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Drain beans and cook them, covered, in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add water, the cooked beans, tomatoes, oregano, salt, cayenne and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.