Nov 19, 2018 | Anniversaries, Euskal Herria, Historical Notes

On November 21, 1918, Fr. Julián Munárriz, provincial superior of Castile, and Fr. Lorenzo Alabert, superior of the new foundation on what had been formerly a flour mill, arrived in Agurain-Salvatierra, in the province of Álava.

Previously appointed, Frs. Martín Alsina and Munárriz, stayed at the house of Mrs Josefa Bustamante, at Calle Mayor N. 23, where they celebrated the Eucharist in the private oratory of the house. They met Mr Domingo Azkarraga and Mrs Ángeles Bustamente, owners of the factory and adjacent rustic farms, and negotiated the purchase and sale in order to establish a school of professed students of the Claretian Congregation, with the prior authorization of the bishop of the diocese, Mons. Leopoldo Eijo and Garay. On October 7, 1918, came the said authorization, with the condition – at the request of the local clergy – that there would not be public oratory; and on November 21 the contract was signed before a notary.

The repair works were carried out by Fr. Alabert and Bros. Pedro Rubio, Ángel Zoraya, Martín Azpiroz and Manuel López. Two years later, the main works were completed. Thus in August 1920 the first novices reached at the new Novitiate of Castile, until then held in Segovia, together with the Province of Betica.

On August 14, 1920, Fr. Martín Alsina administered the religious habit to 34 novice, among them were Miguel Atutxa, Babil Etxarri, Juan Luis Ellakuria, José María and Justiniano Gómez de Segura, Pablo and Buenaventura Gordaliza, Crescencio Iruarrizaga, Rufo Olabarrieta, etc …, all of them great missionaries in Americas. The old flour mill was going to be a “factory of priests”, as it was popularly known.

In the year 1965 the house ceased to be a novitiate and was made a minor seminary for the 2nd stage of Basic General Education until 1978 summer. Since then the mission of the community has been the parish ministry in the town and in several surrounding villages, as well as the Centre for youth encounters and formative meetings of the Province.


The entire Province of Euskalerria celebrates these hundred years of Claretian presence in this beautiful corner of Álava, with the intercession of Blessed Nicolás Campo Giménez de Bikuña, born in the hamlet of Ula and martyred in Mas Claret on October 19, 1936. Barely having founded the community, Nicolás was born in 1920. At the age of 16 he would die for his faith in the Risen Lord.

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