Martin Legarra (1910-1985), Augustinian Recollect.

The Augustinian Recollect Martín Legarra Tellechea (1910-1985) was a direct witness of several great events of the 20th century. He developed his ministerial service with optimism, sympathy and communication skills. His life as a missionary, educator and bishop could have served as a movie script.

Murguindueta is a village in the Araquil valley, the road between Pamplona and Vitoria, the capitals of Navarra and the Basque Country, in northern Spain. in 1910 eleven families lived there in a long building. On January 25 of that year, Martín was born, baptized hours later in the small chapel of the Virgin of Zarratrako.

His family was engaged in agriculture. He was the seventh child of eight, a home modest but warm. At school he learned Spanish; at home he talked the basque idiom. His vivid imagination took him beyond the homeland. The countryside did not attract him and the reading it opened him to worlds unknown. A biography of Saint Francis Xavier was a whirlwind: he saw himself boarding the train to go to distant lands of mission.

The family naturally lived their religiosity and Martín participated in it. He admired the parish priest and teacher who taught him the first letters and had an Augustinian relative recollect, cousin of his mother, Fray Ángel Yeregui. Little more he had to go through to that he himself asked to enter the seminary, aware that this life would also would open to those desired and imagined worlds.

On October 9, 1922, he entered the apostolic college of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine of the Augustinian Recollects in San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja, Spain). That physical separation from his family never meant a separation emotionally and his new religious family will accompany him for the rest of his life.

In San Millán he develops his skills and his personality: more popularizer than scientific, more practical than theoretical, more talkative than silent. You are attracted to the arts performances, music and the spoken and written word. missionary visits from faraway places pique his curiosity even more. He is pious and docile, sympathetic and dear, intelligent, without fear before broad horizons and new proposals.

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