|Saint Michael Garicoits|
|Born||April 15, 1797
|Died||May 14, 1863
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Canonized||1947 by Pope Pius XII|
Michael Garicoits was a Basque, from the French region of the Pyrenees. He was born on the 15 April 1797 in the hamlet of Ibarre not far from the Spanish frontier. He was the eldest of six children in a family that remained faithful to the Church of Rome during the persecutions of the Revolutionary period.
As a young boy, Michael would pray and sing hymns while guarding the cattle. At the age of 13 he was sent as a servant to another farm at Oneix. There he made his First Communion on Sunday 9 June 1811, the feast of the Holy Trinity. Having decided that he wanted to become a priest, he then attended school at Saint-Palais, studying Latin and French by candlelight late into the night.
Garicoits entered the Junior Seminary in Aire-sur-Adour and later the Major Seminary in Dax. While still a student, he was asked to teach at the Junior Seminary at Larressore. He was ordained a priest on the 20 December 1823 at Bayonne Cathedral.
He was appointed curate to the town of Cambo not far from Bayonne. After two years as curate at Cambo Fr Michael was sent to Bétharram to teach Philosophy.
St. Michael Garicoits died in the early morning of the 14 May 1863. His feast day is 14 May.
Bétharram, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and about eight miles from Lourdes, is the site of an ancient shrine of Our Lady. In 1833 the Bishop closed the seminary at Bétharram and Fr Michael was left to care for the shrine and its many pilgrims. This allowed Michael to fulfil a dream, to start a Congregation of Priests and Brothers. The task of this congregation, which was dedicated to the Sacred Heart, was to evangelize the people through missions and to teach the young. The Society of Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram, which received official approval from the Pope after his death.
His Basque surname is the origin of the male name Garikoitz, sported by Basque males on both sides of the Pyrenees.
- Letter Of Pope John Paul II To The Priests Of The Sacred Heart Of Betharram, 5 July 1997
- Saint Michael Garicoits
- St. Michael Garicoits