The Rev. Aloysius Ellacuria, C.M.F., (June 21, 1905 - April 6, 1981) was a noted Spanish-born Claretian priest, who is considered by many to have been a mystic, as well as having a reputation as a miracle worker, in California. He founded a religious institute of men and women serving the poor and needy of Mexico and California. The cause for his canonization is currently being studied by authorities of his congregation for possible petition to the Holy See.
He was born Juan Luis Ellacuria in the town of Yurre (known today as Igorre) in Biscay, one of the Basque provinces of Spain. At the age of eleven, he entered the Claretian Fathers, where he took religious name of Aloysius. He was ordained on November 3, 1929, at the age of 24. Shortly after this, Ellacuria was assigned to serve in California, where he taught Greek and Latin to candidates for the congregation. He served various other offices in the congregation, ranging from superior to Master of novices.
Shortly after World War II Ellacuria began to found prayer groups around the region, mostly around Los Angeles. Through these, he touched hundreds of people who turned to him for guidance and spiritual direction. He worked with the Claretian seminarians for some 30 years, from the time of his arrival in the country, constantly providing them guidance and support in their commitment. He gained the reputation of being a miracle worker during this period. Ellacuria then spent the 1960s serving as a pastor in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas.
In 1970 Ellacuria made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. While there he felt the inspiration to found a house of prayer there for men seeking an environment of prayer. After a year of living with and guiding this group, the Claretian Superior General suggested to him that he establish this community as a new religious institute in the Catholic Church. He agreed and when the members of the house agreed to take this step, he accepted them as novices of the proposed institute, now called the Missionaries of Perpetual Adoration and Perpetual Veneration, more commonly called the Missionaries of Fatima. Ellacuria returned to the United States in 1973 and began to recruit potential members for the new institute.
The men of the institute completed their period of canonical formation in 1977, but they needed to be accepted into a diocese to be able to function. They were invited by the Bishop of Ciudad Obregón in Mexico to provide care for the people of his diocese in Sonora, Mexico. He suggested that they establish their monastery in the town of Álamos. They did this continue to serve there, as well as in San Diego, California, as of 2012, being joined by a community of Religious Sisters who soon came together to share in the work.
Death and veneration
Ellacuria died in Los Angeles in 1981. He was buried at the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, which the Claretian Fathers have administered since 1908.
Since his death, visitors from the entire country have continued to visit his grave. Hundreds of petitions to open the cause for his canonization have been made to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which has referred the matter to the Superior General of the Claretian Fathers, with the recommendation that they proceed. It is currently under investigation for submission to the Holy See.
A number of books on the life of Ellacuria have been published. A video of his life was released in 2011 titled The Angel of Biscay.
- Father Aloysius Project
- History of the Missionaries of Fatima
- Pronechen, Joseph (August 10, 2011). "Catholic Heroes for Today: Part 4, Father Aloysius Ellacuria, C.M.F.". National Catholic Register. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
- Amazon Books "The Angel of Biscay"