Blessed Mary Catherine
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.