Boys school principal

Father Fray Andrés Blázquez de San José was born in Cáceres, Spain in c. 1737. An ordained priest in the Order of the Augustinian Recollects (O.A.R.), Father Andrés was listed in the first registry of Augustinian religious representatives issued in 1773. He arrived in the Marianas at the age of thirty-two and throughout his twenty-one year tenure on Guam, from 1769 to 1790, he served as the vicar provincial of the Dulce Nombre de María (Sweet Name of Mary) church in the village of Hagåtña. He was in charge of the islander’s spiritual and educational welfare under Spanish colonial rule.

In 1776, Father Andrés was officially recognized as the rector (what is known today as a principal) of the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, the boy’s school and seminary in Hagåtña. The endowment (obra pia) for the Colegio was typically placed on the galleons that traveled to China and eventually distributed to the school to purchase items for the students.

Unhappy with this arrangement, Father Andrés submitted a request that the funds go directly to him, as rector of the Colegio on Guam, in order to purchase items more quickly as needed by the students. However, instead of directing the funds to Father Andrés, the endowment was deposited in and administered by authorities in Manila.

Father Andrés also served as the Commissioner of the Holy Office or Inquisition (comisario del Santo Oficio). According to church records, issued during the 1770s, Father Andrés baptized 169 people and married thirty-six couples.

Father Andrés Blázquez de San José died in 1798 at the age of 60.

By Velma Yamashita

For further reading

Driver, Majorie G., ed. and trans. The Augustinian Recollect Friars in the Mariana Islands, 1769-1908. MARC Educational Series 24. Mangilao, GU.: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesia Area Research Center, 2000.