Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1994.01.03
Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections
2.8 linear feet,
Date: circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1885-1909)
The Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Collection, circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1885 – 1909), documents the life of Fray Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Often
referred to as the “Holy Man of Santa Clara,” Fr. Catalá was stationed at Mission Santa Clara for thirty-six years and was
widely renowned for his piety and spiritual labors. In 1882, more than fifty years after Fr. Catalá’s death, Archbishop J.S.
Alemany, O.P. initiated the process of his beatification. As of 2014, his Cause remained open. The bulk of the collection
consists of reproductions of deposition transcripts taken circa 1885 and again in 1908-1909 during the beatification process
of Fr. Magín Catalá. The collection is arranged into three series: Series I. Process of Beatification, circa 1885-1909; Series
II. Biographical Publications and Related Materials, circa 1909-2009 (bulk 1909-1964); and Series III. Relics and Devotional
Materials, circa 1907-1962, and undated.
This collection is located in Santa Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.
Language of Material: English, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and some Catalan
The collection is open for research.
Beatification transcripts in Boxes 1 and 2 are reproductions of the original documents held in the Archivio Segreto Vaticano
(Vatican Secret Archives) and were obtained by Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections in 1993. Box
1, Folder 7 contains a photocopy of “Witnesses in Catalá Beatification,” a deposition transcript. The original document is
held in the Archdiocese of San Francisco Archives. Montblanc items were received from the Parroquia de Santa Maria in Montblanc,
The Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Collection, MSS.1994.01.03, Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections.
Materials in the Santa Clara University’s Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated
otherwise, Santa Clara University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user
or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Santa Clara University does not assume any responsibility
for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or
Guide created by Shannon Hartman in 2014. Guide encoded by Shannon Hartman in 2015.
Magín Catalá, O.F.M. (1761-1830) was born at Montblanc in the Spanish province of Catalonia in 1761. At age 16, he entered
the Franciscan monastery in Barcelona and took his vows one year later. He was ordained priest in 1785. Fr. Catalá quickly
volunteered to labor in the missions in America. In 1786, he set sail from Cadiz, Spain and eventually arrived in Mexico City,
where he joined the College of San Fernando de Mexico, a Franciscan missionary college. Fr. Catalá arrived at Mission Santa
Clara in 1794 at the age of thirty-one, seventeen years after the institution’s founding. Fr. Catalá was stationed at Mission
Santa Clara for most of his life and was one of the earliest European colonizers of the Santa Clara Valley. He remained at
Mission Santa Clara for thirty-six years. Fr. Catalá was intimately involved not only in the development of the Franciscan
outpost at Santa Clara, but also in the construction of a church in the pueblo of San José and the establishment of The Alameda,
a roadway linking San José and Mission Santa Clara.
Often referred to as the “Holy Man of Santa Clara,” Fr. Catalá’s reputation for sanctity persisted long after his death in
1830. In 1882, Archbishop J.S. Alemany, O.P. began gathering the necessary information to initiate the process of Fr. Catalá’s
beatification. The first canonical process took place in Santa Clara in 1884-1885 and relied solely on the oral testimony
of witnesses. The Sacred Congregation of Rites found the evidence collected to be promising but requested corroborative testimony.
No additional evidence was submitted on Fr. Catalá’s behalf, and the Cause was suspended. In 1908-1909, the Sacred Congregation
of Rites reconvened the Cause, instituting the process to determine whether unauthorized public veneration of Fr. Catalá had
occurred. As of 2014, his Cause remained open.
The Holy Man of Santa Clara: Or, Life, Virtues and Miracles of Fr. Magín Catala, O.F.M. San Francisco: The James H. Barry Co., 1909. Print.
McKevitt,, Gerald, S.J. Letter to Members of the Sourisseau Academy. 8 Dec. 1994. The Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Collection: Accession
Skowronek, Russell K, Elizabeth Thompson, Veronica L. Johnson, and Anita Cohen-Williams.
Situating Mission Santa Clara De Asís, 1776-1851: Documentary and Material Evidence of Life on the Alta California Frontier:
Berkeley, Calif: Academy of American Franciscan History, 2006. Print.
Stern, Aloysius S., Amleto G. Cicognani, and Arthur D. Spearman.
Magín Catala, O.F.M.: The Holy Man of Santa Clara. San Francisco, Calif: University of San Francisco, 1956. Print.
Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating
institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of the original
21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank
until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law
were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and
Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty
tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence
halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the
undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for
generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.
Santa Clara University. “About SCU – History.” www.scu.edu/about/history.cfm (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010)
McKevitt, Gerald, S.J.
The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.
Santa Clara University Artifact Collection, Box 31. Santa Clara University Library Archives & Special Collections.
The collection is arranged into three series: Series I. Process of Beatification, circa 1885-1909; Series II. Biographical
Publications and Related Materials, circa 1909-2009 (bulk 1909-1964); and Series III. Relics and Devotional Materials, circa
1907-1962, and undated.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Magín Catalá, O.F.M. Collection, circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1885-1909), documents the life of Fray Magín Catalá. Often referred
to as the “Holy Man of Santa Clara,” Fr. Catalá was stationed at Mission Santa Clara for thirty-six years and was widely renowned
for his piety and spiritual labors. In 1882, more than fifty years after Fr. Catalá’s death, Archbishop J.S. Alemany, O.P.
initiated the process of his beatification. As of 2014, his Cause remained open. The bulk of the collection consists of reproductions
of deposition transcripts taken circa 1885 and again in 1908-1909 during the process of beatification of Fray Magín Catalá.
During these proceedings, sixty-two witnesses were called upon to provide testimony about the life and work of Fr. Catalá.
While the documents focus primarily on canonical issues, they also contain information about life in the Santa Clara Valley
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Included are interviews with early Spanish colonizers who had knowledge of the
Franciscan missionary and the era in which Fr. Catalá lived. Early Jesuit administrators and faculty from Santa Clara College
involved with the beatification process included Jesuit Fathers Joseph Bixio, Nicholas Congiato, Joseph Caredda, Henry Imoda,
Benedict Picardo, John Pinasco, Paul Raffo, and Aloysius Varsi. Also included are biographical publications and related materials;
correspondence about Fr. Magín Catalá’s life; devotional materials; and relics.
Note: Beatification transcripts in Boxes 1 and 2 are in Latin, Spanish, Italian, and English and have not been translated.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Catalá, Magín, Fr., 1761-1830
Santa Clara College (Calif.)
Santa Clara University (Calif.)
University of Santa Clara (Calif.)
Missions, Spanish--California--History--Archival Resources
Santa Clara Mission--Archives