Father Saturnino Urios, SJ
(1843 - 1916 )
Apostle of Agusan



Scott 1536
THE PHILIPPINES, 1981, the 4th centenary of Jesuits in the Philippines, Scott 1536
from a souvenir sheet

Father Saturnino Urios was born in Játiva, near Valencia in Spain, on November 12, 1843. His father was a barber, and at the advice of his parish priest permitted the boy to pursue studies when he was old enough, first in Játiva, and then at the Seminario Conciliar in Valencia. He was ordained a diocesan priest June 6, 1868, but by January 1870, feeling called by God to religious life, left for France where the Jesuits, exiled from Spain by the September Revolution, had established their novitiate. By July 30, 1874 he was embarking from Marseilles for Manila and the island of Mindanao, where he worked as a missionary for the next 40 years. The Jesuits had first come to Mindanao at Butuan in 1596. After the Suppression, they returned, Urios among the first. He evangelized the natives, founded towns along the Agusan River and its tributaries. His love of Spain and the Valencia countryside may be seen in the names he gave to the towns he founded: Las Nives (in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, patroness of Játiva), San Vicente Ferrer (the patron of Valencia), Játiva, Novelé, Segorbe, Alberique, Alcira, Gandía, Morella, and Sagunto. Urios ended tribal slavery and warfare, negotiated peace between the Americans and the insurgents in 1901, and in the same year founded in Butuan City the school that was to become Fr. Saturnino Urios University. His untiring work to evangelize the natives was imitated by his fellow missionaries, but it eventually destroyed his health, and he died October 27, 1916.