Mariano Gazpio. Water color painting by Santiago Bellido. Valladolid, Spain, 2017.

He arrived in China at the age of 24, without understanding the language or knowing the local culture. With his affable character, his humility and his deep spiritual life, father Mariano Gazpio gained the trust and affection of the people; entered those hearts to such an extent that many decided to join the ecclesial community and actively participate in evangelization. This is the story of a “good person” missionary who is already on his way to the altars.

He arrived in China at the age of 24, without understanding the language or knowing the local culture. With his affable character, his humility and his deep spiritual life he gained the trust and affection of the people; entered those hearts to such an extent that many decided to join the ecclesial community and actively participate in evangelization. This is the story of a “good person ” missionary who is already on his way to the altars.

In this missionary year for the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, a pastoral course in which the Order of Augustinian Recollects are focusing on the motto “We are prophets of the Kingdom: poor, social projects, peripheries”, AgustinosRecoletos.org brings to the stage a figure that we believe is profoundly significant for the way his way of being and his way of doing.

It is Friar Mariano Gazpio Ezcurra (Puente la Reina, Navarra, Spain, 1899 – Pamplona, Navarra, Spain 1989), Augustinian recollect, one of the founders of the first community of this Order in China in 1924.

The report reviews his biography quickly, and then focuses the approach on his missionary side but from various perspectives, namely:

Missionary in a burning world: how Mariano Gazpio lived his mission in a time of great turmoil, hardly knowing peace or security, due to the continued succession of wars in China in the first half of the twentieth century.

Missionary of deep faith and spiritual life: how Mariano Gazpio lived his missionary vocation from the absolute trust in those who had sent him to evangelize so far from his land.

Missionary in a community of brothers: how Mariano Gazpio felt that he was part of a missionary community and what it meant to him personally.

Missionary of and for the people: how Mariano Gazpio saw those he served in the mission; and how he acted in seeking their good and giving them his all. To do this, we return to his biography to find out what he did and how he did it in the four destinations he had within China’s mission: Chengliku, Yucheng, Chutsi.

Guide and servant of his brethren: for the last 11 years Mariano Gazpio was religious superior of the mission and had to carry the reins of the Diocese in various circumstances.

End of his time as a missionary: how Mariano Gazpio lived his own expulsion from the mission and how he endured the last years of persecution, isolation and contempt on the part of the authorities.

NEXT PAGE: 1. Mariano at first sight