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Born at Montblanch, Catalonia, Spain, 29 or 30 January, 1761; died at Santa Clara, California, 22 Nov., 1830. He received the habit of St. Francis at Barcelona on 4 April, 1777, and was ordained priest probably in 1785. After obtaining permission to devote himself to the missions in America, he sailed from Cadiz in October, 1786, and joined the famous missionary college of San Fernando in the City of Mexico.
In 1793 he acted as chaplain on a Spanish ship which plied between Mexico and Nootka Sound (Vancouver). In the following year he was sent to the Indian mission of Santa Clara, California, where in company with Father Jose Viader he laboured most zealously until his death. All through his missionary life Father Catalá suffered intensely from inflammatory rheumatism, so that in his last years he could neither walk nor stand unassisted. He nevertheless visited the sick, and preached in Indian and Spanish while seated in a chair at the altar-rail. Despite his infirmities he observed the rule strictly, used the discipline and penitential girdle, tasted nothing till noon, and then and in the evening would eat only a gruel of corn and milk. He never used meat, fish, eggs, or vine. The venerable missionary was famed far and wide for his miracles and prophecies, as well as for his virtues. In 1884 Archbishop J.S. Alemany of San Francisco instituted the process of his beatification. This, in 1908-9, was followed by the process de non cultu publico.
ENGELHARDT, The Holy Man of Santa Clara (San Francisco, 1909); Santa Clara Mission Records.