Father Aniceto Ibáñez del Carmen
Decades of contribution
Father Aniceto Ibáñez del Carmen (1828 – 1892) is an important fixture in the history of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects in the Marianas. He was vicar provincial and curate of the Hagåtña parish and served in the Marianas from 1852 to 1892, though it is recorded that he left his assignment in the Marianas for a period of 10 years to serve in the Philippines, Spain, and Yap.
Ibáñez was born 17 April 1828 in the province of Navarra, Spain in a town named Andosilla. In 1849, he joined the Augustinian Recollects and later served at the Cavite parish in the Phillippines after which he returned to Spain. In 1884, he was again assigned to the Philippines and then the Marianas. When Ibáñez served his mission in the Marianas, he learned the Chamorro/CHamoru language, speaking it fluently. This skill became one of his strengths when he started his second assignment in the Marianas, specifically in the village of Hagåtña.
Around 1861, Ibáñez accomplished one of his greatest achievements in the Marianas with his architectural work on the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral, or Sweet Name of Mary, in Hagåtña. One side of the church is dedicated to Nuestra Senora la Virgen de los Dolores, or Our Lady the Virgin of Sorrows. Ibáñez also constructed a parish house near the church to provide greater convenience for the priests. Ibáñez was highly regarded by the community and built structures for co-educational schooling as well as the Pigo Catholic Cemetery, complete with gates and solid walls.
Ibáñez’s contribution to the Marianas has been noted as exemplary in terms of the spiritual efforts he brought to the people as well as his skills in material trades. He went on to author many different publications, which he wrote in both Spanish and Chamorro.
Ibáñez died on 20 December 1892 at the age of 64 and was buried in the center section of the Pigo Catholic Cemetery in Anigua.
For further reading
Driver, Marjorie G., trans. The Augustinian Recollect Friars in the Mariana Islands 1769-1908. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, 2000.
Driver, Marjorie G. and Omaira Brunal-Perry. Chronicle of the Mariana Islands. Spanish Documents Collection. Mangilao, GU: University of Guam Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center 1998.