A life of holiness through simplicity: Brother Marcos Figueroa, SJ

Fr. Pascual Cebollada, the postulator of the Society of Jesus in relation to the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, is responsible for the Society’s causes of beatification. One of these causes has just progressed an important step. On 17 December, Pope Francis approved the declaration of the heroic virtues of the Jesuit brother José Marcos Figueroa. He is thus considered “venerable”, a step towards official recognition of the holiness of his Christian life.

Brother Marcos was born in the Canary Islands (Spain) in 1865. Living conditions were difficult there at the time, and in 1873 the family emigrated to Uruguay. At the age of 20, guided by his parish priest and inspired by the Jesuits, he chose to join the Society of Jesus as a brother. In 1886, he was sent to Argentina for his novitiate. He spent most of his life as a Jesuit in that country. Initially, even during his novitiate, he devoted himself to the smallpox patients in Córdoba.


In 1888, he was sent to the College of the Immaculate Conception in Santa Fe. This city is some 500 km west of Buenos Aires. After taking his vows, he spent years there performing the tasks usual for the coadjutor brothers at the time: he was assistant to the porter, in charge of purchasing supplies, and generally supporting the community’s life in a variety of ways. From 1891 onwards, he became the main porter of the college. This institution had an important role in the life of the Church in Santa Fe. The Jesuits, in addition to teaching the students, accompanied many seminarians, and offered their services to the faithful who frequented the adjacent Church of the Virgin of Miracles. The porter therefore interacted with a great number and variety of people.

Br. Marcos Figueroa exercised this apostolate of hospitality for 54 years, and from his desk in reception, his outstanding Christian qualities stood revealed. He welcomed all: students, teachers, and the families of students who came to visit, as well as the faithful who frequented the shrine. He paid special attention to the poor, who sought him out. His path to holiness was simple, but marked by the depth of his love for God and for his neighbour. During the last decades of his service in Santa Fe, he was involved in some other ministries, including the distribution of the Good Press publications, the Apostleship of Prayer, and even highlighting the work of the astronomical observatory.

It should be noted that Pope Francis, when he signed the decree recognising the Christian quality of the life of Br. Marcos Figueroa, was already familiar with his dossier. For when he was still known as Fr. Jorge Bergoglio, he was the vice-postulator of the cause for ten years, before his appointment as bishop in Buenos Aires.

Br. Marcos Figueroa SJ

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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