Esquiú, Mamerto (1826–1883)

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Esquiú, Mamerto (1826–1883)

Mamerto Esquiú (b. 11 May 1826; d. 10 January 1883), Argentine Catholic spokesman and bishop of Córdoba. The son of a devout family of farmers in Callesita, Catamarca Province, at the age of ten he entered the Franciscan order. He taught at the Franciscan convent school in Catamarca and for much of his career was closely associated with Catholic educational institutions. Also a noted preacher, he first gained national renown for a sermon he delivered on the occasion of the swearing of allegiance to the 1853 Constitution. Esquiú criticized the liberalism that permeated many provisions of the Constitution, but he called on Argentines to obey it in a spirit of submission to the constituted authorities.

Esquiú at various times was a member of deliberative assemblies in his native province, even as he became increasingly disillusioned with the factional wrangling and civil warfare that afflicted the country as a whole. He spent the years 1862–1875 in Bolivia (except for one brief trip to Peru and Ecuador), where he again earned prominence as a Catholic educator and publicist. For the final years of his life he was mainly in Argentina, despite his dismay over political and cultural trends there. Nevertheless, in view of his prestige among Argentine Catholics and his reputation as "orator of the Constitution," Esquiú was nominated as archbishop of Buenos Aires (which he refused) and bishop of Córdoba (which he reluctantly accepted). From the time he took over the Córdoba diocese in January 1881 until his death, he set an example of apostolic simplicity and tireless energy in service to his flock. Though he was never formally canonized, his biography appears in a series of "Popular Lives of Saints" published in 1977. He died in Suncho, Catamarca province.

See alsoArgentina: The Nineteenth Century; Education; Franciscans.


John J. Kennedy, Catholicism, Nationalism, and Democracy in Argentina (1958), pp. 91-97.

David Peña, La materia religiosa en la política argentina (1960), pp. 181-210.

Juan Alberto Cortés, Fray Mamerto Esquiú (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Bazán, Armando Raúl. Esquiú: Apóstol y ciudadanos. Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, 1996.

Navarro Santa Ana, Luis Horacio. El pensamiento americanista de Fray Mamerto Esquiú. Catamarca: Editorial Sarquís, 2000.

Sánchez Parodi, Horacio M. Las ideas político-jurídicas de Fray Mamerto Esquiú. Buenos Aires: Editorial Quorum, EDUCA, 2002.

                                        David Bushnell