Justo de Santa Maria de Oro

A brief biography.

Justo de Santa María de Oro, was born to Juan Miguel Santa María de Oro and María Elena Albarracín in San-Juan-de-Cuyo, Chile, on 3 September 1771.He entered the Dominican order early in life in the priory of Cuyo, distinguished himself as a theologian and canonist and was ordained a priest 27 November 1794. He taught theology and philosophy in the priories of St. Dominic and Our Lady of Bethlehem.

He was elected prior in 1804, and conceived the project of founding a congregation connected with the convent of Bethlehem which would pay special attention to education. With this object he set out for Spain in 1809, where he obtained the permission and requisites for the new enterprise.
On his return he began the erection of the College of St. Vincent in Apoquindo, which he wished to make the seminary of the new congregation; but the outbreak of revolution in the provinces of La Plata interrupted his projects.
He was an ardent partisan of the national movement, and his countrymen of San Juan de la Frontera elected him deputy to the national congress of Tucumán 9 July 1816.


The portrait of Justo Santa Maria de Oro as bishop by the Argentine painter Antonio Alice (1886-1943).
It is preserved in the Dominican priory in Santiago de Chile.

The year of his birth on the stamp (1772) is a mistake (1771).

Argentina 1974, Mi 1169, Sc 1018, FDC.


On 24 January 1818 he was elected provincial of the province of San Lorenzo Mártyr de Chile, and he insisted that, in this capacity, he had jurisdiction over the priory of Bethlehem, which claimed to be independent of the province. The quarrel that ensued was very bitter, especially as De Oro appealed to the civil power and had one of the Dominicans exiled.
He received the title of doctor of theology from the University of San Felipe (1819) where he acquired great reputation by his public discussions.

On 15 Dec 1828 he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of San Juan de Cuyo, Argentina, and on 15 Dec 1828 appointed Titular Bishop of Thaumacus. He was ordained Bishop Titular of Thaumacus on 21 Feb 1830. On 30 Sep 1834 he was appointed Bishop of San Juan de Cuyo, and there he died 19 October 1834 (1836?), and was buried in the cathedral.

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