Martin Legarra (1910-1985), Augustinian Recollect.

El agustino recoleto Martín Legarra Tellechea (1910-1985) fue testigo directo de varios grandes acontecimientos del siglo XX. Desarrolló su servicio ministerial con optimismo, simpatía y dotes para la comunicación. Su vida como misionero, educador y obispo podría haber servido para guion de una película.

In Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) the protagonist seemed to be doomed to exclusion and inconsequentiality, a native of the deep south and disabled. Without However, through his casual presence at several of the great events of the time it is possible to portray the history of the United States between 1945 and 1982.

Fray Martín Legarra (Murguindueta, Navarra, Spain, 01/25/1910 — City of Panama, 06/15/1985) was also born very far from any center of power, in a village in the mountains of Navarre, in a large and simple family that only he counted on the land and his hands to ensure his survival.

However, this Augustinian Recollect religious ended up being a witness and a reporter casual of the tense and dense atmosphere in the pre-civil war in Spain, of the cruelty of the war (Chinese-Japanese and World II), of the Second Vatican Council, of the last American indigenous redoubts, of the Latin American military dictatorships, or of the driving movement of CELAM with its refreshing flashes for the whole Church.

He served the People of God in almost everything that an Augustinian Recollect can achieve to do: parishes, schools, missions, government, formation, pen and microphone… He was a pioneer of ecumenism and a mediator in serious social conflicts.

He earned the nicknames “Meagarra” (“Beggar”) or “Laguerra” (“War”) from those whom he demanded good work in the public service, so that the excluded would not be forgotten, and to stop using violence and intimidation as political means.

The life of fray Martín would give rise to the script of a series on the profound changes social and ecclesiastical of the 20th century. He witnessed great events, but not in a passive way. He acted and fought without pause for the dignity of those he considered his, were his religious brothers, his parishioners, his students or the towns of the two territories that the Church entrusted to him as bishop.

Some of his virtues are highly recommended for anyone of any weather: realistic optimism, sincere joviality, love of people, in whom he saw as children of God with the highest dignity and capable of goodness; and the more decisive, always open to discover what lies beyond the immediate. Fray Martín never let the trees hide the forest.

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