Martin was one of the first members of the Order of Saint Augustine to labour in the Philippines.
He was born in Pamplona province of Navarra, Spain on 30th June 1533.
At the age of twelve, his parents sent him and his older brother to study at the University of Paris.
Due to some war conflicts, he was forced to return to Spain, and enrolled at the University of Salamanca.
He entered the Order of Saint Augustine in that city, and made his religious profession there on 21st November 1554.
While assigned to the Augustinian monastery (convento) at Toledo in 1560, he volunteered to work in New Spain (Mexico).
Alonso de la Vera Cruz O.S.A., a gifted teacher who in Mexico began the first university in the New World, later wrote that de Rada was "a man of uncommon talent, a good theologian and an eminence in mathematics and astrology."
(Astrology was then a form of mathematics, and quite different to what is called astrology in popular language today.)
In Mexico, de Rada was assigned to study the Otomi language, and was successfully speaking it after only five months in the area.
He went on to write instructional sermons and a book in that language.
The talents and administrative abilities of de Rada were noted not only by the Augustinians leaders in Mexico but also by the Provincial in Spain.
When in 1564 Augustinians were being chosen to accompany Andrés de Urdaneta O.S.A. on the royal expedition to the Philippines that was to sail from Mexico under the command of Don Miguel López de Legazpi, the Provincial in Spain asked that the talents of de Rada be overlooked.
His reasoning was to hold de Rada in Mexico "until it is known about the success of the Armada."
Presumably if Spain had succeeded in invading England, the Provincial had a plan in mind for de Rada there.
As it happened, de Rada had already sailed in the Legazpi expedition before the Provincial's letter reached Mexico.
Photo (above): This Church of Saint Augustine was built by members of the Order of Saint Augustine at Paoay, Ilcos, Philippines.
Begun in the year 1694, it has a unique triangular shape, with its side walls that are tremendously thick at their base.
It is popularly called "the earthquake church", and was built thus so that earthuakes would not cause its walls to crack. In fact, this architectural style is called "Earthquake Baroque." See: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~gaspar/paoay.html
In the Province of Ilocos Norte, Paoay is located west of Batac, southwest of Laoag City and north of Currimao.
Situated 480 kilometers north of Manila and 23 kilometers south of Laoag City, it is bounded on the north by Laoag City and San Nicolas, on the south by Batac and Currimao, on the east by Batac, and on the west by the South China Sea.
This photograph has been placed on this page without any intention of suggesting that Martin de Rada O.S.A. had anything to do with this church.
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