The Spanish Claretian Martyrs of Tarragona, Siguenza & Fernan Caballero

A SHORT HISTORY

(This short history is compiled by Fr. Cyriac Njayarkulam CMF basing mainly on: Federico Gutierrez, CMF Martires Claretianos de Siguenza y Fernancaballero and from the Information Bulletin ‘Martires Claretianos Barbastro N.97 – Abril-2013 published by Province of Santiago, Spain)

                On Sunday, the 13th of October 2013 in Tarragona, Spain the Church will proclaim as “Blessed” our 23 brothers, martyrs of Tarragona, Siguenza and Fernancaballero. For the city and archdiocese of Tarragona this Beatification signifies a link to the martyrial sources of their faith: the admirable testimony of Bishop Fructuosos and his Deacons Augurius and Eulogius (3rd c.). For us also it reminds of the testimony of the first martyr of the Congregation, Fr. Francisco Crusats, assassinated in Selva del Camp in 1868, close to the City of Tarragona.

THE CLARETIAN MARTYRS OF TARRAGONA

                The group of 7 martyrs of Tarragona is diverse: 5 are Brothers and only two are priests; some lived their missionary service doing simple works at the service of the community, others were of great intellectual stature. Some were in communities of Catalonia and others were intended for the hard missions of Guinea, already accepting the risk of disease and death. The same missionary vocation which united them, lived with a generous dedication to their work and the cultivation of spiritual and community life, ultimately joined them to the total offering of life in martyrdom, offered with admirable faith and courage.

                The community of the Selva del Camp, which in the year 1936 had 23 individuals, saw 9 of its members reach, in only a few months the palm of martyrdom. Of these 9 martyrs only four will be beatified on Octorber 13th, 2013(Bros. Antoni Capdevila, Sebastia Balsells, Andreu Feiliu and Pau Castella). The remaining five(Frs. Pau Pujolar, Vicenc Goma, and Xavier Surribas, with students: Jaume Franch and Joan Costa) were also killed for being religious. It is possible that, due to lack of witnesses, they will never see the glory of the altars, but are no less worthy of our admiration and appreciation.

                The soon to be beatified, Fathers Frederic Vila and Jaume Mir, and Bro. Anton Vilamassana belonged to the small community of Tarragona. The superior of the community, Fr. Joan Blanch also gave his life for being a religious and his cause for Beatification has been initiated.

                The Community of Tarragona, founded in 1883 was the residence of Claretian professors of the Pontifical University of Tarragona. In the religious persecution of 1936, three of that reduced community obtained the palm of martyrdom.

The Community of Tarragona

Fr. Frederic Vila Bartroli (Brull 1884)

                His curriculum would fill various pages. Professor of natural sciences, Greek, Hebrew and moral science; historian of the University of Cervera, collaborator of Alcover in the Work ‘Dicionari catala, Valencia, Balear; promoter of the “Festa sactificada” which reached the weeky edition of 80,000 copies. Priest of great sensibility and great love for work. He had a Claretian brother and three Dominican religious nuns as sisters. Shortly before his martyrdom he left it written in his diary in Greek:”Elpis hemon, jaire” salve, our hope.

                He was shot at the cemetery of Torredembarra on 11th November 1936. He left very good memories through his goodness, knowledge and companionship.

Fr. Jaume Mir Vime (Ciutadilla 1889)

He was an exceptionally talented person for mathematics and metaphysics. He was an exceptional professor, educated in Paris, Fribourg and Rome. As missionary he distinguished himself in the preaching of Spritual Exercises. The death surprised him when he was preaching a retreat to the Vedruna community of Espluga del Francoli in which he referred to the very probable possibility of sealing his faith with the martyrdom. He was shot dead in Tarragona on 19th July 1936.

Bro. Antoni Vilamassana (Massoteres, Lleida 1860)

                He rendered his services as cook and tailor in different communities for various years, first in Fernando Poo from where he returned sick and finally he was in Tarragona. He was shot dead on 25th August 1936 near Valls with various priests and brothers of De la Salle. He left very good impressions at the Barco prison for his spirit of devotion and good services. At all costs he wanted to wash the clothes of all of us of the congregation, affirms a companion of the imprisonment.

The Community of Selva Del Camp

                This community was drenched with the blood of the Claretian Protomartyr Francesc Crusats on 30th September 1868, the same month of its foundation. It was devoted to the apostolate of education, preaching and care of the elderly and sick missionaries. Four were the missionaries who sealed the fidelity to their vocation with their blood as martyrs.

Bro. Sebastia Balsells (Fuliola 1885)

                A good pedagogue; he was teaching in Cervera and Xativa. Very competent and very much loved by the students and families. He took refuge with his family at Fuliola during the revolution. He accepted the martyrdom reciting the rosary. He fell down shot on the highway of Bellpuig towards Agramunt at the foot of the hill of Almeanara on 16th August 1936. The assessins wanted to erase the traces of the crime by burning his dead body.

Bro. Antonio Capdevila (Espluga Calba 1894)

                Master of great pedagogical talents in Cervera and of great skill as tailor. Fr. Ferran Carrera wrote about him: “To my way of understanding, Bro. Capdevila was one of the souls in the community entirely belonging to God, not to mention anything else about him.” After leaving Bro. Ramon Garces in the fraternity of Reus, when he was going to his family, he was arrested and killed in Vimbodi on 24th of July 1936.

Bro. Pau Castella

                He requested to be sent to Ferando Poo at his 40s. There he rendered various services with competence until he had to return to Spain affected by sickness.

Bro. Andreu Fellu Bartomeu

                Brother Feliu too destined to Fernando Poo distinguished himself in his great love for perfection bordering to perfectionism. He was a tailor of category. With his precious voice he raised the standard of the cult in various churches.

Bro. Castella & Bro. Feliu

                Both hailing from Selva del Camp, had worked in Guinea Aequatorial; both were residing in the same community when the revolution broke out and both gave their lives in the same place and on the same day: at Riretra de Reus, on 26th of October 1936. Bro. Castella was 74 years old, Bro. Feliu 66.

 

 

FR. JOSE MARIA RUIZ CANO, CMF, MARTYR OF SIGUENZA

                Fr. Ruiz Cano was born at Jerez de los Caballeros (Badajoz) on 3rd of September 1906. He was baptized on 27th September in the parish church St. Bartholomew the Apostle. The name given to him were Jose Maria, Iledfonso, Sandalio, del Reposo. His parents: Jose Ruiz Blanco and Maria del Carmen Cano Velez. There were 5 children: Juan, Carmen, Jose Maria, Ildefonso and Pilar. It was a profoundly religious and pious family.

                The Claretian Missionaries got established first in San Augusine of Jerez de los Caballeros as novitiate house in 1904 and later another house as philosophate was founded in 1911 at the outskirts of the village in the Shrine of Our Lady of Aguas Santas.

                Jose Maria entered the Claretian postulancy (minor seminary of Don Benito, Badajoz) on 2nd September 1920, 4 days before he became 14 years old. After finishing the high school studies he returned to his home town Jerez on 1st of August 1923 to enter into novitiate.

“Totus Tuus”

                There is a very important date for Jose Maria which he noted in his writings: “ 7th June 1914 – 7th June 1924 : what a wonderful days for me. On the same day as I complete 10 years of my first communion I have consecrated myself entirely to you, my Mother – What a happiness to be entirely yours : ‘Totus tuus sum ego’ (I am entirely yours).”

                He made his religious profession on 15th August 1924 and started to attend the 3 years course of philosophy at another house of the Claretians, in Aguas Santas at Jerez. He writes during the third year of philosophy with 20 years in March 1927: “…. If I were to be not worthy for it I would ask you, my good Jesus, for the grace of the bloody martyrdom at the hour of my death with which to seal my bloodless one of my religious life.”

                He studied five years of theology at Zafra(Badajoz). He received the priestly ordination on 29th of June 1932 in Badajoz from the diocesan bishop Jose Maria Alcaraz y Alenda. As a new priest he went to Aranda de Duero (Burgos) for the year of preparation of the priestly and missionary ministry. On 14th January 1933 he writes as he is about to start the apostolic life: “Lord, save Spain, this poor and shattered Spain on account of the faith of these people. What will be its future plight? May your will be done but in this case grant us your grace to drink the bitter chalice of persecution and martyrdom. Make me worthy for it at the hour of its arrival. Fortify the weak and strengthen me the most weak and poor one.”

                He was appointed as the Assistant Formator and that was his first appointment to Siguenza(Guadalajara) on 2nd of June 1933 and from 1934 as formator prefect of the postulancy/Claretian minor seminary established in the so-called palace of the Infants.

Siguenza

                Siguenza had been always a calm city characterized by Catholicism, majesty and good order. But from 18th July onwards Siguenza like entire Spain was in turmoil and agitated.

                The plight of the 60 postulants/small minor seminarians from 12 to 16 years was a cause of worry and concern for the superiors and they had to live through this confusion and anguish all through out.

                The revolutionary men and women (the red militia Communists) brought fire and blood to Siguenza on 25th of July 1936. The bishop and Claretian fathers of the Conciliar Seminary were arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death (A few days later they would suffer martyrdom; the bishop and Fr. Jose Maria Ruiz on the same day).

                As Fr. Jose Maria foresaw things, they happened also. The superiors of the postulancy decided in a haste to disperse the inmates of the college. The militia men and women could arrive at any moment. The fathers and brothers of the community could flee, but what about the 60 minor seminarians ?

                There are testimonies of the then postulants about the happenings which followed then in the Accounts of the Information Process: “It is one o’clock afternoon. After lunch we were playing in the square. The recreation would prolong due to the Fest of St. James. Unexpectedly Fr. Ruiz assembled us in the chapel. He got closer to the Tabernacle. He gave us the shocking and tremendous news. He wanted to animate us. He could not contain the tears.’ One of the most tragic moments of my life has arrived. Nothing is going to happen, but still to prevent what might happen I have to communicate to you with so much pain that the college remains closed for a few days. Don’t cry… nothing happens for the time being.. the superiors have taken this step as a precaution. You will be getting out in groups to the nearby villages since people have offered to give us accommodation. Some of you will go to Plazuelos, others to Guijosa, some others to Cubillas. One Father will be in charge of every group. Obey him in everything like you were doing to myself. We may be able to return this night or tomorrow at the latest.’ He was giving us apt advices: ‘God is in every place. We have to prefer to shed our blood before we pollute our souls by sins. Although nothing happens by now it could be that God has decreed that we might not come to meet us again in this world. That could be the biggest tribulation he could send us. Let us recite 3 Hail Marys to our most Holy Mother so that such a thing might not happen.’ A beautiful image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Child in her arms was presiding over the scene. Fr. Ruiz went on: ‘Oh my Lady, my Mother! Remember that I am all yours; keep me and defend me as your possession.’

                Then he recited an Our Father to our holy Founder and intended to march. But again he fell on his knees giving a strong blow to the stand which made us postulants shake and with the arms in the forms of a cross extended to the Blessed Virgin, he exclaimed with a strong voice: ‘If you want a victim, my mother, here you have one; take me, but don’t permit that anything may happen to these innocent ones who have not done anything evil to anybody.’ The chapel was a sea of tears in those sublime moments. We, sixty postulants were also crying and shedding tears vividly. He stood up and wanting to console us told us then: ‘Don’t take heed on me; I am a small child for these things.’ He told us that those of the Province of Burgos go to the village of Palazuelos with Fr. Jose Gonzalvez. One group stayed in Siguenza in the houses of relatives and friends. The rest set out towards the village of Guijosa.

                It was 2.30 in the afternoon. Those who stayed back in the city and the twelve from Burgos who went to Palazuelos did not come to see him again any more!

Way of Martyrdom

While we, the postulants and Fathers were getting out of the college, Fr. Ruiz, bleeding with wounds in his soul, went to a neighbouring house to dress himself as a countryman. He kissed his cassock, the saintly habit gently. Bro. Victor Hernandez helped him to put on the cloth in American style. Bro. Victor remained in the college. A passionate embrace and departure: ‘Good bye, Father, see you soon! – Until the heaven! He replied, and he disappeared from our sight….

“I remained – says the postulant Serafin Sanchez – in the study hall, at the door of the chapel according to his instruction. He came dressed as a countryman. We came out of the college. I recall that Fr. Ruiz was going very much in good spirits and trusting solely that the Blessed Virgin, his Mother would save the lives of all the postulants and would not permit any harm to happen to anyone. And as we were going out he came closer to us saying: ‘What a pity to see the college dispersed and without a sure direction. People are as if possessed by the demons and are capable of doing any atrocity; but we do pray for them, because this is the mission entrusted to us, namely to save the souls and the more they persecute us the more we should pray for them.’

Here we see with what a missionary spirit our Father Prefect was endowed with. And later he turned to me and said, ‘What Sanchez, you go very agitated!’ To that I responded with a no, and it was indeed yes. ‘would you get shocked if they would tell you to deny God; would you prefer to die than to deny God?’ And I responded to that: ‘To die’.

‘I like that way; be strong and be prepared for the danger of death or martyrdom!’ He embraced me for all the postulants: ‘As I am unable to embrace all the postulants, I give you a general embrace.’ And he continued: ‘There is no need to fear. We have on our side the help of our most Holy Mother who will never fail us. Hence, trusting in her you shouldn’t be afraid, not so?’

I replied, ‘Yes, Father’.

They came to rejoin the group. A slight rest with exchange of impressions. They were approaching Guijosa to enter the village towards the end of the evening. Thirty five postulants, Fr. Ruiz, Fr. Francisco Robles, Frs. Fernando and Eduardo Carillo and the deacon Nuevo were on the way.

 

At Guijosa, 25th afternoon

                They entered Guijosa(a small village with 300 inhabitants. Parish church is dedicated to the Assumption of our Lady and patron of the village is Jesus Christ of the agony. It is 7 kms distant from Siguenza by road. Simple people involved in farming and shepherding). It was getting dark The parish priest Francisco Gros Arroyo, and the whole neighbourhood came to receive them with open arms. All the Fathers and two postulants, one of them Severiano Garcia, were boarded with the parish priest. Others were received into different families.

                They went to the church to make the visit to the most Blessed Sacrament and to do the pious exercises. Fr. Ruiz gave them some advices: Severiano Garcia says: ‘Fr. Ruiz was so attentive in that first night and service-minded towards all; he served at the table, he took care that all of us were accommodated in the best way possible; a chair or a corner in the floor was enough for him to take rest.’

                The day 25 came to a close in this way.

Eve of the Martyrdom. Sunday, 26

                Very early in the morning, before 6.00 Fr. Ruiz and the postulants were already in the church. Five holy masses were celebrated on this Sunday at Guijosa which hardly might have happened before. Fr. Ruiz was seen shedding tears during the entire holy Mass.

                On this day of 26th Fr. Ruiz went to be boarded at another house belonging to Mr. Julian Anton. At 10.00 in the morning the postulants also joined him. The room could hardly contain them. He told them that thirty five were too many for Guijosa; one group could proceed to another nearby village, Cubillas.

                But still a worse danger was remaining for them. Within a few hours another group consisting of senior postulants, fathers and Mr. Nuevo had to separate themselves. People at the flight were arriving continually bringing news of the outrages of the militia red in Siguenza. The fathers seeing the alarming situation, decided to leave the village and proceed to Soria with the senior ones. They intended that Fr. Ruiz accompany them and the smaller ones remain in the village itself. Fr. Ruiz preferred to remain with the smaller ones.

                Those about to leave were eating with haste in the house of Mr. Julian. Fr. Ruiz, situated at the staircase was blessing each one and pressing the hand of everyone strongly as they were taking leave. Julio Izquierdo affirms that he embraced him and told him: “Bye, see you in heaven.”

                There was no time to lose. They were not carrying anything else than a piece of bread in the pocket and the fathers and postulants left for Soria without a fixed route. Fr. Ruiz saw them marching feeling so much pain and bitterness and retired to one of the rooms to pray and to cry.

                That afternoon of 26th July had been a very sad one in Guijosa. After the meals they left towards Cubillas in groups. They were not bringing good news. The red miitia “were enquiring about the Father of the children who had fled from Siguenza” everywhere in those villages, above all in Mojares. As they reached Cubillas they met Fr. Ruiz at the entrance of the church waiting for them to pray the rosary. “We came to hear that Fr. Ruiz had made his confession with the parish priest.”

The Martyrdom - Monday, 27th of July 1936

                “We assembled in the church in the morning of 27th, Monday and Fr. Ruiz celebrated the holy mass without stopping to cry and distributed to us the holy communion. It had been his last holy Mass. Zacarias Anton says: “After the mass I accompanied the Father and told him; ‘You are not in the right place; leave this place; the children will be taken care of.’ I offered myself to accompany him but the Father repeated to me that he was not going to abandon the children and would prefer to die.

                Serafin Sanchez himself who had accompanied the Father on the way of the exit from Siguenza, adds in his declaration in the Informative Process these very significant paragraphs: “This morning he spoke to us about the martyrdom approximately in these terms: that the Holy Father would canonize all those who would die in this revolution especially if they are Religious. I believe to remember that after these sentences he spoke about the advantages the martyrdom would bring; about the fortune to become a martyr considering it a grace of God which has to deserve.”

                While returning from the walk and reaching almost the village, the militia men arrived in jeep filled with those carrying the labels F.A.I and C.N.T with guns leaning on the windows. The Father saw the vehicle. He approached it and spoke to them. Were they the militia people who called him? What did they ask him? What did he respond to them? It is certain that they came to make an inspection. Did they realize that the person speaking with them, surrounded by a few children was precisely “the Father of the children” whom they had been searching for? It seems more than probable for the fact that they returned to Siguenza and hardly one hour passed when one caravan of vehicles appeared loaded with militia men who were up to catch him.

                The postulants went with their respective families. The time of meals was approaching. The time of meals was approaching.

                It was about 11.30 a.m. when this very interesting conversation took place in the house of Mr. Julian. Marcelina Anton kept it for us in his declaration in the Informative Process:

I remember that Fr. Ruiz had been in the house of my father Julian Anton on 27th of July 1936 in the morning. All of us including my father as well as my sister-in-law Amalia Anton and a maid were talking to him. Fr. Ruiz repeated very often that he felt it much that because of him something could happen to the family. We animated and comforted him saying that nothing would happen to him as well as to us. He was going on repeating that the red Militia would come and he would be the first one to be caught. We insisted that he dress himself as a peasant with an old pair of trousers with a hat and a sickle who would belong to the harvesting band of my husband. He always repeated: ‘When they see me they will recognize me immediately.

He repeated that he could not abandon the children because it was such a great responsibility and told: ‘Even if they catch me and kill me I will not leave the children.’ We insisted that nothing would happen to them as they are still small postulants and are taken care of in different families and even if he leave, nothing would happen to them. He always insisted on the same that he could not abandon them. All this conversation took place in the house just half an hour before the father was taken in custody.

Return of the Militia and the arrest of the Father

Mr. Julian witnesses: Around noon as we were having meals we heard the arrival of a caravan of vehicles as Fr. Ruiz was still in my house. Fr. Ruiz went to the parish house. The parish priest told me later that they gave mutually the absolution.

                Angel Oceja, one of the postulants who lived these moments very close says in his Account: “A little before starting the meals seven vehicles of F.A.I filled with Militia men and women armed with pistols, guns and others with shooting rifles. Getting down they asked for the house of the parish priest and they were led up to the entrance. I hurried to the Father Prefect and informed him who was upstairs in the house of the parish priest that the Communists are at the entrance and after saying this I came back passing through the house in front….”

                Julian Hernandez lived these moments along with Father Ruiz: “I went for meals to the parish house when Father said: ‘Juanillo, come’. And coming down the steps in silence and while leaving he said:’Is it OK – he is a child.’ The red answered: ‘It’s alright.’ They were pointing at the house with their guns towards all the directions. Behind Fr. Ruiz and myself the parish priest and his brother were coming. We both raised our arms high and one from Siguenza told pointing at us: - That’s the Father. And the Father said: “Our Lady of Carmen, save Spain; I die content.”

                They caught him and registered him taking out the money he had.

Zacharias Anton declares:

When he was arrested, he put his arms in cross form and thus he remained until he was forced to let them down. In the meanwhile as they were forcing him to shout ‘Long live Communism’, Father was shouting: “Long live Christ the King” and while insisting him to shout, ‘Long live Russia’, Father gave Long Lives to Virgin. (They left the parish priest free – says Fermin Anton – since one known person was coming with the Red Militia to whom my father, my brother and myself rushed to intercede for the parish priest… After attaining permission for him to go we did the same for Fr. Ruiz and they told us they would do whatever possible to save him but it would be difficult to do as two very evil Militia women were with them).

They led him to the vehicle and for greater mockery they placed him between these two women. This was really a bitter and painful martyrdom for Fr. Ruiz than his own death.

                Other postulants were arriving – poor lads!

They had kept Fr. Ruiz in the vehicle for one hour approximately. The harangue was not lacking to the poor postulants who were going to remain forsaken without their Father Prefect.

“Father was deeply recollected when the Militia man was going on with his oration. Our Father did not stop to look at us… Being in the vehicle and we all assembled around him, he told us first and foremost: “Don’t have fear, nothing will happen. I die happy.

In these circumstances one of those militia people who had come to desecrate the church was bringing an image of the Child Jesus of regular size in such an ugly way. With so much disdain and horror he threw it to Fr. Ruiz who was already inside the vehicle. “Take it so that you can die dancing with it.”

Father received it like a visit from the Heavens and pressed it lovingly to his heart. But the Militia man seeing that it was serving him as consolation, snatched it away from him rudely and threw it on the floor. When all this happened, almost all of us postulants were present there.

Departure and Martyrdom

                One hour had passed. The Father continued his martyrdom between those two militia women…

The vehicle in which Fr. Ruiz was seated and was carrying the Communist flag was in the last row and started to take over other vehicles to come to the front of the caravan. As it started to move, he took leave of us saying: “Good bye, my sons” and he blessed us. We all answered him saying: “Good bye.”

                The Militia men told us there was no more God, and now we had to shout, “Health, companion.”

                They drove around four kilometers when the caravan came to a halt between Guijosa and Siguenza and at the border of Siguenza at the junction on the highway to mount Otero. A commanding voice ordered Fr. Ruiz to get down. Fr. Ruiz understood the order. He pardoned his enemies and as a pilgrim towards Heaven started the ascent to Otero.

                He must have marched twelve steps when the click of the gun sounded. The body of Fr. Jose Maria Ruiz fell down collapsing. It was 1.00 p.m. of 27th July 1936.

                One of the Militia men commented later: “How that Father who was with these boys still was uttering words of pardon for us who were going to kill him.”

                Another Militia men, witness of death, declares in the Process:

On 27th, towards noon we set out to Guijosa a caravan of five or six vehicles. I did not see the Father during his imprisonment, but only when he was already in the vehicle with the commanders at the head of the caravan towards Siguenza.

I suppose that they killed the Father for being a religious as they did with many others. In fact, there was no other motivation for it. The caravan departed towards Siguenza; they were taking the father in the first one. I know that various Militia men were going in the vehicles. I was going in the last vehicle. I don’t know more details about him as he was in prison since they sent me to look for the postulants who were in the village to take them; but I did in such a way that they remained in the houses where they were boarded.

When the first vehicles reached in front of mount Otero, those inside got down and when the vehicle in which I was travelling reached, I saw the father with his arms in the form of a cross and he was heading towards the hill. Then a group of some 14 Militia men and few Militia women shot at him and the father fell down with the mouth towards the ground with the arms in the form of a cross. I neared him to see and saw that his entire brain was smashed and torn into pieces. I was at the point of being shot since I approached him to see. As I was travelling in the last vehicle and father was going towards the mount I didn’t hear the words the father was speaking.

                The postulants remained alone in the middle of the square. Within a few minutes the shooting was heard which made their blood frozen in their veins. Nobody wanted to dare to say what suspected. A little later they would come out of their doubts.

                The parish priest tried to console them telling them he would bring them to Guadalajara. The Militia told that they would return in the afternoon to get them.

                One of the postulants comments regarding the tragic end of the Prefect: Our hearts seem to break of pain at seeing ourselves alone.

                The secretary of the village office called them to make the record of each one. When they were at the office around 4.00 p.m. the communists returned. The sight of them caused real panic and even tears in some postulants.

                Jose Perez dared to ask them about Fr. Ruiz: “We haven’t done anything to them,” they responded. They told us that they would take us to Siguenza. From the office we proceeded to the parish house so that the parish priest would give us absolution. They made us get into the lorry and we left for Siguenza.

Severiano Garicia: “As we were going in the lorry, at reaching Otero, one said, “Look there a man sleeping.” Another one said in a low voice; “That’s our Father Prefect.” Father found himself with the face down to earth and the arms in cross form…. The very Militia men took notice that we had recognized him.

                They reached Siguenza. At the city office they decided to take them for the moment to the College of the Infants. They remained under the custody of Fr. Superior.

                When they reached they informed Fr. Superior that they had seen the dead body of Fr. Ruiz at Otero. He informed the Town Council immediately so that they go to pick him up.

                On 28th morning the grave digger Fausto Ortega witnesses:

We saw after reaching there that Fr. Ruiz had his brain smashed. We took him to the cemetery and buried him in the section no. 56. When I went to pick up the dead body I counted till 19 bullets of gun shooting which according to me corresponded to the shooting at the father.

                When we, a group of postulants for whom he offered his life got back little later once the city was liberated by the Nationals, the first thing we did was to visit the place of his martyrdom. We took the soil drenched with his blood. We prayed and cried.

                Many years have passed. His remembrance is fixed for ever in our hearts. We wait anxiously for his imminent glorification together with the Claretian Martyrs of Fernancaballero.

 

15 CLARETIAN MARTYRS OF   FERNANCABALLERO

 

In Search of Refuge

                The Claretian Missionaries were doing apostolate in Ciudad Real from 1895 onwards. Due to religious persecution this tranquil community of missionaries, Sons of the Heart of Mary saw itself converted into the theologate of the Province of Betica in addition to being a mission house in May 1936. Also a magnificent retreat house was associated with it. The superiors thought that the students of theology of the province who were expelled brutally from their house in Zafra(Badajoz) and persecuted towards death and their house being attacked in the tragic days of the end of April and first of May 1936 could take refuge in it.

                Within a few days after the dispersion, called by the superiors the students, some professors and various coadjutor brothers started to arrive in Ciudad Real. The strength of the community increased to 47: 9 Fathers, 30 students and 8 coadjutor brothers. (We refer in these short pages particularly to the 14 students who would be martyred at Fernancaballero and Brother Felipe Gonzalez who was killed two months later than the students).

                They were reaching their destination without the least resistance to the order filled with sacrifice and immolation in front of the danger which supposed it.

                Angel Perez was with his family in his village Montanchez (Caceres). When was taking leave he told them openly: “We are going towards death.” In spite of their pleading and requests of the relatives and friends to remain, he left in good spirits and with all tranquility to Ciudad Real.

                Otilio del Amo wrote to his priest brother Eustasio: “We are walking around like foreigners in our own land. We are hated everywhere; we cannot halt in any place; I am on the way to Ciudad Real at this moment; from there perhaps to martyrdom. May God be served.”

Atmosphere of Martyrdom

Fr. Maximo Peinador says: In the capacity as prefect of studies I instructed that the classes be taken up on 10th May 1936 with all the students assembled in Ciudad Real. Towards the 10th of June there were the prescribed examinations. The retreat house was lacking in everything. They never got out of the house in those ca. three months they were staying there. The atmosphere they were breathing in was that of the martyrdom.

Fr. Jose Maria Marquez says:

The martyrs, conscious of the danger were in the retreat house from 10th May until 28th July, the day of their martyrdom. I had been also among them. During this time, from May until the martyrdom all those who formed the community, particularly the martyrs lived in intimacy the religious moment through which Spain was going through and we were living a life of fervor and practice of all virtues, submitting ourselves to the will of God and decided to face death if that was the divine will. In such different and diverse circumstances we were calm and dedicated to the cultivation of priestly and missionary ideals. It was the spiritual climate which we lived when we were badly surprised by attack on our house.

                They attended the retreat before 13th July. During that anxious time of expectation two of the Servants of God make their perpetual profession: Antonio Orrego on 29th June and Angel Perez, who had told, ‘we are going towards death’ on 16th of July, 12 days before his martyrdom. All were conscious of the significance of such an act at that time.

                On account of the beatification of Fr. Claret, Vicente Robles had written two invocations, one to Blessed Claret and another to Christ the King to which the music was composed by the companion of the course Joaquin Alonso. The first one, to Blessed Claret says: “Oh divine mould of a missionary in the heart of Mary, modeled with the fire of the Eucharist with paternal care, model my soul according to your ideal.” The second to Christ the King: “Oh Jesus, sweet King of the Nations, hasten your Kingdom, inflame the hearts in your zeal and hasten to our desires to give the entire world to your possession.”

How many times have they sung these invocations during those last two years! The same as during the entire path, the ‘Song of the Missionary’, the martyrial hymn, the same hymn which would be sung a few days later by the missionaries, brothers of Barbastro on their way to martyrdom. The firt and last of its verses end thus: “And which ideal? For you, my Kind, to offer my blood… And which ideal? For you, my Queen, to offer my blood.”

                On 21st, the bishop Monsignor Estenga remained already as a prisoner in his palace together with the stewart Don Julio under the vigilance constantly by the Militia men. (Both will be killed towards the middle of August).

                On 22nd the governor gave orders to hand over arms to the Militia men. From that moment onwards the city could not be governed.

Prisoners in their own house

24 July 1936 : It was the beginning of the anguish and anxiety which was going to torture the heart of the community for the next six last days of the month of July – detained in their own houses under the power of the red Militia.

A few paragraphs are taken from the most interesting narrations of Fr. Eustanislao Sanmartin, the Superior. He succeeded to save his life in the second expedition of 3oth and then passed from Madrid to Rome. There he published a large and detailed description of the happenings in Annales of the Congregation signed on 11th September 1936.

Hardly we finished taking our meals on 24th when the brother receptionist announced to me that around 15 armed men had entered the house asking if we have received orders to leave it. I stood up from the table telling them I had to receive that order with the official letter head and seal of the governing officer. Thus I managed to keep them outside the building. I informed the community about what happened. The popular Militia, heavily armed, filled the house. We understood that without special providence the hours of our life are rather very short.

We distributed ourselves two in two in the rooms of our retreat hose. The days of prison lasted 4 days for the 14 propitiatory victims who were sacrificed on 28th and 6 for the rest. To describe what we went through during those days is something impossible. As you will understand, the spirits could not have been remaining more anxious or more sad than this.

In spite of all this what a great consolation I was experiencing in my heart whenever I was allowed to communicated with the community which was always very vigilant. I noticed in all very elevated sentiments finding themselves ready to suffer when the Lord wants it even the martyrdom which they would offer for the Congregation and for the salvation of Spain.

The interest of our executioners to ignore us was noteworthy.

Fr. Maximo Peinador explains further the declarations of Fr. Sanmartin:

The Militia decreed the immediate death either in the courtyard or outside the house. Later they gave countermands. We were for two hours in this anguish between life and death. They proceeded to our registration and search among insults and scoffing. They took away from us the shaving razors and knives and domestic utensils putting them into a few bags. We were unable to get out of the cell – says Fr. Lucio Riol – not even lean our heads at the door due to the threat of being shot at. We had to shout from inside for drinking water. We were guarded by militia armed with guns even to go to the toilets. We came down to the dining room also guarded by the militia men; we were without knives as they removed them from us and the arms were to be upon the tables while eating.

The first day of the prison, 24th was relatively quiet since the commander of the band of the militia, with name Camison seemed to be an understanding man. Next day, on the Feast of St. James, this Camison permitted our Fr. Superior to celebrate the holy Mass and the whole community could receive holy communion although watched by armed guard.

A Holy Mass between guns and tears

It is not easy to describe this incredible scene. This holy Mass was celebrated precisely on 25th July, on the Feast of St. James, the Patron of Spain. The whole community was present in front of the altar of sacrifice. Over the tabernacle in the middle of the altar piece there was the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, and at the side the image of our Blessed Father Founder Claret. Fr. Superior was the celebrant. What an impossible thing to celebrate the Solemnity of the day! Such a holy Mass was hardly seen. The whole community was already condemned to death although they only suspected it. It could be and in fact for many it was their last holy Mass and their last holy Communion. And surrounding this community on their knees, there was a group of militia men with guns in their arms attentive to the least movement, least gesture of the victims. Even at the altar at the side of the celebrant there were militia men with the guns ready for shooting. The celebrant started: “I will approach the Altar of God; the God who rejoices in my youth.”

Bro. Gregorio Barriuso tells that such an experience cannot be expressed with words. In his words: “I had been the sacristian and I prepared everything and assisted. There at the altar there many militia men with the guns. The moment of holy Communion arrived. While all were approaching the altar, one priest remained there where he was kneeling with the head in his hands sobbing loudly and crying with tears. He could not receive the holy Communion.

                Cardinal Tabera recollects in his declaration in the Process: “I have heard among many details one thing which shows the climate and conscience of martyrdom in which the detained were finding themselves; one day in which it was permitted for the superior to celebrate and others to receive communion one of the professors who was assassinated later in unknown circumstances, Fr. Francisco Garcia, remembering that he drank water after 12.00 felt scruples to receive holy communion and consulted the Canon Law professor who was later superior in ‘Juridicum’, Rome – Nicolas Gil - who responded affirmatively indicating that in the given circumstances in which they were he could be considered dispensed from the Eucharistic fasting and could consider the holy Communion as Viaticum. The superior’s way of thinking regarding this matter was rather negative and therefore this father abstained from receiving communion, indeed not without tears.

Many other witnesses refer to this incident. It would have been at any case his last Communion. He was shot in Ciudad Real on 12th September 1936. It was the last holy Mass and Communion of their lives for the martyrs. Some of them also shed tears silently during the time of thanksgiving.

The Whole Community Condemned to Death

                The situation was worsening on the following days .Camison, the commander was no more in the scene. The situation became intolerable. With impatience they were waiting for safe-conducts to get out of that hell. Now the mine people of Puertollano were in control of them. They wanted to finish with them.

                “They brought evil women and we saw them with their hats and ornaments walking and leaning provocatively towards our rooms.”

                There are various witnesses present who narrate what happened to the Colombian martyr Jesus Anibal:

-          What are they going to do with the foreigners ?

-          Are you a foreigner? The militia men enquired.

-          Yes, I am a Colombian.

-          And you have come from so far? Why did you become a friar ?

-          Because I wanted and with much dignity, he replied raising his voice.

The militia man filled with rage gave a few hits to Anibal with the butt of the gun.

Let us listen once again to Fr. Jose Maria Marquez:

All of us were prepared for the death which we saw very near. Nobody put the minor resistance and we were disposed to suffer the martyrdom if it was the will of God. They suffered the vexations and the privations with a spirit of resignation and meekness and pardoning the persecutors.

I can tell about Angel Lopez, the companion of my room that he was advising me to pray for the persecutors, for Spain, that we might forgive our enemies, animating myself.

                At last on 28th, Tuesday the save-conducts arrived for all the longing and sighing. The witness of Fr. Maximo Peinador is again worth mentioning:

On 26th afternoon my father Eutiquiano Peinador arrived with the purpose of getting me out of Ciudad Real. Fr. Superior served as agent the save-conducts solicited and thus obtained on 28th July noon ….

Meanwhile those of the Civil Administration came to know about the hatching of the plan of the death of the entire community outside Ciudad Real, as it was manifested to me later. After the arrival at our house where we were detained, my father wanted to speak with Fr. Superior to prevent what was being hatched on but the militia men did not allow him.

The Save-Conducts of the Death

The Save-conducts arrived. Save-conducts or countersigns for the death ?

The governing officer had told the secretary that he might not write the save-conducts of the missionaries of the Heart of Mary that they were religious. In fact, only the name of each one figures in the register with the signature and seal of the governor. The same text is for all.

                But together with the seal of the governor there are other 6 seals of the parties and associations of militia stamped at the same time in the same office. The famous ‘Save-conducts of the seven seals’, or ‘the save-conducts of death.’

                The first expedition started to get organized. 15 would be on the list: Fr. Maximo Peinador and fourteen students. It would take only little time to take their poor suitcases which did not contain even the most indispensable. In their pockets there were 25 pesetas as their entire wealth which Fr. Econome had given to each one of them.

                The fourteen names of the selected which were read in a loud voice by a militia man were the following:

Tomas Cordero Cordero

Jesus Anibal Gomez Gomez

Primitivo Berracoso Maillo

Vicente Robles Gomez

Gabriel Barriopedro Tejedor

Claudio Lopez Martinez

Angel Lopez Martinez

Antonio Lasa Vidaurreta

Malecio Pardo Llorente

Antonio Orrego Fuentes

Otilio del Amo Palomino

Candido Catalan Lasala

Angel Perez Murillo

Abelardo Garcia Palacios

                They took leave from those remaining: embraces, that you may have a safe journey.. looks of envy towards those companions who were leaving that hell. See you again ( the second expedition ought to have left the following day, although it left in fact on 30th).

                They were always guarded by the militia – both who were going and those remaining. Abelardo Garcia with the save-conduct in the hand took leave from Fr. Jose L. Paluzie the companion of room during the imprisonment who made him lovingly aware that it should not be believed that the danger had disappeared.

Abelardo responded to him happy and assured: “Well and what can happen to me in the last instance? Kill us? Oh what a blessed thing if one would read in the ‘Annales’ : they have been shot on account of God and the Congregation the student Abelardo Garicia …. Etc. and were rejoicing with exultation ( This time his longings were fulfilled two hours later and in the ‘Annales’ of the Congregation his glorious name already appeared: Abelardo Garicia Palacios, Martyr of Christ).

March towards Martyrdom

                Fr. Maximo Peinador and his father Eutiquiano left for the railway station of Ciudad Real at 3.30 in the afternoon by a taxi. A little time later 14 students guarded by the militia men arrived.

At the arrival a big uproar and shouts were raised: “To Kill them.” At 4.15 a train loaded with militia men and soldiers called up to present themselves from Madrid. A tempest of slanders and insults broke out in the platforms of the railway station, above all at the time of getting in.

They are friars – don’t allow them to get in … Kill them.” They would have been almost killed there itself.

                Jose Herrera Rodero and her brother Julia, children of the station master of Fernancaballero who were returning to their house were able to cross thanks to a person called Collado, good even though red-communist who knew them. In their words: “He told us that some friars were about to get into the train to be shot on the bridge of Guadiana river. We saw a group getting into the train among militia men and we heard them say: ‘they are those…   They passed through Guadiana river and nothing happened to them.’ When the train reached the first station they did not wait any more: they would finish off with the fourteen young men.

The Martyrdom at Fernancaballero

                The train had a halt at 5.00 p.m. at the station of Fernancaballero. This station is two and a half kilometers away from the village. (Fernancaballero, also written Fernan Caballero, province and diocesis of Ciudad Real is 20 kms distant from the Capital. Its population consisted of ca. 2000 inhabitants. The famous writer Cecilia Boehl de Faber took her pseudonym from the name of this village).

                One of the employees, Ricardo Munoz Lopez, came out of his house in those moments and relates what he heard and saw:

They were killed on 28th July 1936 at the station of Fernancaballero by the red militia as the express train Badajoz – Madrid reached the station. On that day I was the traffic clerk. My house was near the station on the same side. While I was leaving to the door the express was passing. At the place where the train used to stop, a screaming started to heard – women giving shouts of terror and others giving signs of uproar to kill them. Ca. 30 meters from the station and 20 or 30 meters from the last carriage of the train, after passing from the second to third track, many shots were heard and lot of shoutings from the passengers of the train, some of horror, some of rejoicing because of their killing. As the train came to a halt I went to the station to ask what had happened. I met the station master and his family as well as my companion Ricardo Ferreros Dorado completely traumatized and terrorized.

                I saw two militia men who remained there, ruffled, giving signs of contentment for what they had accomplished and had gone to the village to tell what had happened and to announce whether ‘fresh meat’ is needed, as they used to tell.

                The passengers in the train station commented that some had died with the arms held in the form of cross and giving a cry: “Long Live Christ the King and the Blessed Virgin.

                Maximiliano Leon Molina was travelling in the same train and heard clearly the Long Lives to Christ the King. In his words: They ordered the friars to get down, that they had reached their place. A few got down voluntarily saying, “May happen whatever God wishes, we will die for Christ and for Spain.” Others were resisting, but with the butts of the guns they forced them to get down. The militia men placed themselves at the train and the friars in front of them facing them. Some of the friars extended their arms shouting, ‘Long Live Christ the King and Long Live Spain!’ Others covered their faces. Some others lowered their heads. One who was very short of stature (Angel Perez without doubt) was the one to give lead to others.

They started to shoot and all the friars fell down to the ground. After the shooting some got up, some standing, others on their knees, some others not able to stand on their knees, half sitting up… Even while sitting up some shouted with outstretched hands: “Long Live Christ the King!

The militia started again to shoot at them and they all fell down to the earth. Two of the friars fell for a second time, and it was audible what he was saying: ‘Long Live Christ the King!’ It was hardly possible to hear from the other one dying what he was saying. They came again to shoot at them until they collapsed.

Some of those travelling by train said: ‘They have done well; thus should be done with all the priests and friars so that no one should survive.’

The general conviction was the only motivation to kill them was for being friars. The militia men said while killing them: ‘You are shouting Long Live Christ the King! You should be shouting instead, ‘Long Live Communism’.

One miitia woman took away the gun from a militia man who did not want to shoot at and she shot at calling the militia man a coward.

                There are among various witnesses one exception who doesn’t form part in the Informative Process. It deals with a Portuguese journalist who was returning from Ciudad Real to Madrid in the same carriage along with the Claretian students. He was an eye witness. After a few days he managed to get away from Madrid and from Hendaya he sent a very impressive article to his newspaper ‘Diario de Lisboa’:

I didn’t know what really happened at Fernancaballero, I think the place where the horrible tragedy took place is called thus. A bloody cloud spreads into my brain when I want to refer to this episode.

The recently arrived and the militia men of the escort started to discuss and the discussion had a transcendental character. 14 lives were in danger. A woman dressed as a militia woman, the monstruous witch of this macabre scene, was kissing in a climax of sadism one of the militia men shouting, ‘we should kill them.’

I am not able to describe exactly those terrible moments of this scene. I recall that Luis Seca, my companion of journey, was fixing his eyes expanded by this horrible vision looked fixedly at the horrifying militia woman who had been distributing kisses asking for deaths. The friars were pushed to the platform.

And there itself, in front of all, railway employees and passengers sounded shootings, sighs, shouts of joy, dilacerating cries of suffering. Five minutes, thirty seconds, I don’t know…

An imposing, heavy and shocking silence succeeded the noise of before. A heap of corpses was lying on the ground. The train departed off, but my eyes got fixed there during much time.

One remained with life

Among the heap of those 13 corpses of the companions, Candido Catalan remained with life, although gravely injured. It is easy to imagine his state of mind. He remained there bleeding a quarter of an hour.

                Pascal Crespo Campesino says:

The city mayor called me per telephone to communicate to me that there had been a bloody casuality in the railway station. I rushed to the administrative office. Police forces came from Ciudad Real. We proceeded to Fernancaballero, the place of the event on various vehicles.

At reaching there we were told that one who was shot at was still alive as he tried to stand up. He was brought to the station and was attended there. He was given water and got bandaged. He had various wounds. He was presenting a surprising aspect of resignation without bringing forth any complaints. Don Rafael Martin Montero, the forensic doctor also arrived.

He had tremendous wounds and blows, he says; we extended to him the possible helps. He had one of the lungs pierced through the shots. We took care of him applying salt solution. With such yearning the poor fellow was pleading for water.

                Carmen Herrera Rodero, daughter of the station master was relating to me(Fr.Federico Gutierrez, CMF) one more time in her house at Fernancaballero in the first week of 1999 her emotion and tears in those moments of the afternoon of 28th July 1936:

Once the train passed I saw a group of Religious lying on the ground. One of them was trying to rise up catching on to the carriage of the train which was halting at the station. Seeing that he had lot of thirst I approached him with a pitcher to give him water but a few meters before I returned with fear thinking that any militia men present at the scene would shoot at me. After a few hours the doctors arrived and took the wounded to the station.

Myself and the wife of the clerk, Maximiliana Santos helped the doctors to treat the patient. I placed hot water to wash him the wounds and the clerk’s wife facilitated a pillow to make bandages. In the station I offered him to drink. The doctors who assisted him were from Fernancaballero.

                The authorities ordered that Candido Catalan be transferred to the hospital of Ciudad Real with all urgency. However, at the middle of the journey near the river Guadiana he expired. It was around 11.00 in the night. The two photographs they made of him show the impressive serenity of his face even after the death. The autopsy was done by Don Domingo Garcia. His body was taken to the martyrs companions in the pantheon of the missionaries at the cemetery of Ciudad Real.

                When Candido Catalan was dying before reaching the hospital, the corpses of 13 companions were remaining at the place of the martyrdom. Few canvas clothes were extended over the bodies as protection. At 6.00 in the morning on the next day, 29th of July 1936 the official removal of the bodies took place. They were shifted in two carts of mules to the cemetery of Fernancaballero, where the autopsy was done. It is shuddering to read the report – the bodies were riddled with bullet holes.

                They were transferred a few years later to the pantheon of the Missionaries to the cemetery of Ciudad Real. Soon they will be hopefully resting at the Sanctuary of the Heart of Mary in Madrid.

The Martyrdom of Brother Felipe Gonzalez

Brother Felipe Gonzalez too was martyred at Fernancaballero and therefore his martyrdom goes united with other 14 students of the Congregation in the Process. But he was not shot dead at the station like the students of 28th July, but at the cemetery entrance on 2nd of October of the same year 1936.

He had reached Ciudad Real together with the students and professors in the first week of May fleeing from the persecution at Zafra. He was experiencing the same atmosphere of martyrdom and imprisonment in the house from 24th onwards.

On 30th July he set out in the second expedition and the community remained completely in disarray. Those who did not leave for Madrid remained in the city in lodges or in the house of some friends. Brother Felipe remained in Ciudad Real taking refuge at the house of his brother Salvador married with Leandra Velasco.

On the same day he took refuge at the house of his brother Salvador, the checking of the seminary was taken up, but after going through his documentation he was declared free. He returned to his brother’s house.

On 30th September he was taken again for the check up of the seminary and there he remained until 2nd of October 1936. On that day he was taken out and was forced to get into a vehicle which the killers Emilio Ocana, Agustin Vacas, Gregorio Lozano with the militia woman Eugenia Burgos Gavilan, 26 years were occupying.

The vehicle took the direction of Fernancaballero. During the journey another militia woman joined. They were scoffing and insulting him without any mercy. They were threatening him with a knofe and pricking him adding: “Thus we are going to finish with you. One should not waste gun powder for these dogs!”

They reached at the check point of the village. The parish priest Don Pablo Martin Romo y Naranjo narrates what he saw:

I had been the parish administrator of Fernancaballero, but I had to dress myself as a country man. My father was national teacher and I was at my father’s school; a villa of Don Juan Herrera malaguilla, general was serving as the school.

A vehicle arrived with three flags of C.N.T., one at the centre and two on the sides. At the entrance of the chalet was the check point of the red vehicles. At that moment one illiterate militia man was doing the service with the nick name ‘Carota’… As the vehicle reached and he was illiterate, he told me that I should ask for the documentation of the vehicle. Asking the driver for the papers he told me that he was not carrying any papers, but was carrying a friar to kill. In those moments out of curiosity I took a look at the inside of the vehicle and I saw the following scene: a man with emaciated aspect… between two militia women who were pricking the thigh of the victim with a knife and his trousers drenched in blood which was oozing from the wounds. He was going with the aspect of resignation with the look towards Heaven with folded hands.

The driver asked the ‘Carota’ for the direction towards the cemetery and he indicated it to him. After a few minutes shots were heard and I commended his soul to God our Lord. Later we came to know that he was a Religious of the Heart of Mary. Together with the killers, Joaquin Munoz Monroy was also going who was in charge of the farm of fighting bulls and he had asked them whether they could take him too.

Inside the vehicle, he (Monroy) says, a man emaciated, lean and of little flesh, rather high in stature with spectacles was seated. They were going towards the cemetery and at the entrance they stopped the vehicle and we all got down. While getting down this emaciated man whom I mentioned before shouted: Long Live Christ the King and the Heart of Mary!

I went to Fernancaballero and after a few steps I heard the shooting and without turning to see I left running…. When I told what happened I was told that it was dealing with a Religious of the Heart of Mary. I took notice that the brother was going very serene in the vehicle and he made the shouting of ‘Long Live Christ the King’ and ‘Heart of Mary’ with much energy.

                Other witnesses coincide with the same way of relating the incident adding some other new details.

Martin Crespo witnesses: “ I was in a tavern of Fernancaballero in company with others. A vehicles arrived and two men and a woman got down(the vehicle belonged to the assassins). The one who got down and the militia woman were heard saying: “One is less already.’ The militia woman says that she put her leg on the neck and gave a shot of mercy saying: “This one has courage to shout that, then take it, let’s see how it goes with you with your Heaven.”

                Isabel Gomez was in his garden near the cemetery. On reaching there he saw that one got up to the higher step of the entrance, made the sign of the cross and shouted; “Long Live Christ the King and the Heart of Mary!” They shot at him and then left. The dead body was lying there where he was killed and on the following day, 28th of July, he was buried in the same cemetery, exactly at the side of the 13 of his brothers. The garden where Isabel was is adjacent to the cemetery and the entrance was that of the old cemetery which is the one very near to the garden.

                Brother Felipe Gonzalez was not given for autopsy. The grave diggers told that he had died without any fear shouting: “Long Live Christ the King and the Heart of Mary.” They brought two bags of lime and threw one at the part of the stomach and other at the face. Brother was 47 years of age.

                It can be assured to the militia woman Eugenia Burgos: “And indeed it goes very well with the Brother Felope Gonzalez in the Heaven.”

                We hope to venerate him soon at the altar.