Antonio Margil

Antonio Margil (18 August 1657 – 6 August 1726) was a Spanish (American) Franciscan missionary in North and Central America.

Antonio de Jesus
Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús, escultura de Alberto Pérez Soria.jpg
Antonio Margil's statue in Queretaro, Mexico
Priest and Missionary
BornAntonio Margil Ros
(1657-08-18)18 August 1657
Valencia, Spain
Died6 August 1726(1726-08-06) (aged 68)
Mexico City, Mexico
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
FeastAugust 8


Margil entered the Franciscan Order in his Native city of Valencia, Spain on 22 April 1673. After his ordination to the priesthood, he volunteered for the Native American missions and arrived at Vera Cruz on 6 June 1683. He was stationed at the missionary college of Santa Cruz, Querétaro, but was generally engaged in reaching missions in Yucatan, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and especially in Guatemala.

He always walked barefooted, without sandals, fasted every day in the year, never used meat or fish, and applied the discipline and other instruments of penance to himself unmercifully. He slept very little but passed in prayer the greater part of the night, as well as the time allotted for the siesta.

On 25 June 1706, Margil was appointed the first guardian of the newly erected missionary college of Guadalupe, Zacatecas. In 1716 he led a band of three fathers and two lay-brothers into Texas, and founded the missions of Guadalupe among the Nacogdoches, Dolores among the Ays, and San Miguel among the Adays. These sites are in modern-day East Texas and northern Louisiana.

When the French destroyed these missions, Father Margil withdrew to the Rio San Antonio (San Antonio River). He remained near the present city of San Antonio, Texas for more than a year. There he established Mission San José (Texas) to serve the Coahuiltecan Indians.

He then returned with his priests to the scene of his former activity, restored the missions, and gave his attention to the French settlers in Louisiana. In 1722 he was elected guardian of his college; at the close of his office term, he resumed missionary work in Mexico. He died in Mexico City in the Convento Grande de San Francisco.

See alsoEdit


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Antonio Margil". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. The entry cites:
    • ESPINOSA, Crónica Apóstolica y Seràfica (Mexico, 1746);
    • VILAPLANA, Vida del V.P. Fr. Antonio Margil (Madrid, 1775);
    • ARRICIVITA, Crónica Seràfica y Apóstolica (Mexico, 1792);
    • SOTO-MAYOR, Historia del Apóstolico Colegio de Guadalupe (Zacatecas, 1874);
    • SHEA, Catholic Church in Colonial Days (New York, 1886).