Saint Mary of Begoña
patron saint of Biscay

Begoñako Andra Mari, Bizkaiko zaindari

The hymn (composed in Basque) in honour of the Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of the Historical Territory of Biscay, is the popular and jubilant manifestation of the people’s gratitude to the Mother of God. The most important celebrations end by singing this song.

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Our Lady of Begoña,
patron saint of Biscay;
we loved your children
you singing.

The faithful sailors
have their nest in thee;
the pastor of Mount
always looked to you.

Workers and miners
pray to you.
You are the light
to rich and poor.

Mother loved,
welcomed and cared for ever
the children of Biscay
pure and clean heart.

Our Lady of Begoña,
patron saint of Biscay;
we loved your children
you singing.

Lyrics: Claudio Gallastegi
Music: Arturo Intxausti


Begoñako Andra Mari
Bizkaiko zaindari.
Zure seme maitaleak
zugana kantari.

Itsas gizon sinesdunak
zugan dabe kabi
artzain gaixo menditarrak
zugan euren begi.

Lugin eta langileak
zuri otoilari.
Aberatsak ta txiroak
zaituela argi.

Ama maite bihotzeko
bigun eta garbi.
Bizkaiko seme-alabak
hartu ta zain beti.

Begoñako Andra Mari
Bizkaiko zaindari.
Zure seme maitaleak
zugana kantari.

Hitzak: Claudio Gallastegi
Musika: Arturo Intxausti


Arturo Intxausti (1892 – 1986), organist at the Saint Anthony church in Bilbao, set the four stanzas written by the church’s parish priest, Claudio Gallastegi, to music.

The organist, born in Begoña, contributed in a prolonged and generous manner to the splendour of worship in the town of Bilbao. From the age of 14 he accompanied the Salve on the Begoña organ and acted as chapel master. In 1922 he was appointed organist and Chapel Master of Saint Anthony. After the Second Vatican Council and the disappearance of songs in Latin, Intxausti composed “Meza euskeraz” and various Christmas carols such as “Polit ederra”, with lyrics by Claudio Gallastegi. This same couple was also the author of the well-known hymn to the Mum (Amatxu) of Begoña.

In 1969 a repair was completed in Saint Anthony in which multiple altarpieces disappeared. Among them, the High Altar and that of the Virgin of Begoña. In the void left by this altarpiece, a sober stone altar was installed and on the wall a beautiful carving by the sculptor Larrea, polychrome years later, a faithful reproduction of the image of the Sanctuary of Begoña. On the wall you can read the inscription “Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of Biscay” (Begoñako Andra Mari Bizkaiko zaindari). This is where the inspiration of the parish priest of Saint Anthony sprang from and he wrote the four stanzas in Basque, to which the organist set the rhythm of Zortziko.

Intxausti passed away on November 18, 1986. The following day his funeral was held in the church that he loved and served so much, in Saint Anthony. At the time of the offering, his widow, Sara Fuertes, presented the episcopal appointment issued in 1922 in favour of Arturo for the position of organist and Chapel Master of the Saint Anthony the Abbot parish.

Consecration to the Virgin of Begoña

O Virgin of Begoña, Our Lady and Mother!
I offer myself completely to You;
and as proof of my filial affection I consecrate you on this day
my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart,
in a word, my whole being.
Because I am all yours, O Mother of Goodness!
Keep me and defend me as your thing and possession.