persecution by the government and worked in extremely difficult conditions. Similar to Christ, the bishop was betrayed and was imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded with Bishop Hermosilla and Fr. Almatĩ.  He was canonzied in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

St. Mixel Garikoitz (1797-1863)
Feast-day May 14
Birthplace: Ibarre (Donaixtiko) Benafarroa
Mixel (Michael) was born on April 15, 1797, the eldest son of Arnold and Gratianne Garicoits. They were poor and Michael was hired out as a shepherd boy to a farmer. His desire to become a priest always met with “No, we are too poor” by his parents, but his grandmother talked the matter over with the parish priest. Through his efforts Michael earned his expenses for college by working after school hours for the clergy and in the bishop’s kitchen.  In December 1823 he was ordained priest in Bayonne cathedral by Bishop d’Astros. Michael’s first assignment was at Cambo where he remained two years. He did much to revive religion there, combat Jansenism by the custom of frequent communion as well as by introducing Sacred Heart devotions. Father Garicoits’ next call was to a professorship in the senior seminary for priests at Betharram, and then to be superior. In 1838, Father Garicoits drew up a constitution largely based on that of the sons of St. Ignatius. Like them, his missionaries were to take life vows and to spread far and wide. Associates gathered round him at Betharram, and all seemed promising, when the bishop disapproved of his idea of founding a new congregation. Not till 1852 was the community allowed to choose its own superior.  He died on Ascension day, May 14, 1863. Fourteen years later the Society of Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram was approved by the Holy See on the lines the founder had laid down. He was canonized in 1947. His feast day is May 14th.


Basques in the canonization process:
> Fr. Aloysius