Blessed Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz

Blessed Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz

Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz


  • Death: 18/07/1926
  • Nationality (place of birth): Spain

Tiburcio Arnaiz was born on 11 August 1865 in Valladolid, Spain. At the age of 13, he entered the Minor Seminary of that diocese and was ordained a priest at age of 25. After being sent to various towns in the provinces of Valladolid and Ávila, he obtained a doctorate in theology in Toledo in 1896. In 1902, after the death of his mother, Tiburcio knocked at the doors of the novitiate of Granada in order to fulfill his desire of becoming a Jesuit. After pronouncing his vows, he remained in Granada studying humanities, philosophy, and theology, while at the same time he began to guide people in the Spiritual Exercises and train for the popular missions.

Father Arnaiz was an indefatigable evangelizer of a good part of Spain, using various apostolic instruments, especially the popular missions. His apostolate was focused above all on Andalusia, more concretely, in the province of Málaga, in rural and urban areas, where he always left a strong impression. In the outlying districts of Málaga, in the so-called “corralones” (“yards”), in which neighbors lived around a common patio, he effectively organized a system of cultural advancement and catechesis for struggling residents.

Working from the residence of the Society in Málaga, Father Arnaiz was constantly giving the Exercises, offering spiritual direction, assisting in the Diocesan Seminary, and promoting the Marian Congregations, the Apostleship of Prayer, the “Adoración Nocturna”, and the Conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul. Following the impulses of his heart, he frequently visited the incarcerated in prison and the sick in their homes and in the hospitals. The people of Málaga frequently saw him helping the street children, hearing confessions in the Jesuit church, or setting out to give popular missions. Convinced of the urgent need for good education, he promoted the opening of schools, the founding of a Catholic library, a system for distributing medicines, and the construction of houses of hospitality for people in need. His incessant activity led him to say at the end of his life: “I have rushed all my life; I have worked as much as I could; now the Lord will raise me up.”

In our own time, we can learn much from what Fr Arnaiz did in his day, giving full meaning to the work of Jesuits designated as “operarius”, a title many Jesuits continue to bear with pride today. In ways adapted to our present contexts, many of the rich qualities of Fr Arnaiz can be put into practice: his promptness to detect and respond to structural problems; his energetic determination to undertake new works and persevere in them; his ability to attract and bring together people of diverse social origins for the sake of helping the poor; his admirable strength in confronting setbacks; his courageous evangelizing efforts even in difficult times and circumstances; his utter confidence in Providence; his firm personal love for Jesus Christ; and his generous and affable friendship with all types of people.

Letter from Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General, 11 October 2018

Read: “Seek not your own interests but those of Jesus Christ” (Tiburcio Arnaiz, SJ)