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Blessed Juan Otazua Y Madariaga


Blessed Juan Otazua Y Madariaga

Feast Day: April 3

Birth: February 8, 1895
Death: April 1, 3
Blessed Juan Otazua y Madariaga, also known as Juan de Jes√∫s y María, was a member of the Trinitarians and a devout Catholic priest. He was born on 8 February 1895 in Rigoitia, Vizcaya, Spain.
From a young age, Juan exhibited a deep devotion to the Catholic faith, and he felt a calling to serve God as a priest. He began his journey by joining the Trinitarian order, starting his novitiate at the Shrine of Bien Aparecida in Cantabria, Spain. On 11 October 1914, he made his simple vows, committing himself to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Throughout his religious formation, Blessed Juan studied at various convents, deepening his knowledge of theology and spirituality. His dedication and steadfast faith led him to make his final profession as a Trinitarian on 17 May 1918 in Cordoba, Spain.
Ordained as a priest in Madrid, Spain, on 23 October 1921, Father Juan began his ministry at the church of Sant’Ignazio de Loyola dei vaschi. He quickly became known for his musical talents, particularly his skill as a cello player. Music became an integral part of his priestly service, as he used it to uplift and inspire the faithful during worship and in his charitable work.
However, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 brought immense challenges to the Catholic Church and its religious orders. On 13 March 1936, anti-Christian forces set fire to the church where Father Juan served, causing him and his fellow Trinitarians to flee the convent. Seeking refuge among the local community, he was eventually assigned to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Cabeza.
Tragically, on 28 July 1936, Communist forces expelled the Trinitarians from the Sanctuary, leaving Father Juan without a place to stay. Thanks to the generosity of the Duke de la Quinteria in And√∫jar, Spain, Juan found temporary shelter, continuing to minister to those in need despite the challenging circumstances.
In the spring of 1937, Father Juan's commitment to his vocation led him to face imprisonment and persecution. The Communist forces imprisoned him, and he was unjustly tried for the crime of being a priest. Though initially sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Communists changed their decision and instead chose to execute him for his unwavering commitment to his faith.
On 3 April 1937, at dawn, Blessed Juan Otazua y Madariaga was shot in the cemetery of Mancha Real, Jaén, Spain. He is considered a martyr for his faith and his dedication to his priestly calling.
Recognizing his heroic virtues and martyrdom, Pope Benedict XVI declared him venerable on 26 June 2006 and beatified him on 28 October 2007. The Catholic Church commemorates his feast day on 3 April, and some calendars also honor him on 6 November.
Blessed Juan Otazua y Madariaga stands as a shining example of unwavering faith, dedication, and self-sacrifice in the face of adversity. His life and martyrdom continue to inspire Catholics around the world to live their faith boldly and to serve others with love and compassion.