Saint Francis Garate

Blessed Francis Garate, Religious, SJ

Francis Garate was born in Recarte, a village not far from Loyola, in the Basque region of northern Spain in 1857. At the age of 14, after a few years of elementary education, he began work as a domestic servant at the Jesuit college in Orduna before entering the Society of Jesus as a Brother. From 1877-1888 he served as infirmarian and sacristan at the Jesuit college in La Guardia. For the next 40 years he was doorkeeper at the University of Deusto in Bilbao. As doorkeeper. As the first person most people would see on entering the university building he became also effectively receptionist, public relations officer, student counsellor and benefactor of the poor. He was noted by all for his innate goodness, humility, and prayerfulness. He has been called a “modern Alphonsus” because his Jesuit life reflected that of another doorkeeper, St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ.
He died on 9 September 1929 (the feast of fellow Jesuit, Peter Claver) and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1985.
Blessed Francis is remembered for his outstanding charity, courtesy, and dedication to work.

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