Colegio de San Juan de Letrán. Courtesy of the Guam Public Library System.

Maintained the Colegio

The Christianization of the Marianas began under the direction of Jesuit priest Diego Luis de San Vitores in 1668. In addition to the evangelization in the Mariana Islands, the Jesuit priests also established the first schools. In 1769, the Jesuits were expelled from the Marianas due to their falling out of power in Rome, and succeeded by the Order of the Augustinian Recollects (OAR).

Brother Fray Manuel de San Juan Bautista was a lay brother of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects (OAR). Brother Manuel was born in 1734 in Madrid, Spain and, at the age thirty-five, he began his missionary work on Guam. From 1769 to 1771, he served in the parish church of Hagåtña, the capital of the island.

Brother Manuel helped to maintain the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, the school and seminary located in the village of Hagåtña. In 1769, at the beginning of his tenure on Guam, because of his reputation as an extremely skilled carpenter, Brother Manuel was assigned to repair and provide assistance in the renovation of the Colegio.

Brother Manual died in Hagåtña in 1771 at the age of thirty-seven.

By Velma Yamashita

For further reading

Driver, Marjorie G., trans. The Augustinian Recollect Friars in the Mariana Islands 1769-1908. MARC Educational Series no. 24. Mangilao: Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, 2000.