Esquiú and the Sermon of the Homeland

Esquiú and the Sermon of the Homeland
Esquiú and the Sermon of the Homeland

His name was Mamerto de Ascensión y Medina. He was born in Piedra Blanca, Catamarca, on May 11, 1826. His father had been a royalist soldier, taken prisoner in the battle of Salta; Released, he settled in Catamarca. His mother was Creole. From the age of five he began to use, through his mother, the Franciscan habit that he did not abandon throughout his life, as a promise of his delicate state of health. He entered the novitiate of the Franciscan convent in Catamarca on May 31, 1836, and when he turned 22 he was ordained a priest, celebrating his first mass on May 15, 1849. As a religious he adopted the name of Mamerto Esquiú. Bishop, philosopher, teacher, politician, journalist, constituent deputy and vice president of the Convention that sanctioned the Provincial Constitution in 1855. He wrote for El Ambato. He published many newspaper articles under the pseudonym ‘The Knight Errant’.

His name was Mamerto de Ascensión y Medina. He was born in Piedra Blanca, Catamarca, on May 11, 1826. His father had been a royalist soldier, taken prisoner in the battle of Salta; Released, he settled in Catamarca. His mother was Creole. From the age of five he began to use, through his mother, the Franciscan habit that he did not abandon throughout his life, as a promise of his delicate state of health. He entered the novitiate of the Franciscan convent in Catamarca on May 31, 1836, and when he turned 22 he was ordained a priest, celebrating his first mass on May 15, 1849. As a religious he adopted the name of Mamerto Esquiú. Bishop, philosopher, teacher, politician, journalist, constituent deputy and vice president of the Convention that sanctioned the Provincial Constitution in 1855. He wrote for El Ambato. He published many newspaper articles under the pseudonym ‘The Knight Errant’.

He became famous for the ‘Sermon of the Constitution’, delivered on July 9, 1853, in the pulpit of the then Mother Church, now the Cathedral Basilica of Catamarca. Rosas had just been defeated in Caseros and the provinces were preparing their assemblies to swear in the new constitution that emerged in Santa Fe. The representative of Catamarca, Pedro Zenteno, had not supported the triumphant position that endorsed a constitution with freedom of religion. Governor Pedro J. Segura, with the same position as Zenteno, does everything possible to ensure that the new Constitution is not approved in Catamarca. He commissions Esquiú to collaborate with the idea. To everyone’s surprise, the friar gives a sermon in favor of the New Constitution and manages to convince the townspeople of him. His sermon condemned war between brothers. Among other things, he said: “Obey, gentlemen, without submission there is no law; without law there is no country, there is no true freedom, there are only passions, disorder, anarchy, dissolution, war…”. The Constitution had triumphed. The speech achieved national significance. So much significance that it has more than a dozen editions.

Fray Mamerto, distancing himself from politics and eager to return to regular Franciscan life, was transferred in 1862 to Tarija, Bolivia, as an apostolic missionary. In 1870 he was proposed as bishop of Buenos Aires, but was considered unworthy. He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Rome and Assisi.

In 1879 he rejected the appointment as Bishop of Córdoba, at a special request from Pope Pius IX. Fray Mamerto responded: “If the Pope wants it, God wants it,” and he accepted.

He was consecrated on December 12, 1880. He preached in almost all the churches and chapels of Córdoba. He reestablished theological studies at the Seminary of Córdoba. He traveled the province inch by inch and dedicated much of his time to listening to the people.

His death

Death surprised him in the midst of pastoral activity, in the post of “El Suncho, Catamarca, on January 10, 1883.

He was declared a Servant of God in 2005 and Venerable in 2006.

On Saturday, September 4, 2021, by decision of Pope Francis, he was declared blessed in a mass in Piedra Blanca, a small town where he was born in 1826. Emma, ​​the girl whose healing of her necrotizing femoral osteomyelitis was considered the decisive miracle, participated in the ceremony. for this beatification.

A tribute published by the University of Salvador on the occasion of his beatification highlights the relationship that Esquiú defined between Christian piety and science. “Pity does not reprove science, but rather the vain swelling and boasting of science… The truth that we ask at all times and in all places, which truly makes our nature, is that truth that from our mind goes to God, principle and reason for everything.”

 
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