On 7 February 1970, while taking part at the Provincial Chapter, three young SSS religious from the Province of St Peter the Apostle in Spain, together with Fr Martín Goicoechea, another religious already named to go to Colombia, requested to be assigned as part of the Delegation the Province had to the same country.
The request was accepted by the Chapter and the provincial authorities of that time and the four religious embarked from Barcelona, on the Italian ship called “Verdi”, for Colombia, where the above-mentioned Province had a delegation.
The religious were: Fr Martín Goicoechea Zurutuza SSS, the one said to have encouraged the other three religious; Fr Juan Echevarría SSS, a recently ordained a priest; and the two perpetually professed, Br José Miguel Larrañaga SSS and Br Luis Otaegui SSS. The last three religious had just graduated from the Deusto Jesuit University.
These men wrote to another SSS religious, some years older than them, who was already in Colombia. They had all been companions for the most part of their formation process. They told him about their desires and that they counted on him for a possible new foundation in Colombia.
As it happens, the Bishop of Cúcuta, a city on the border with Venezuela, was thinking of the possibility of a SSS foundation in his diocese. Another SSS religious, Fr Felipe Arratibel SSS, was interested in this proposal.
In this way, the religious on whom the three adventurers counted, accompanied by another SSS religious, Fr Luciano Olea, went to Cúcuta to find out about the proposal. As soon as they arrived, they immediately rejected the proposal because it did not correspond with the desires of the three “illuminated ones” (Juan, Luis and José Miguel).
What were the three SSS religious seeking in wanting to come to Colombia?
To be continued…
Father Lucinio Martin Herrero, sss
NOTIBIP 84 - September 2022