Blessed Mary Catherine Irigoyen Echegaray was born in Pamplona, Navarre (Spain) on November 25, 1848. She was the 6th of 7 children of the Irigoyen Echegaray Family who resided on Mercaderes Street #9 (what is now Blanca de Navarra).
Her parents were Tiburcio Irigoyen and Leonarda Echegaray. Her father was a native of Errazu in the Valley of Baztánand was the President of the Representatives of the Region of Navarre. Her mother was a native of Pamplona whose family was related to the family of Saint Francis Xavier.
On November 26, the feast of the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Catherine was baptized in the Cathedral of Pamplona, and on November 26, 1860, Mary Catherine received her First Holy Communion. Belonging to a family with deep christian values, she was brought up in the faith, and as a young woman she was president of the Children of Mary. Her charity was manifest within her own family as well as with the sick and the poor.
Mary Catherine’s mother, Leonarda, died on December 17, 1868, and just three years later her father, Tiburcio, died on February 15, 1871. By this time, February of 1871, her older sisters, Joaquina and Cipriana, had already married so the Irigoyen household looked to Mary Catherine for her guidance and care. She was able to successfully run the household with her prudent and well-balanced character.
SERVANTS OF GOD
Mother Aurelia was born in Vitoria, Álava, Spain on October 23, 1866. She was baptized on the same day in the Parish of Saint Maria of Vitoria (the old Cathedral) and received the name Clementina Francisca. Her parents were fervent Catholics and raised their daughter in the faith.
Sister Aurelia was 20 years old when she entered the Congregation of the Servants of Mary. She was admitted by Mother Soledad Torres Acosta, the Foundress, and also received the Holy Habit from Mother Soledad’s hands on November 14, 1886. She made her first profession on December 18, 1887, and was then sent to Puerto Rico where she made her perpetual profession on December 18, 1894
Mother Soledad Sanjurjo was born on November 15, 1892, inArecibo,Puerto Rico. She was just a girl when she met the Servants of Mary in Río Piedras where she attended their school; later on she would enter their Congregation.
After several years of untiring dedication to the care of the sick, she was appointedSuperiorof various communities. In 1950 she was named Provincial Superior of theAntilles. She directed her efforts toward extending the apostolic work of the Servants of Mary throughoutCuba, theDominican RepublicandPuerto Rico. In 1954 she saw one of her most ardent desires fulfilled: the establishment of a Novitiate inPonce,Puerto Ricowhere the young women called to the Congregation could receive the human, spiritual and professional formation required to carry out their delicate mission at the bedside of the sick.
Her life was one of simplicity and fruitfulness. “Hidden with Christ in God”, she was totally dedicated to others and always sought ways to meet their needs and to make the presence of the living Christ visible in the world.