Fray Pio Mareca Landa, Augustinian Recollect and a brilliant speaker and scholar

For forty-eight years (1848-1896) Friar Pio worked as a teacher of several philosophical and theological subjects both at the school of Monteagudo and in Marcilla; works that paired with the managing of matters of government. He was an outstanding orator and preacher.
News | 2021 Mar 30

Biographical characteristics

Pío Mareca Landa was born in Fréscano (Zaragoza, Spain) on July 11, 1825. He professed religious vows in August 1846 in Monteagudo (Navarra) and, as he had already studied ecclesiastical studies in Huesca and Zaragoza, was ordained a priest in 1848 by Severo Andriani, bishop of Pamplona and Apostolic Administrator of the Bishopric of Tarazona.

He soon showed excellent skill for teaching so he was first entrusted with the chair of Philosophy and later, as early as 1852, that of Sacred Theology, which he held at the school of Monteagudo, until he traveled to the Philippines in 1860. In Manila, he distinguished himself by his eloquent preaching, especially in the church of San Sebastian.

The Provincial Chapter of 1861 appointed Mareca rector of Monteagudo. so he teaching in various theological subjects and in 1896 as professor in Marcillauntil.

In 1877 the Province of St. Nicholas wanted to expand in the College of Monteagudo the study of natural sciences and physics. Pio Mareca was entrusted with this management, so he traveled to Paris and bought a complete collection of physics equipment and a series of paintings for the study of botany and other branches of history.

On 20 July 1891 he was appointed as a general councilor, a position he held until his death on August 19, 1899.

Brilliant speaker

Colleagues universally spoke of Mareca as being graced with a fortunate intelligence, which was "well versed in all kinds of knowledge" and "was consulted by the most learned people of his time." What is certain is that both in the Philippines and Spain he shone as a gifted speaker, most notably on the life of the Province of San Nicholas, as at the inauguration of the Colleges of Marcilla (September 17, 1865) and San Millán de la Cogolla (September 1, 1878). The solemn triduum on the occasion of the XV Centenary of the Conversion of St Augustine was held in Marcilla on May 5-7, 1887, and in the celebrations with which the beatification of the Augustinian nun, Sr Josefa de Santa Inés de Benigni in Madrid, on February 3-5, 1889. On this occasion, Mareca shared the spotlight on this occasion with fellow distinguished Recollect orators, Inigo Narro and Toribio Minguella, bishop of Siguenza, Guadalajara.

Rare are the sermons that Mareca has left written entirely, such as the Funeral Prayer delivered at the funerals of the Augustinian Recollect Monsignor José Aranguren, archbishop of Manila, and a sermon on the Immaculate Conception. Most commonly, he would write only brief notes, which helped him remember the ideas he intended to develop.

According to the "notes" that are preserved in the file of the Province of Saint Nicholas in Marcilla (Navarra), the theme of his plentiful sermons revolve around the Virgin Mary.

Learned teacher

Mareca obtained during the exercise of teaching for fifty years the title of Reader of Canons as early as 1861 and later, that of Retired Reader, awarding those individuals of fine distinction.

It was Father Pio Mareca who drafted a program in 1978, which was "a leap of quality" from the previous one. This program was enriched with subjects such as the physical and natural sciences, ecclesiastical history, sacred writing and sacred oratory."

However, the seasoned professor, who loves "notes", never gave anything to the press, nor did he publish any of his work except for a speech prepared to speak - but he did not give the speech himself - at the 2nd National Catholic Congress held in Zaragoza in October 1890 - later published by Dogma magazine and Razón. Mareca was prepared in 1880 to give the printing press two large volumes of dogmatic theology written in Latin, which were also not published. Instead, he saw the light in the Marian Yearbook of Pallés, a story of the blessed image of our Lady of the Way, venerated at monastery of the Augustinian Recollects in Monteagudo, Navarra.

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