July 14, 2020 marks the centenary of the death of Bishop Toribio Minguella, an Augustinian Recollect religious and bishop in Spain and Puerto Rico.
The life of Bishop Toribio Minguella is one of many lives that have experienced the grace of God through the Augustinian Recollect charism. A native of Rio de Janeiro, he was a friar and priest, missionary, historian, restorer and bishop of Puerto Rico and Spain. His figure is essential to understand the impact of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the world at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. On the occasion of the centenary of his death, Fray Jordan Tejerino, OAR, has gathered the main milestones of his life.
He was born in Igea (La Rioja) in 1836. He attended his first studies in the school of his hometown; and from the age of twelve he attended secondary education in Tarazana.
He opted for religious life as an Augustinian Recollect in Monteagudo. On April 3, 1853, he received the religious habit and a year later, he made his religious profession in the hands of Juan Gascon. He was ordained priest in Manila on June 17, 1859.
Services in the Order of Augustinian Recollects
At the provincial chapter of 1867, he was elected secretary of the province of St. Nicholas for a three-year term; he would later serve as synodal examiner for the archbishopric of Manila. He served as Provincial Definitor by election at the Chapter held in Manila in 1873. In 1876 he was appointed commissioner and procurator general in Madrid, and at the end of the three-year period he was appointed rector of the college of the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla.
Queen Maria Cristina of Habsburg-Lorraine presented him for the bishopric of Puerto Rico. Pope Leo XIII issued the bull of appointment. He received episcopal consecrationn in the convent of Marcilla on August 5, 1894 by the Apostolic Nuncio in Madrid, Serafín Cretoni. He left Puerto Rico due to health reasons, and Queen Maria Christina presented him again as bishop of the diocese of Sigüenza. He took possession of the diocese in 1898.
He was elected senator of the Kingdom of Spain, for the ecclesiastical province of Cuba. He was also acted as President of a General Chapter of the Recollects and Visitor of the Order of St. Augustine. He studied history and philosophy, together with research. He recovered and restored the monasteries of San Millán and Valvanera.
He wrote the first biography of the Iimo. Dr. Fr. Ezequiel Moreno y Diaz (1909). He also published the second volume of the letters of St. Ezekiel Moreno. He wrote the history of the diocese of Sigüenza and its bishops.
He studied the history of San Millán de la Cogolla, about the homeland, state and life of San Millán. He wrote the History of Valvanera and Thirty-seven meditations on the life and vocation of Mary of Nazareth.
He wrote an essay on Spanish-Galician grammar.
Biography of St. Librada, patroness of the diocese of Sigüenza and Marian of St. Joseph, founder of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters.
She recovered the books from the library of San Millan de la Cogolla.
In his last days
Bishop Minguella died in July 1920 in Cintruénigo. His body rests in the convent church of the Augustinian Recollects in Monteagudo, Navarra.