Sunday, January 22, 2012


GREGORIO SABLAN, better known as Kilili', was born on Guam in the late 1800s but went as a child with his mother to Saipan at the end of the Spanish regime.  He was a strong Catholic and lead the church community for several years when there were no priests on Saipan.

He visited Guam in 1921 and shared some things with the Spanish priests on Guam :

  • the Japanese respected the missionaries on Saipan when they first arrived in 1914; but by 1921, there was less respect for them
  • the Japanese were nervous, perhaps intimidated, by the intense loyalty the Chamorros had to their religion.  Chamorros bowed and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, whereas the Japanese felt only their emperor was deserving of these outward marks of reverence.  Chamorros obeyed their priests; the Japanese saw this as competing with their authority.
  • Chamorros who can write have to use Japanese script even when writing in Chamorro
  • so Gregorio Sablan spelled his name (in katakana) Gu - re - go - ryo Sa - bu - ran.

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