Thursday, June 21, 2018


Garapan Church in the 1930s

Before World War II, Spanish Jesuits staffed the Catholic missions of Saipan and Luta.

These Jesuit missionaries established on Saipan two organizations for boys and young men, just as they had been doing for many years in Spain. The aim of these two organizations was the religious formation of the members.

Age divided these two societies.

The Congregation of SAN ESTANISLAO was for boys who had made their First Holy Communion (7 years old) up to around 15 years old. It was named after Saint Stanislaus Kostka, a Polish Jesuit saint who died at the age of 17.

The Congregation of SAN LUIS GONZAGA was for boys older than 15, up until they got married. This group was named after Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian Jesuit saint who died at the age of 23. These two young, male saints were to be the model for the young males in these societies.

In Spain, members of the two groups were called Luises and Estanislaos. I don't know if they were called this in Saipan; all the members back then are now passed away! But it's possible they were, even if only on occasion by the Spanish priest.

Like any organization, they had their regular meetings and religious functions. In parts of Spain, the Luises met every third Sunday of the month for spiritual reflection and prayer.

These statues of San Luis Gonzaga and San Estanislao in the Mt Carmel Cathedral in Chalan Kanoa, Saipan are echoes of the past. Many people wonder, "Who are these saints and why are they here?" Now they have the answer with this blog post.


In April of 1932, the Spanish Jesuits in Saipan established the Congregation of San Luís Gonzaga in Garapan. Though the Chamorros were the majority, the Carolinians were well represented.

In time, every third Sunday of the month, the members attended the same Mass and received Holy Communion as a group. Mass was followed by a spiritual talk given just to the members. Gatherings usually ended with some kind of social time, such as a meal or snacks (merienda), once at the home of the Tomokane family.

April 1932

Juan Matsunaga
Daniel Matsunaga
David Reyes
José Muña
Joaquín Santos
Juan Mendiola
Jesús Dueñas
Jesús Tudela
José Villagómez
Manasés Matsunaga
Gregorio Arriola
Germán de León Guerrero
Tomás Agulto
Vicente Cruz
Godofredo Sánchez
Gregorio Castro
Pedro Camacho
Antonio Reyes
Carlos Torres
Luís Arriola
Efrain Matsunaga
Francisco Sablan
Benedicto Lizama
Vicente Capileo
Luís Santos
Elías Malite
Vidal Selepeo
Francisco Teregeyo
Albert Fitipual
Tomás Igimara
Aniceto Teregeyo
Alejandro Sablan
José Olopai
Tomás Ríos
Antonio Díaz
Vicente Cepeda
Gabriel Boyer
Francisco Borja
Martín Borja
Antonio Cabrera Camacho
Leonardo Cabrera
José Cepeda
Bonifacio Esteves
Vicente Babauta
Luís Santos
Juan Cepeda
Tomás Blas
Antonio Rogolifoi
Jesús Ríos
José de León Guerrero
Joaquín Díaz
Torcuato Borja
Alberto Tenorio
Enrique Lizama
Juan Limes
Gregorio Camacho
Vicente Palacios
Basilio Ogarto
José Fitial

From among these members, the following were office holders :

Jesús Ríos - Prefect
José de León Guerrero - Assistant
Joaquín Díaz - Secretary
Torcuato Borja - Treasurer
Alberto Tenorio - Warden
Enrique Lizama - Instructor

Juan Limes - Councilor
Gregorio Camacho - Councilor
Vicente Palacios - Councilor
Basilio Ogarto - Councilor
José Fitial - Councilor

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