This is a blessed about whom there is really nothing to report, as they said of the Little Flower at her death, except that as a lay brother in the Society of Jesus he fulfilled his assignments in an exemplary fashion and thereby attained the goal of perfection and sanctity. Brother Francisco was born on a farm in the same Basque region where Ignatius of Loyola grew up on February 3, 1857. At the age of seventeen, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in France and took vows as a lay brother in 1876. He spent the next ten years working in the infirmary and forty two years after that working as a doorkeeper at the Jesuit University in Bilbao.
As a porter, Brother Francisco was able to perfectly imitate the virtues another Jesuit lay brother and porter, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez. Many people remarked on his consistently amiable, patient and untiring demeanor as he went about his daily duties. Once the Jesuit Cardinal Boetto asked Brother Francisco how, with such a demanding job, he could maintain such peace and equanimity. He answered, “To the extent that it is possible for me to do everything well, I do it. Our Lord does the rest. With his help, everything becomes easy and beautiful because we have a Good Lord.”
During his beatification on October 6, 1985, Blessed John Paul II said, “The message of sanctity that Blessed Francisco Garate gives us is simple and clear…From his youth, Francisco opened his heart wide to Christ who knocked at his door inviting him to be his faithful follower and friend. Like Mary, whom he loved tenderly as his mother, he responded with generosity and confidence without limit to the call of grace….His generosity is attested to by the students, professors, employees and parents at the University who affectionately called him ‘Brother Kindness’ and who saw in him the welcoming and pleasant attitude of one who keeps his heart anchored in God. Blessed Francisco gives us a real and concrete testimony of the value of the interior life of the soul of every apostolate as well as that of religious consecration. In effect, when a person hands himself over to God and centres his whole life in him, one does not have to wait for apostolic fruits. From the entrance of the university, this Jesuit brother made the goodness of God present to others by the evangelizing force of his quiet and humble service.”
May we be such evangelizers! Blessed Francisco, who on died on September 9, 1929, pray for us during this Year of Faith.