Anacleto González Flores
Andrés Solá y Molist
Darío Acosta Zurita
of the Heart of Jesus Nicol Goñi
Charles de Foucauld
Clemens August Von Galen
Jorge and Ramón Vargas González
José Dionisio Luis Padilla Gómez
José Luciano Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez
José Sánchez del Rio
José Trinidad Rangel Montaño
Leonardo Pérez Larios
Luis Magaña Servin
Maria Crocifissa Curcio
Maria Pia Mastena
Mary of the Angels Ginard Martí
Miguel Gómez Loza
Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez
14 May 2005
Bl. Marianne Cope
Virgin, Professed Sister of St Francis, missionary to leprosy
Barbara Koob (now officially "Cope") was born on 23 January
1838 in SE Hessen, West Germany. She was one of 10 children born to
Peter Koob, a farmer, and Barbara Witzenbacher Koob. The year after
Barbara's birth, the family moved to the United States.
The Koob family found a home in Utica, in the State of New York, where
they became members of St Joseph's Parish and where the children
attended the parish school.
Sisters of St Francis
Although Barbara felt called to Religious life at an early age, her
vocation was delayed for nine years because of family obligations. As
the oldest child at home, she went to work in a factory after completing
eighth grade in order to support her family when her father became ill.
Finally, in the summer of 1862 at age 24, Barbara entered the Sisters
of St Francis in Syracuse, N.Y. On 19 November 1862 she received the
religious habit and the name "Sr Marianne", and the following year she
made her religious profession and began serving as a teacher and
principal in several elementary schools in New York State.
She joined the Order in Syracuse with the intention of teaching, but
her life soon became a series of administrative appointments.
God had other plans
As a member of the governing boards of her Religious Community in the
1860s, she participated in the establishment of two of the first
hospitals in the central New York area.
In 1870, she began a new ministry as a nurse-administrator at St
Joseph's in Syracuse, N.Y., where she served as head administrator for
six years. During this time she put her gifts of intelligence and people
skills to good use as a facilitator, demonstrating the energy of a woman
motivated by God alone.
Although Mother Marianne was often criticized for accepting for
treatment "outcast" patients such as alcoholics, she became well-known
and loved in the central New York area for her kindness, wisdom and
In 1883, Mother Marianne, now the Provincial Mother in Syracuse,
received a letter from a Catholic priest asking for help in managing
hospitals and schools in the Hawaiian Islands, and mainly to work with
leprosy patients. The letter touched Mother Marianne's heart and she
enthusiastically responded: "I am hungry for the work and I wish with
all my heart to be one of the chosen ones, whose privilege it will be to
sacrifice themselves for the salvation of the souls of the poor
Islanders.... I am not afraid of any disease, hence, it would be my
greatest delight even to minister to the abandoned 'lepers'".
A mother to the lepers
She and six other Sisters of St Francis arrived in Honolulu in
November 1883. With Mother Marianne as supervisor, their main task was
to manage the Kaka'ako Branch Hospital on Oahu, which served as a
receiving station for patients with Hansen's disease gathered from all
over the islands.
The Sisters quickly set to work cleaning the hospital and tending to
its 200 patients. By 1885, they had made major improvements to the
living conditions and treatment of the patients.
In November of that year, they also founded the Kapi'olani Home
inside the hospital compound, established to care for the healthy
daughters of Hansen's disease patients at Kaka'ako and Kalawao. The
unusual decision to open a home for healthy children on leprosy hospital
premises was made because only the Sisters would care for those so
closely related to people with the dreaded disease.
Bl. Damien and Mother Marianne
Mother Marianne met Fr Damien de Veuster (today Blessed Damien is
known as the "Apostle to Lepers") for the first time in January 1884,
when he was in apparent good health. Two years later, in 1886, after he
had been diagnosed with Hansen's disease, Mother Marianne alone gave
hospitality to the outcast priest upon hearing that his illness made him
an unwelcome visitor to Church and Government leaders in Honolulu.
In 1887, when a new Government took charge in Hawaii, its officials
decided to close the Oahu Hospital and receiving station and to
reinforce the former alienation policy. The unanswered question: Who
would care for the sick, who once again would be sent to a settlement
for exiles on the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai?
In 1888, Mother Marianne again responded to the plea for help and
said: "We will cheerfully accept the work She arrived in Kalaupapa
several months before Fr Damien's death together with Sr Leopoldina
Burns and Sr Vincentia McCormick, and was able to console the ailing
priest by assuring him that she would provide care for the patients at
the Boys' Home at Kalawao that he had founded.
Optimism, serenity, trust in God
Together the three Sisters ran the Bishop Home for 103 Girls and the
Home for Boys. The workload was extreme and the burden at times seemed
overwhelming. In moments of despair, Sr Leopoldina reflected: "How long,
0 Lord, must I see only those who are sick and covered with leprosy?".
Mother Marianne's invaluable example of never-failing optimism,
serenity and trust in God inspired hope in those around her and allayed
the Sisters' fear of catching leprosy. She taught her Sisters that their
primary duty was "to make life as pleasant and as comfortable as
possible for those of our fellow creatures whom God has chosen to
afflict with this terrible disease...".
Mother Marianne never returned to Syracuse. She died in Hawaii on 9
August 1918 of natural causes and was buried on the grounds of Bishop
of the Heart of Jesus Nicol Goñi
Virgin, Co-Foundress of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the
was born on 14 March 1868 in Tafalla, Navarra, Spain, the
youngest of four children. As a child, she had many duties, including
helping her family with the household chores.
When she was 14, Ascensión
went to St Rose of Lima boarding school in the city of Huesca.
Contact with the Dominican Religious there made her consider her own
vocation, and she gradually came to understand that God was leading her
to the Religious life.
Called to be a Dominican
At the end of her schooling Ascensión
made the decision to become a Dominican; however, she first
returned home, where she remained for a year in order to make sure that
her decision was the right one.
In 1885 Ascension returned to the school, this time to enter the
novitiate there. A year later, she made her first vows and began to work
as a teacher.
Although she taught for 28 years, her deep desire was to serve the
poorest, even those living in far-away lands. Some other Sisters felt
the same way.
When the Government stripped the Religious Community of Huesca of its
school, the Sisters lost the larger part of their work and apostolate.
They immediately wrote to America and to the Philippines to offer their
Into the Peruvian forest
In 1913, Bishop Ramon Zubieta, O.P., from the Apostolic Vicariate of
Porto Maldonado in the Peruvian forest, arrived in Huesca holding the
letter written by the Sisters. He was eager to have them come to serve
in Peru, and as soon as Mother Ascensión
said her name, she was accepted.
In November of that year, a first group travelled to Peru, with five
Sisters among them. They arrived on 30 December, accompanied by Bishop
Zubieta, an expert in difficult missionary expeditions.
The Religious were welcomed and took up residence in a Dominican
convent in Lima, which became their temporary headquarters as they
prepared for their trip to the new Apostolic Vicariate.
A long and risky voyage
and two other Sisters were the first missionaries to reach the
forest. The news of their arrival caused much rejoicing in Lima, since
never before had anyone carried out such a long and risky journey,
trekking through the Andes and navigating down dangerous rivers.
In 1915, this 24-day adventure led Mother Ascensión
to her first mission in Porto Maldonado and marked the beginning
of her "call to the missions". Here, she dedicated herself to the
education of children and the advancement of women, bringing God to the
poor and abandoned.
The Sisters started a boarding school for poor girls; they also
opened their home to the sick who came to them for assistance when no
other help could be found. The Sisters then visited the sick and
provided for their basic care. Wherever there was a need, the Sisters
sought to meet it, thereby broadening their apostolic ministry.
Always in God's presence
was an example of unwavering faith and truly lived a life of
prayer, always in God's presence. It did not matter whether she was
travelling by boat, canoe or mule, or whether she was in the enchanting
Peruvian forest, alone or with the people.
It was especially in the young people, in the sick and in the women (who
lived so differently from anything Mother Ascensión
was accustomed to) that she experienced God in a very strong way.
She once said: "I cannot explain what my soul is experiencing.... Never
have I felt so close to God as I have in these 16 months in the
A new Religious Congregation
Neither Mother Ascensión
nor Bishop Zubieta had the intention of starting a new Religious
Institute; rather, it was the Master General of the Dominicans who
Thus, on 5 October 1918, vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary,
they founded the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary,
As Co-Foundress, Mother Ascensión
was appointed Superior General of the new Congregation, a role to
which she dedicated the rest of her life. She died on 24 February 1940.
19 June 2005
Ladislaus Findysz was born on 13 December 1907 in Krościenko
Poland, to Stanislaus Findysz and Apollonia Rachwał.
He went to elementary school run by the Felician Sisters in his
hometown, and then to a State-run grammar school. As a young pupil
Ladislaus joined the Marian Sodality. After high school, he moved to
where he entered the major seminary, studying philosophy and theology.
He was ordained a priest on 19 June 1932, and his first assignment
was as assistant curate in the parish of Borysław
(today in the Ukraine).
On 17 September 1935 he was appointed curate in the parish of
Drohobycz, and he was given responsibility in various parishes until
1942, when he was appointed on 13 August as parish priest of SS.
Peter and Paul Apostles in Nowy
Parish activity, experience of war
Three years as pastor in Nowy
were marked by his unfailing commitment to pastoral work and the painful
experiences of the War.
On 3 October 1944, along with the rest of the town's inhabitants, Fr
Findysz was expelled by the Germans. He was able to return on 23 January
1945, when he immediately began the parish's reorganization and its
moral and religious renewal.
Fr Findysz gave his all to protect the faithful, especially youth,
from the systematic and intensive atheism imposed by Communism. He also
helped the townspeople financially, regardless of nationality or
From 1946 onward, he was placed under surveillance by the secret
service; in 1952 academic authorities suspended him from teaching
catechism in the secondary school.
As far as the ecclesiastical authorities were concerned, Fr Findysz
was considered a zealous parish priest, recognized as an honorary canon
In 1957 he was appointed vice-dean of the Nowy
deanery, and then dean in 1962.
In 1963 he began what was called the "Conciliar Works of Charity",
writing letters exhorting and encouraging the parishioners living in
irregular religious and moral situations to reorder their Christian
lives. The Communists reacted severely to this activity and
accused him of forcing the faithful to participate in religious rites
Arrested in 1963
On 25 November 1963, after having been interrogated by the Procurator
he was arrested and imprisoned in Rzesz6w Castle. From 16-17 December
his trial took place in the Tribunal of Rzeszów,
and he was condemned and given a custodial sentence of two years and six
The motivation for the investigation, accusation and subsequent
condemnation of Fr Findysz was based on the Decree for the "Protection
of the Freedom of Conscience and Denomination" of 5 August 1949. This,
however, was simply a tool used by the Communist authorities to restrict
and ultimately eliminate faith and the Catholic Church from Polish
public and private life.
Fr Findysz was also publicly discredited, libelled and condemned
through specifically edited publications in the press. He was imprisoned
Castle, where he suffered from malnutrition and was subjected to
physical, psychological and spiritual humiliation.
On 25 January 1964 he was transferred to the central prison in
Montelupich Street in Krakow.
Condemned to a 'slow death'
Just before his arrest in September 1963, he had undergone a serious
operation to remove his thyroid gland and was waiting for a second
operation, planned for December of that year, to remove a cancerous
growth in the oesophagus. The planned surgery to remove the growth and a
blockage of the stomach was postponed, and due to a lack of proper care
and the requisite medical expertise his health deteriorated. In reality,
he was condemned to a slow death.
Fr Findysz's lawyer and the diocesan curia of Przemyśl
petitioned the Procurator of the Tribunal of Rzeszów
for the suspension of his sentence on the grounds of his poor health and
the risk of death. While initially refused, these requests were finally
accepted by the Supreme Court in Warsaw at the end of February 1964.
Release from prison
Given the serious state of his health, Fr Findysz returned to Nowy
on 29 February 1964. Showing great patience and submission to God's will
he continued to work, bravely bearing his painful symptoms and
In April he was admitted to the specialist hospital in Wrocław;
in spite of the treatment, clinical tests confirmed the diagnosis of
inoperable cancer between the oesophagus and stomach. He returned home.
On 21 August 1964, after having received the sacraments, Fr Ladislaus
died in the presbytery of Nowy
. He has been recognized as a Martyr for the faith.
Bl. Bronislao Markiewicz
Priest, Founder of the Congregation of St Michael the Archangel
Bronislao Markiewicz was born on 13 July 1842 in Pruchnik, Poland,
the sixth of 11 children to John Markiewicz and Marianna Gryziecka.
Although he received a solid religious formation from his parents, he
lived through a deep spiritual crisis during his high school years in
caused by an anti-religious climate that existed in the school.
Calm after the storm
When he finally emerged from this period of unrest, he experienced a
newfound peace and serenity, and decided to dedicate his entire life to
the service of others.
Shortly thereafter, Bronislao felt called to the priesthood, and in
1863 he entered the Seminary of Przemyśl
He was ordained a priest on 15 September 1867 and began to serve as
parochial vicar in the Parish of Harta and at the Cathedral of Przemyśl.
During this time, he studied pedagogy, philosophy and history at the
Universities of Leopoli and of Krakow, sensing that God wished him to
gain more experience to work with youth.
'Call within a call'
In 1875 he was appointed as parish priest at Gac, and in 1877 at Błażowa.
He also taught pastoral theology at the Major Seminary of Przemyśl
Amid all this activity, Fr Markiewicz perceived a "call within a
call", and believed that he was called to the Religious life.
In November 1885 he left for Italy and joined the Salesians. And in
the hands of St John Bosco, the Salesians' Founder, he professed his
religious vows on 25 March 1887.
As a Salesian Fr Markiewicz carried out the various tasks assigned to
him by his superiors, striving to accomplish them with dedication and
zeal. Due to the change of climate and his austere lifestyle, however,
he fell gravely ill in 1889 and nearly died.
But he eventually did recover and convalesced in Italy until 23 March
1892. With the permission of his superiors, he returned to Poland where
he was assigned a parish at Miejsce Piastowe in Przemyśl
'Temperance and Work'
In addition to his pastoral work, Fr Markiewicz dedicated himself to
the formation of poor and orphaned youth in the spirit of St John Bosco.
He opened an institute to provide them with material and spiritual
support and to qualify them to work, preparing them for life by means of
professional formation in the schools located near the institute itself.
To carry on his work, he left the Salesians in 1897 with the
intention of establishing a new Religious family
always with the spirit of St John Bosco, but with special attention to
the needs of the poor in Galizia.
The new Community, which he called Temperance and Work,
focused on educating abandoned children and youth. As the Community
grew, Fr Markiewicz patiently awaited ecclesiastical approval.
At Miejsce Piastowe he offered a home and formation to hundreds of
children. In August 1903 he opened a new house in Pawlikowice, near
Krakow, where more than 400 orphans received spiritual and professional
His total dedication to children, heroic self-denial and the enormous
amount of work he accomplished so quickly exhausted his strength, which
was already weakened by his illness in Italy. All of this led rather
rapidly to the end of his earthly pilgrimage, and Fr Bronislao
Markiewicz died on 29 January 1912 at the age of 69.
The community he founded, known today as the Congregation of St
Michael the Archangel (commonly known as the "Michaelites"), received
ecclesiastical approval after his death: the male branch in 1921 and the
female branch in 1928.
These institutes carry on their apostolate in parishes, popular
missions, retreats, editorial activities, several shrines and vocational
work in many countries: Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, France, Canada, New Guinea, Argentina, Paraguay, the
Dominican Republic and the Dutch Antilles.
Bl. Ignatius Kłopotowski
Priest, Found of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed
Virgin Mary of Loreto
was born on 20 July 1866 in Korzeniówka,
Poland. He received from his parents a solid religious education as well
as a love for his native Polish Homeland.
In 1883, Ignatius entered the Major Seminary of Lublin. On 5 July
1891, in the hands of Bishop Franciszek Jaczewski, he was ordained a
priest in the Cathedral of Lublin.
Initial duties as a priest
Following priestly ordination, Fr Ignatius was appointed parochial
vicar of the Conversion of St Paul Parish. In 1892 he was made chaplain
of St Vincent's Hospital and began teaching at the Major Seminary; here,
for 14 years, he taught sacred scripture, catechetics, homiletics, moral
theology and canon law.
From 1892 to 1894 he served as vicar of the Cathedral of Lublin and
then was appointed rector of the Church of St Stanislaus, where he
provided assistance to the persecuted Greek Catholic faithful.
was well aware of the living conditions of so many of his compatriots,
who were immersed, as it were, in extreme material as well as moral
misery, without education and employment.
Healing the wounds of society
In the face of such a tragic reality, the young priest found he could
not remain indifferent and began founding numerous charitable
institutions: an employment home in Lublin; a professional school; a
home for the rehabilitation of troubled girls and women forced into
prostitution; even homes for orphans and for the elderly.
With the help of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Immaculate,
Fr Ignatius also founded a chain of rural schools; for this, however, he
suffered repression on the part of the Russian Authorities.
was also very concerned with providing spiritual assistance to the
poorest and neediest. Already in the early years of his priesthood, he
published books on the topics of prayer and spiritual brochures on many
In 1905, he began publishing the magazine "Polak-Katolik"
("Polish-Catholic"), followed by weekly and monthly newspapers.
In 1908, Fr Ignatius transferred his editorial work to Warsaw in
order to increase productivity and start new publications.
Founder, father, protector
To maintain and regulate such demanding editorial work, Fr Kłopotowski
founded the "Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of
Loreto" in Warsaw on 31 July 1920, with the approval of the Apostolic
Nuncio at the time, Archbishop Achille Ratti (the future Pope Pius XI).
To meet the needs of poor children and elderly women, he opened
health centres and soup kitchens. The beloved priest was known as a
"true father and protector of the orphaned".
Fr Ignatius Kłopotowski
died on 7 September 1931 and was buried in the Polish cemetery of Powązki.
The Congregation received recognition as a Congregation of Pontifical
Right in 1971. Today, there are 24 houses and 220 Religious who make up
9 October 2005
Clemens August Von Galen (1878-1946)
Bishop of Münster,
Clemens August von Galen was born on 16
March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children
born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.
His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660
governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors
carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.
Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats.
Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were
sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.
He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in
Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur,
Innsbruck and Münster, and was
ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Munster by Bishop
Parish priest, concern for poor
His first two years as a priest were spent as vicar of the diocesan
cathedral where he became chaplain to his uncle, Bishop Maximilian Gerion
From 1906 to 1929, Fr. von Galen carried out much of his pastoral
activity outside Münster: in 1906 he
was made chaplain of the parish of St. Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg;
from 1911 to 1919 he was curate of a new parish in Berlin before becoming
parish priest of the Basilica of St. Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg,
where he served for 10 years; here, he was particularly remembered for his
special concern for the poor and outcasts.
In 1929, Fr. von Galen was called back to Münster
when Bishop Johannes Poggenpohl asked him to serve as parish priest of the
Church of St. Lambert.
'Nec laudibus, nec timore'
In January 1933, Bishop Poggenpohl died, leaving the See vacant. After
two candidates refused, on 5 September 1933 Fr. Clemens was appointed
Bishop of Münster by Pope Pius XI.
On 28 October 1933 he was consecrated by Cardinal Joseph Schulte,
Archbishop of Cologne; Bishop von Galen was the first diocesan Bishop to
be consecrated under Hitler's regime.
As his motto, he chose the formula the rite of episcopal consecration:
"nec laudibus, nec timore" (Neither praise nor threats will
distance me from God).
Throughout the 20 years that Bishop von Galen was curate and parish
priest in Berlin, he wrote on various political and social issues; in a
pastoral letter dated 26 March 1934, he wrote very clearly and critically
on the "neopaganism of the national socialist ideology".
Due to his outspoken criticism, he was called to Rome by Pope Pius XI
in 1937 together with the Bishop of Berlin, to confer with them on the
situation in Germany and speak of the eventual publication of an
On 14 March 1937 the Encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (To the
Bishops of Germany: The place of the Catholic Church in the German Reich)
was published. It was widely circulated by Bishop von Galen,
notwithstanding Nazi opposition.
'Lion of Münster'
In the summer of 1941, in answer unwarranted attacks by the National
Socialists, Bishop von Galen delivered three admonitory sermons between
July and August. He spoke in his old parish Church of St. Lambert and in
Liebfrauen-Ueberlassen Church, since the diocesan cathedral had been
In his famous speeches, Bishop von Galen spoke out against the State
confiscation of Church property and the programmatic euthanasia carried
out by the regime.
The clarity and incisiveness of his words and the unshakable fidelity
of Catholics in the Diocese of Münster
embarrassed the Nazi regime, and on 10 October 1943 the Bishop's residence
was bombed. Bishop von Galen was forced to take refuge in nearby Borromeo
From 12 September 1944 on, he could no longer remain in the city of Münster,
destroyed by the war; he left for the zone of Sendenhorst.
In 1945, Vatican Radio announced that Pope Pius XII was to hold a
Consistory and that the Bishop of Münster
was also to be present.
Creation of a Cardinal
After a long and difficult journey, due to the war and other
impediments, Bishop von Galen finally arrived in the "Eternal City". On 21
February 1946 the Public Consistory was held in St. Peter's Basilica and
Bishop von Galen was created a Cardinal.
On 16 March 1946 the 68-year-old Cardinal returned to Münster.
He was cordially welcomed back by the city Authorities and awarded
honorary citizenship by the burgomaster.
On the site of what remained of the cathedral, Cardinal von Galen gave
his first (and what would be his last) discourse to the more than 50,000
people who had gathered, thanking them for their fidelity to the
then-Bishop of Münster during the
National Socialist regime. He explained that as a Bishop, it was his duty
to speak clearly and plainly about what was happening.
No one knew that the Cardinal was gravely ill, and when he returned to
Münster on 19 March 1946 he had to
undergo an operation.
Cardinal von Galen died just three days later, on 22 March. He was
buried on 28 March in the Ludgerus Chapel, which has become a place of
pilgrimage to this defender of the faith in the face of political
29 October 2005
Bl. Joseph Tápies (1869-1936) and Six Companions
Priests and martyrs
The seven priests of the Diocese of Urgell, Spain, assassinated out of hatred for the faith during the
persecution as part of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), were imprisoned in
the city of La Pobla de Segur (Lleida, Catalonia). They were shot to death
at the gateway to the cemetery of the nearby town of Salás de Pallars in
Their names are: Joseph Tàpies
Sirvant; Pascal Araguás Guárdia;
Silvester Arnau Pasqüet; Joseph Boher
Foix; Francis Castells Brenuy; Peter Martret Moles; and Joseph John Perot
Joseph Tàpies Sirvant
was born in Ponts, Lleida. Spain, in 1869 and was ordained a priest in
1892. He carried out his priestly ministry as parochial vicar and as
church organist in La Pobla de Segur. He was known for his integrity,
steadfastness and goodness to all, and people sought him out for his gift
of good counsel.
Passing in front of his parish church on the truck that was to carry
him to his death, he said: "Goodbye, Blessed Virgin of Ribera, I am going
Pascal Araguás Guárdia
was born in Pont de Claverol, Lleida, in 1899 and was ordained a priest in
1923 in the Cathedral of "Santa Maria de La Seu" of Urgell. He served as
coadjutor and econome in various parishes and was parish priest of Noals.
He was known for his humble and gentle character, and people remembered
him as a person always dedicated to proclaiming God's glory and to living,
thinking and working for the good of others.
When he arrived at Salás de Pallars
and began climbing the slope to the execution site, he said: "I will climb
up barefoot, just as Jesus climbed up to Calvary".
Silvester Arnau Pasqüet
was born in Gósol, Lleida, in 1911 and
was ordained a priest in 1935. He served as parochial vicar of La Pobla de
Segur. He was known for his deep spirituality born from an intense
cultivation of ascetical and mystical theology. He was the youngest of 107
priests of Urgell to be assassinated.
Fr. Arnau would tell the ether priests: "We must be ready in every
moment to be persecuted and prepare ourselves for martyrdom. We must
desire this and if the Lord grants such a thing to me, it will be a very
In answer to repeated offers to save his young life by leaving the
other priests, he replied that he would never leave them or his parish
priest. "Wherever the parish priest goes, I will follow him". They were
imprisoned, condemned and martyred together.
Joseph Boher Foix was born in Sant Salvador de Toló,
Lleida, in 1887 and was ordained a priest in 1914. He served as coadjutor
and econome in various parishes, and in 1929 he was appointed parish
priest of Pobleta de Bellveí. He was
pious, intelligent and well loved by all.
When soldiers came looking for him in the parish he held his ground,
but he was taken away, led to trial with the other priests. At the
cemetery he said: "Here is my wallet with everything I have; I give it to
you so that together with committing a crime you do not commit theft".
At the moment of death, he cried out: "I forgive you in the name of
all. Long live Christ the King!".
Francis Castells Brenuy was born in La Pobla de Segur,
Lleida, in 1866. In 1889 he was ordained a priest and appointed prefect
and professor of philosophy in the diocesan seminary. He also served in
various parishes and was econome of the parish of El Poal. During the
persecution in 1936 he was arrested and abused. Afterwards, he went to
stay with his family in La Pobla de Segur, where he was again arrested,
tried and condemned to death.
As he arrived at the execution site, a member of the commission was
heard to say: "We can let Fr. Castells go free"; but another replied that
no priest should be freed and that his greatest joy would be to see him
executed. Fr. Castells answered: "I forgive you", and the other responded:
"I do not need anyone's forgiveness".
Peter Martret Moles was born in Seu de Urgell, Lleida, in
1901 and was ordained a priest in 1925. He carried out his priestly
ministry in various parishes, and in 1931 he was appointed as econome of
the parish of La Pobla de Segur. He was a learned, energetic, dynamic
priest who promoted the "Federation of Christian Youth of Catalonia", part
of Catholic Action.
Fr. Martret was imprisoned together with his coadjutors and killed,
offering his life for the good of the faithful of La Pobla de Segur.
Joseph John Perot Juanmartí
was born in Boulonge, France, 1877. When he was young he moved to Oliana,
Lleida, Spain, and studied in the diocesan seminary of Urgell. He was
ordained a priest it 1903 and served in different diocesan parishes. In
1921 he was appointed parish priest of "Sant Jean di Vinyafrescal".
When he heard that soldiers were coming to take him to trial and to
death, he courageously responded: "If they come for me, I will be here
These and many other priests were executed during the Spanish Civil War
simply because they were priests; they could be accused of nothing else.
Bl. Mary of the Angels Ginard Martí (1894-1936)
Professed Religious Sister, Martyr
Angela Ginard Marti was born on 3 April 1894 in Llucmajor,
Majorca, Spain, the third of nine children born to Sebastiano Ginard
Garcia and Margherita Martí Canals.
She was baptized two days later and given the name "Angela".
On 14 April 1905 she made her first Holy Communion and from that moment
on she felt called to the Religious life, having been influenced
especially by her mother's frequent visits to two of her aunts who were
Angela's family moved to Palma de Mallorca when she was still young;
here, together with her two older sisters, she began to earn money by
embroidering and making hats for women, while at the same time tending to
the household chores and caring for her younger brothers and sisters,
teaching them to pray, reading Holy Scripture to them and helping them to
learn the catechism.
Daily itinerary of prayer
Angela would rise early in the morning to participate in Holy Mass at
Most Holy Trinity Parish, and during the day she visited the Blessed
Sacrament, recited the Holy Rosary and offered prayers for special
Such a disciplined schedule kept Angela away from the pastimes typical
of children her age and gave her the interior affirmation to be called to
When she was 20, Angela sought her parents' permission to enter the
monastery of "San Bartolomeo di Inc". They told their daughter to think it
over carefully and to wait awhile; indeed, they did not want to oppose a
call to Religious life, but Angela's help was still needed at home. She
understood her parents, and without giving up hope she agreed to wait
Entrance into the convent
After a few years had passed, Angela once again asked permission to
enter the convent, and this time her parents gladly consented. On 26
November 1921, she entered the Congregation of the Zealous Sisters of
Angela adapted immediately to her new life, which centred around
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament here, she drew the strength to live
community life in an almost supernatural way and was an example to the
other Sisters of goodness, simplicity, piety and obedience.
After her first vows, the new Sr. Mary of the Angels was sent first to
Madrid, then to Barcelona and then back to Madrid, where she was appointed
as superior of the convent. She was there in 1936 when the Spanish Civil
War broke out and religious persecution came to the fore with the burning
of churches and convents, while priests, Religious and lay faithful were
'Solution' to Spanish Civil War
Deeply disturbed by these events, Sr. Mary of the Angels tried to find
a "solution". and in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament she asked what
she was to do. With trusting surrender to God's providence, she offered
her life to him as a martyr, were this his will.
On 20 July 1936 the Sisters finally had to flee from their convent,
escaping dressed as lay people. While fearful of the future, they were
comforted by the words of Sr. Mary of the Angels: "All they can do to us
is to kill us, nothing more".
For her, the destruction and persecution of what was religious was
worse than any threat of being killed.
Sr. Mary of the Angels was forced to hide in the home of a family who
lived nearby the convent. Sadly, however, she was able to see from their
home the destruction of the church, her convent and many religious
On the evening of 25 August, members of the military finally discovered
her whereabouts and came to take Sr. Mary of the Angels away. Upon
entering the home, they immediately arrested the landlord's sister, who
had allowed Sr. Mary of the Angel's to live there.
With great courage and charity, Sr. Mary told the troops: "The woman
you have taken hold of is not a Religious; I am the only Religious here".
With these words, she saved the life of another and was destined to be
'The little walk'
The troops bound her and led her away; the following day, she was
forced to take "the little walk" to the locality of Dehesa de la Villa.
Here, a firing squad shot and killed Sr. Mary of the Angels. Her mortal
remains now rest in the chapel of the convent of the Zealous Sisters of
Eucharistic Adoration, in Madrid.
6 November 2005
Bl. Eurosia Fabris (1866-1932)
Wife, Mother, Third Order Franciscan
Eurosia Fabris was born on 27 September 1866 in Quinto Vicentino,
near Vicenza, Italy. Her parents, Luigi and Maria Fabris, were farmers.
In 1870, at the age 4, Eurosia moved with her family to Marola, where
she lived for the rest of her life. While growing up, she was only
permitted to attend the first two years of elementary school because she
was obliged to help her parents with farm work and household chores; she
also helped her mother as a dressmaker. With the help of the Holy
Scriptures and religious books, however, Eurosia learned how to read and
The 'apostle of good will'
After she made her first Holy Communion when she was 12, she joined the
Association of the Daughters of Mary and diligently observed the practices
of the group which increased in her a love for Mary.
Eurosia was an "apostle of good will" in her family, among friends and
in the parish where she taught catechism and sewing to the girls who came
to her home. Her virtue and pleasant personality did not go unnoticed by
the young men of the village, and although several proposed marriage to
her, she did not feel called to accept.
An exceptional motherhood
In 1885, Eurosia was affected by a tragic event that forever changed
When a young married woman near her home died, leaving three very young
daughters, Eurosia's heart went out to these orphans, with the youngest
dying shortly after her mother's death. From that moment on, Eurosia took
them under her wing, as if they were her own.
For six months, she went every morning to look after the two little
girls and take care of their home. Later, following the advice of her
relatives and of the parish priest, and praying over this sudden turn of
events in her life, she decided to marry.
On 5 May 1586 she was joined in marriage to a man named Carlo Barban,
and was well aware of the sacrifices that married life would hold for her
in the future. She accepted this fact as the will of God, who she now felt
was calling her through these two babies to embrace a new mission.
The parish priest would often comment "This was a true act of heroic
charity towards others".
In addition to the two adopted children. Eurosia and Carlo had nine
other children and their home was always open to additional children as
well. Eurosia offered affection and care to all, sacrificing her own needs
to provide a solid Christian formation to all these children. She was
known to everyone as "Mamma Rosa".
Between 1918 and 1921, three of her sons were ordained priests. Two for
the diocesan clergy and one as a Franciscan (Fr. Bernardino), who would
later become her first biographer.
She showed the greatest love and respect for her husband and became his
confidant and adviser. She was a hard worker and a person who could be
counted on to fulfil her duties.
Eurosia lived an intense life of prayer, and was especially devoted to
the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mamma Rosa's family home was an ideal Christian community where her
children were taught to pray, obey, respect God's will and practise
She also became a member of :he Franciscan Third Order, attending all
of the meetings and striving to live the true Franciscan spirit of poverty
and joy in her home, in the midst of daily work and prayer.
Eurosia showed heroic strength during the final illness of her husband,
who died in 1930. She her-self died just two years later, on 8 January
1932, and was buried in the Church of Marola.
13 November 2005
Bl. Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)
Charles de Foucauld was born into
a distinguished and devout family on 15 September 1858 in Strasbourg,
France. When he was only 5 years old he was left an orphan and, together
with his sister Maria, was entrusted to the care of his maternal
grandfather a retired colonel.
A dissolute life
While pursuing his secondary studies at Strasbourg and Nancy, he lost
his faith and started to lead a dissolute life, just barely succeeding in
competing his military education at Saint-Cyr (1876) and at the cavalry
school in Saumur (1878). He received a commission as a second lieutenant
but was discharged for disorderly conduct at the garrison of Pont-à-Mousson
Charles was soon restored to his rank and regiment during a native
revolt in the Sahara, and in the ensuing eight-month campaign he mended
his ways and distinguished himself in the field as a brave leader.
When he returned to France, he could not adjust to garrison life and
resigned his commission. He then decided to return to the Sahara to
explore Morocco, and after a year spent in Algiers studying local
languages and customs he spent two years in the desert disguised as the
Jewish servant of a rabbi (1883-84).
His topographical, ethnological, social and military findings were
published as Reconnaissance au Maroc, 1883-1884 (1888),
which won him recognition from the Geographical Society of Paris.
Led into the desert
So deeply had the desert solitude and the religiosity of the Muslims
impressed Foucauld that in February 1886 he transferred to Paris, near the
Church of St. Augustine; it was not long before he met Fr. Henri Huvelin
in October of that year. This encounter would change his life for ever.
Fr. Huvelin invited Foucauld to confess and to receive Holy Communion,
prompting a complete conversion and nurturing the inspiration to live a
life of prayer and asceticism. Charles felt particularly drawn to do God's
will and especially to imitate the humility of Jesus, which he understood
in a deeper way after his pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the end of 1888.
In 1901 Charles wrote to Henry de Castries: "As soon as I believed that
God exists, I understood that I could do nothing less than live for him:
my religious vocation was born with my faith. God is so great! Between God
and all that is not God there is an immense difference".
Entering the Trappists
In 1890 he joined the Trappists in the Monastery of Notre Dame des
Neiges in Nazareth, but soon transferred to a poorer house at Akbès
in Syria. where he stayed until 1896.
Longing for still greater poverty and self-sacrifice he transferred to
the Abbey of Staoüeli in Algeria. The
superior there sent him to Rome to study theology, but he left the
Trappists before ordination and returned to Nazareth to live as a hermit
in a shack near a monastery of Poor Clares. He chose to live private vows
of chastity and absolute poverty.
During the three years he spent in Nazareth, Bro. Charles understood
that he was called to be a priest, especially so that he could bring the
Eucharist to the poor in the regions when there were no priests.
The 'universal brother'
He was ordained to the priesthood on 9 June 1901 at Viviers, France,
and then returned to the Sahara Desert and established a hermitage at Béni-Abbès
on the border between Morocco and Algeria. Fr. Charles sought to bring
Christianity to the Muslin desert tribes, not by preaching but by good
example. By his life of contemplation and charity he wanted to show
himself as a man of God and as "the universal brother".
In his hermitage, which he called la Fraternité
du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus,
he kept the Blessed Sacrament always exposed and spent long hours in
In 1905 he penetrated deeper into the Sahara and set up his hermitage
in the Ahaggar Mountains near Tamanrasset. Respected by the Tuareg
tribesmen, Fr. Charles was able to learn a great deal concerning their
customs and language.
He lived a life of deep contemplation and action, a solitary life with
God and at the same time a life dedicated to the poor and needy. He once
wrote: "One does good not in the measure of what one says or does, but in
the measure of the grace which accompanies our actions".
Little Brothers, Little Sisters
On 1 December 1916 Charles de Foucauld was assassinated in Tamanrasset
by a band of rebels belonging to the fanatical Senusi sect.
He had no disciples during his lifetime. The publication of the
Directory, his personal papers and biography, by René
Bazin, inspired the founding of the Little Brothers of Jesus in
1933 and the Little Sisters of Jesus in 1936.
More than 40 congregations or movements have since been founded, based
on the spirituality of this "universal brother", seeking to live a deep
union with Jesus in the Eucharist and with the poor.
Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio (1877-1957)
Virgin, Foundress of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St.
Therese of the Child Jesus
Maria Crocifissa Curcio was born on 30 January 1877 in
Ispica, Sicily, the seventh of 10 children to Salvatore Curcio and
Concetta Franzò. She was a lively,
intelligent child and was thought by all to have a very pleasant
As a teenager, she channeled her strong will and determination towards
God, and she was particularly sensitive to the needs of the weak and
A love for Carmel
Maria's father was very strict and did not support his daughters deep
yearning for an intense life of faith. According to the customs of the
time, he did not permit her to study beyond the sixth Grade.
This was a great trial for the young girl, and so, eager to learn, she
read the books in the family library.
Here, she found a copy of the life of St. Teresa of Jesus, which she
read with an intensity and devotion that led her to "know and love"
Carmel. Maria was beginning her "study of celestial things".
In 1890 she enrolled in the Carmelite Third Order in Ispica and grew in
her understanding of Carmelite spirituality. She had a deep devotion to
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and felt that God was assigning to her a "special
mission" to "make Carmel reflourish".
Contemplative in action
Maria dreamed of a missionary Carmel, uniting the contemplative
dimension with a specifically apostolic one.
It was not long before she began an initial experience of community
life, joining a few members of the Third Order in a small apartment in her
ancestral home, bequeathed to her by her siblings.
She then transferred to Modica, where she was entrusted with the
management of the "Carmela Polara" conservatory for the acceptance and
assistance of young females who were orphans or needy. She had the firm
resolution to turn them into "worthy women who would be useful to
themselves and to society".
After several years of trial and hardship in an attempt to see this
understanding of hers supported and officially recognized by local
ecclesiastic authorities, she finally managed to obtain support for her
missionary ideal from Fr. Lorenzo Van Den Eerenbeemt, a Carmelite Father
of the Ancient Order.
On 17 May 1925, Maria went to Rome for the canonization of St. Thérèse
of the Child Jesus, and the following day she visited the small town of
Santa Marinella, just north of Rome. Struck as much by the natural beauty
of this region as by the extreme poverty of a great number of the town's
inhabitants, she realized she had reached her "landing place".
In the footsteps of St. Thérèse
On 3 July 1925, after having received oral permission "to experiment"
from Cardinal Antonio Vico, Bishop of the Diocese of Porto Santa Rufina,
she definitively settled there. On 16 July 1926, she received the Decree
of affiliation of her small community with the Carmelite Order.
In 1930, the new Religious Family was established as the
Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Thérèse
of the Child Jesus.
The Congregation continued to grow over the years, and in 1947 the
first group of Sisters were sent to Brazil with the mandate to "never
forget the poor". Mother Maria continued to dream of increasingly vast
horizons towards which missionary Carmel could sail.
Her entire life was marked by poor health and diabetes, which she
accepted with courage and a serene adhesion to the will of God. She sought
to transmit to her spiritual daughters a filial confidence in God, and
desired to have "holy daughters, Eucharistic daughters and daughters who
know how to pray".
The 'little way' of holiness
Following the example of St. Thérèse
of the Child Jesus, she strove regularly and faithfully to carry out her
duties, doing "with love and dedication even the smallest deeds". She
experienced with humility and simplicity, joy and tenderness every human
relationship, achieving daily that unity of life and faith "by peacefully
combining" the untiring activity of Martha with the profound mysticism of
Mother Maria died on 4 July 1957, in Santa Marinella, Italy.
Bl. Maria Pia Mastena (1880-1951)
Virgin, Foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Face
Maria Pia Mastena was born on 7 December 1880 in Bovolone,
Italy, near Verona, the first child born to Giulio Mastena, a grocer, and
Maria Antonia Casarotti, an elementary school teacher. At her baptism she
was christened "Teresa Maria".
She had four brothers and sisters: Giuseppe, who later married and had
a family; Maddalena. who became a Third Order Franciscan and a consecrated
lay woman; Plinio, who, unable to become a priest for health reasons,
obtained a degree in law and dedicated his professional service to
defending the poor; and Tarcisio who became a Franciscan Capuchin friar
and a missionary in Brazil.
On 19 March 1891, Teresa Maria received her first Holy Communion and on
this occasion she made a private vow of chastity. And on 29 August of that
year she was confirmed.
Still a child, Teresa Maria felt called to Religious life, and when she
was 14 years old she asked for permission to enter the convent. She had to
wait, however, until 1901 before she was allowed to begin her postulancy
in the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in Verona.
Sr. Passitea of the Child Jesus
On 29 September 1902 she took the religious habit and on 24 October
1903 she made her profession, receiving the name "Sr. Passitea of the
She lived her Religious life as a Sister of Mercy with great spiritual
intensity and remembered this "first phase" with gratitude as a time of
grace and blessedness, greatly assisted and inspired by the fervour she
found in the Institute. This led her to offer herself as a "victim" for
Jesus and to make a vow to seek the most perfect thing in every situation.
In 1905 Sr. Passitea received teaching certification and two years
later she began teaching. In 1908 she was sent to Miane, near Treviso,
with three other Religious, as the superior of a new foundation there. She
worked here until 1927, carrying out many activities, especially as a
teacher, and was held in high esteem by the parish priest, local
Authorities and townspeople alike.
During the First World War, she was the "woman of providence" for
mothers, couples and the young men who had to go off to the front; she had
a word of comfort and hope for everyone she met.
Although engaged in numerous activities, in 1910 Sr. Passitea began to
feel the need to enter deeper into a more contemplative life. She believed
that God was calling her to do something more, especially "to take the
Holy Face to every corner of the world".
Deeper vocational discernment
By 1927, with the spiritual assistance of Bishop Beccegato of Vittorio
Veneto, she entered the monastery of San Giacomo di Veglia, and on 2 June
of that year she took the Cistercian habit. She was given the name Maria
Pia and began her novitiate.
During the first seven months she lived the cloistered life in a truly
exemplary way, observing every rule. Sr. Maria Pia showed particular
fervour for the Eucharist, the passion of Jesus and especially for his
Holy Face, to which she frequently referred.
Soon, however, Maria Pia began to doubt if this life was truly God's
will for her. She expressed her doubt to her spiritual director, Bishop
Beccegato, who believed that it would be better for her to return to the
school in Miane, where she was still the Headmistress.
Sr. Maria Pia soon realized that teaching and a life of enclosure were
not compatible and that it would be better for her to leave the monastery.
From Miane she transferred to Carpesica and then to San Fior. She still
perceived that God was asking something more of her, and it was in San
Fior that she started her new Religious Institute.
Sisters of the Holy Face
The primary scope of the new Institute was to "propagate, repair and
restore Jesus' gentle image in souls". The Institute of Sisters of the
Holy Face, as it was named, opened its first convent in San Fior in
1930; two years later, on 24 October 1932, the first postulants were
On 8 December 1936 the Institute was canonically erected as a
Congregation of diocesan rite. It was on this occasion that the first 10
Religious made their profession and the Foundress, Mother Maria Pia, made
her perpetual profession in the hands of Bishop Beccegato.
From 1936-1951 another 14 houses were opened in Italy. In 1936, Mother
Maria Pia was appointed as Superior General of the Institute for a 12-year
term. In 1947, the Congregation was approved as an Institute of Pontifical
Rite and in 1948, the first General Chapter was held and Mother Maria Pia
Mastena was re-elected as Superior General.
The numerous activities and sacrifices that the Foundress had to make
weighed on her health and by March 1951 she was gravely ill. Although she
lived in San Fior, she made visits to Rome to give a "definitive
structure" to the Congregation and to open another house.
On the evening of 28 June 1951, while in Rome, she suffered a heart
attack and died. Her mortal remains lie in the chapel of the Convent in
20 November 2005
13 Martyrs of the Religious Persecution in Mexico
(1920s and 1930s)
In 1917 an anticlerical Constitution was
promulgated in Mexico and signed by President Venustiano Carranza,
initiating an era of religious persecution. Through the Mexican Bishops,
the Church expressed her nonconformity with these laws, which elicited a
strong negative reaction from the Government.
The 1920s and 1930s were years marked by fierce religious
persecution for the Catholic Church in Mexico. The Mexican Government
under the dictatorship of Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-28) was
anticlerical, and Calles himself wished to eradicate the Catholic Church
from the Country. In 1925 he attempted to establish a national church, to
expel all foreign clergy from the Country and to close and confiscate the
property of Church-affiliated agencies such as schools, hospitals and
charitable institutions. In 1926, 33 new legislative measures designed to
suppress the Church, known as the "Calles Law", were enacted. This Law
limited the number of priests who could serve in any one locality and the
number of religious services they could lead. It closed down seminaries
and convents and barred foreign priests from serving in Mexico.
With the knowledge of Pope Pius XI, the Bishops closed the Country's
Catholic churches in protest against these new repressive laws. Faithful
Catholics mobilized, collecting over 2 million signatures on a petition
calling for the Law's repeal. Their efforts were ignored by the Mexican
regime and some Catholics who could tolerate no more took up arms.
Some of the laity formed an organization called the "National League
for the Defence of Religious Freedom" and, without involving the
hierarchy, took up arms in a guerrilla war to defend their religious
liberty. Since they had poor munitions and virtually no military
experience, their main weapon was the belief that God was with them.
The "Cristero Rebellion", which officially began on New Year's Day
1927 in Jalisco, Mexico, spread rapidly to surrounding areas. Laity sought
the support of their pastors, some of whom disagreed with the movements;
others, however, provided spiritual support for the people despite the
dangers they knew this involved.
The rebellion officially ended 30 months later; however, persecution
still continued for some years in other parts of the Country.
During this cruel persecution, numerous priests and lay people gave
their lives for the Catholic faith, among them a 14-year-old boy, José
Sánchez del Rio, who underwent a cruel martyrdom. All were assassinated by
the State Authorities.
The following biographies of 13 of
these Martyrs in Mexico give a graphic description of the events involved.
Fr. José Trinidad Rangel Montaño
was born on 4 June 1887 in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico. As a
priest, he was known for his humility, simplicity and zeal for the
salvation of souls.
In 1927, Fr. Rangel was obliged to leave
his parish church at Silao due to the fact that he had not enrolled as a
priest in the government register for priests; he went to León, where he
sought refuge in the home of Josefina and Jovita Alba and where he met Fr.
Andrés Solá y Molist, a Claretian missionary who was also in hiding since
In April 1927, Fr. Rangel's brother
Agustín encouraged him to seek refuge in the United States; instead, Fr.
Rangel accepted the invitation of the ecclesiastical superior of the
Diocese to secretly celebrate Holy Week with the Minims in San
Francisco del Rincón. Here he administered the sacraments, especially
to those sick in the hospital.
On 22 April Fr. Rangel was discovered and
arrested. He never denied the fact that he was a priest, and after
interrogation and torture, he was shot on 24 April 1927 in Rancho de San
Joaquín, together with Fr. Andrés Solá y Molist and Mr. Leonardo Pérez
Fr. Andrés Solá y Molist, C.M.F.,
was born on 7 October 1895 in Can Vilarrasa, Spain. In September 1922 he
was ordained, and in 1923 he was sent to Mexico as a Claretian missionary
The anti-Catholic and anticlerical laws
that were passed at the time forced Fr. Solá y Molist into hiding he went
to live in the home of Josefina and Jovita Alba in León so that he would
not be obliged to leave the Country. He continued to administer Holy
Communion to the sick and to hear confessions and celebrate many baptisms
and marriages, all at the risk of his very life.
By 1927 the persecution had worsened and
his local superior, Fr. Fernando Santesteban, directed him to leave Leon
and to go to Mexico City. He remained there for some days, and then with
the permission of the Provincial Superior he returned to León to continue
On 23 April, he received a letter from the
superior of the community informing him that there was a warrant for his
arrest and that he should suspend his activity, go into hiding or change
residence. Fr. Solá gave no importance to the letter, believing that
nothing would happen. Instead, the next day he was arrested.
When soldiers entered the home of the Alba
sisters to take him away, he confirmed that he was a priest. He was led
away to his martyrdom and shot on 25 April 1927.
Leonardo Pérez Larios was born on 28
November 1883 in Lagos di Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico. He never married and
although he desired to become a priest, he was unable to do so because of
his responsibility to care for his two sisters and maintain the family.
A deeply religious man, Leonardo belonged
to a Marian group whose members made a vow of chastity and met each week
for Eucharistic adoration.
Leonardo was also arrested in the home of
the Alba sisters, after having participated in Holy Mass and a Holy Hour
organized by Fr. Solá. When soldiers entered the home and discovered Fr.
Solá, they mistook Leonardo for a priest because he was dressed in black
and was very devout. He declared that he was not a priest, but that he was
Leonardo was taken away to be martyred in
Rancho de San Joaquín on 25 April 1927, together with Fr. Rangel and Fr.
Solá y Molist.
Anacleto González Flores was born
on 13 July 1888 in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, Mexico. He was greatly involved in
social and religious activities and was an enthusiastic member of the
Catholic Association of Young Mexicans (ACJM). He taught classes in
catechism, was dedicated to works of charity and wrote articles and books
with a Christian spirit.
In 1922 he married Maria Concepción Guerrero and they had two children.
By 1926, the situation in Mexico had worsened and
Anacleto, who up until this time had advocated passive, non-violent
resistance, joined the cause of the National League for the Defence of
Religious Freedom upon learning of the murder of four members of the ACJM.
In January 1927 guerrilla warfare spread throughout
Jalisco and from his many hiding places Anacleto wrote and sent bulletins
and studied major strategies.
The young man was captured on the morning of 1 April
1927 in the home of the Vargas González family, along with the two Vargas
brothers. He was taken to the Colorado jail, where his torture included
being hung by his thumbs until his fingers were dislocated and having the
bottom of his feet slashed. He refused, however, to supply his captors
with any information.
José Anacleto González Flores was condemned to death
and was shot together with the Vargas González brothers and Luis Padilla
Gómez on that same day, 1 April 1927.
José Dionisio Luis Padilla Gómez was born on 9
December 1899 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was an active member of
the ACJM and worked closely with Anacleto in the activities of the League,
helping in a special way poor children and youth. The young man, known to
all as Luis, spent much time praying before the Blessed Sacrament and had
a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On the morning of 1 April 1927, Luis was arrested in
his home, together with his mother and one of his sisters. He was
repeatedly beaten and insulted, then sentenced to execution.
After arriving at the Colorado jail, Luis met
Anacleto and the others. He told Anacleto that he wanted to go to
confession. But Anacleto told the young man, "No, brother, now is not the
hour to confess, but to request pardon and to pardon our enemies. God is a
Father and not a judge, the One who gives you hope. Your own blood will
Luis knelt down in prayer as the executioners'
bullets riddled his prostrate body.
Jorge and Ramón Vargas González were born in
Ahualulco de Mercado, Jalisco, Mexico. Jorge Ramón was born on 28
September 1899 and Ramón Vicente was born on 22 January 1905.
Jorge worked for a hydroelectric company and Ramón
pursued the study of medicine. They were both active members of the ACJM.
After a long day of work, Jorge would dress in
overalls and ride his bicycle, accompanying Fr. Lino Aguirre on the
rounds of his hidden sacramental ministry to help ensure his safety.
Ramón was always concerned for the health of the poor
and helped them without seeking anything in return. He was known for his
joyful spirit and his strong Catholic identity.
During the persecution, the Vargas González family
gave refuge to a number of priests and seminarians. Anacleto González
Flores was staying with them in March of 1927.
On the morning of 1 April 1927 the secret police
completely surrounded the family home, shouting: "Open the door in the
name of the law!". They stormed in and arrested everyone, including the
two brothers, their mother and a younger brother, Florentino.
The Vargas González family was accused of having
hidden a "wanted" priest in their home and were taken to the Colorado
As they were being led down the street, Ramón was
able to escape unnoticed; but a little while later he turned back and
rejoined the rest. When asked why he had not fled, Ramón replied: "I told
myself, my mother and my brothers are prisoners; am I to run away?".
In jail, Florentino was separated from his two
brothers, who were put in a cell next to Luis Padilla Gómez and Anacleto
González Flores. They knew they were going to be executed. But before
being killed they were interrogated and tortured, remaining silent
Taken out to be shot, the four recited the Act of
Contrition. Before the bullets were fired, Ramón made the sign of the
cross and Jorge held a crucifix against his chest.
When the father of the two boys learned how his sons
were killed, he said: "Now I know, it is not condolences that I need, but
congratulations; I have the fortune to have two sons who are martyrs".
José Luciano Ezequiel Huerta Gutiérrez was
born on 6 January 1876 in Magdalena, Jalisco, Mexico. He was an organist
with a great gift for music and had a beautiful tenor voice that could
have given him a career as an opera singer; but he said that his voice was
dedicated to the service of God.
Ezequiel married in 1904 and had 10 children. He was
very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and even with such a large family,
always found the resources to give to the needy.
On the morning of 2 April 1927 he was arrested; he
had just paid his respects to the lifeless body of Anacleto González
Flores. He was questioned about the whereabouts of his two priest
brothers, about his two oldest sons and the Cristeros.
consciousness, he expressed his pain by signing with all his might: "My
Christ lives, my King li
Ezequiel refused to talk, so he was tortured until he
was unconscious. When he regainedves". For this, he received more beatings
until he could not utter a single sound.
The following morning, he was led at dawn with his
brother Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez to the cemetery of Mezquitán, where they
were both killed.
Ezequiel's wife heard the shots from her home and
although she did not know that her husband was one of the victims, she
gathered her children around her and said: "My children, let us recite the
Rosary for these poor people who have just been shot".
Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez was born on 18 March
1880 in Magdalena, Jalisco, Mexico. He worked as a mechanic, and in 1907
he married and had 12 children.
Daily Mass was a priority for him; he was likewise
very dedicated to prayer and to his family, and famous in Guadalajara for
his expertise as a mechanic.
On 2 April 1927, following the assassination of
Alacleto, Salvador went to pay his respects to this beloved "leader". When
he returned to his garage, police officers were waiting for him.
They ordered him to come to police headquarters,
allegedly to fix the chief's car; he was thus led away and cruelly
tortured, even hung by his thumbs. When interrogated about the
Cristeros and the whereabouts of Eduardo and José, his two
priests-brothers, he said nothing.
was thrown into jail with his brother Ezequiel, and the next day they were
led to their execution. When they arrived at the cemetery, Salvador asked
for a lighted candle and held it in front of his chest. He cried out:
"Long live Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe! Shoot me so that I
will die for God, because I love him".
Miguel Gómez Loza was born on 11 August 1888
in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, Mexico. From a young age he had a strong love for
God and a great devotion to the Blessed Mother.
When he was 26 Miguel entered the University of
Morelos where he earned a law degree, and eventually opened an office in
Arandas as an attorney.
In 1915 he became a member of the ACJM, and in 1919
he established a national congress of Catholic workers to unify industry
workers, commercial employees and agricultural labourers. He also worked
tirelessly to defend the rights of the needy, which caused him to be
arrested 59 times for organizing protests against the Government.
In 1922 Miguel married Maria Guadalupe Sánchez
Barragán and they had three children.
Miguel joined the "National League for the Defence of
Religious Freedom" in 1927, but believed in non-violence in order to
resist the persecution. After the death of Anacleto, he was appointed by
Catholics as Governor of Jalisco and strove by all the means at his
disposal to defend liberty and justice.
of 1928, Miguel was living on a ranch near Atotonilco. On 21 March,
federal forces who had been hunting for him discovered his whereabouts; he
was executed by firing squad the same day.
Luis Magaña Servin was born on 24 August 1902
in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. Growing up, he helped his father work in a
As a young man, Luis became a member of the ACJM. He
deeply loved the Church and was interested in social questions, leading
him to study Leo XIII's watershed Encyclical Rerum Novarum. He also
joined the "Our Lady of Guadalupe Association", a group that united worker
Luis always treated poor and rich the same,
practicing the advice of Bishop Mora y del Rio of Mexl City, to "treat
your workers with love and they v never leave you".
In 1926 he married Elvira Camarena Méndez and they
had two children, the second born after the death of Luis.
By January 1927 Arandas had become one of the
strongholds of the government resistance. Priests went into hiding,
exercising a secret ministry and travelling in disguise. Luis remained a
pacifist and did not to part in the Cristeros activity; rather, he
helped spiritually and materially as did most Catholics in the area.
On 9 February 1928, a group of soldiers arrested
Catholics that supported active resistance against the Government. Luis
was not at home when officers arrived at his door, so they arrested his
younger brother instead.
When Luis learned that his brother had been take
away, he reported to the general and asked that he take the place of his
"I have never been a Cristero rebel", he said,
"but if you accuse me of being a Christian, then yes, that I am. Soldiers
who are going to shoot me, I want to tell you that from this moment I
pardon you, and I promise that on arriving in the presence of God you are
the first ones for whom I will intercede.Long live Christ the King and
Our Lady of Guadalupe!".
Magaña Servin was shot at 3 p.m. on 9 February 1928.
José Sánchez del Rio was born on 28 March 1913
Sahuayo, Michoacán, Mexico. Wanting to defend the faith and rights of
Catholics, he followed in the footsteps of his two older brothers and
asked his mother for permission to join the Cristeros. She objected
telling him that he was too young. "Mama", he replied, "do not let me lose
the opportunity to gain Heaven so easily and so soon".
On 5 February 1928 the young boy was captured during
a battle and imprisoned in the church sacristy. In order to terrorize him,
soldiers made him watch hanging of one of the other captured Cristeros.
But José encouraged the man, saying, "You will be Heaven before me.
Prepare a place for me. Tell Christ the King I shall be with him soon".
In prison, he prayed the Rosary and sang songs faith.
He wrote a beautiful letter to his mother telling her that he was resigned
to do God's will. José's father attempted to ransom his son, but was
unable raise the money in time.
On 10 February 1928 the teenager was brutally
tortured and the skin of the soles of his feet was sheered off; he was
then forced to walk on salt, followed walking through the town to the
cemetery. The young boy screamed with pain but would not give in.
the soldiers stopped him and said, "If you shout, 'Death to Christ the
King', we will spare your life". But he answered: "Long live Christ the
King, Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!".
Once he arrived at the
cemetery, José was asked once more if he would deny his faith. The 14 year
old shouted out: "Long live Christ the King!", and was summarily shot.
Darío Acosta Zurita was
born on 13 December 1908 in Naolinco, Mexico. He was known for his
athleticism and his gentle charitable nature.
Ángel Darío was ordained a
priest on 25 April 1931 and celebrated his First Mass in the city of Vera
Cruz on 24 May. On 26 May he began to serve as a coadjutor vicar in the
Parish of the Assumption in Vera Cruz. He was very interested in
children's catechesis and was dedicated to celebrating the Sacrament of
In the State of Vera Cruz a
decree was promulgated known as that "Tejeda Law", which reduced the
number of priests allowed in the State to end the "fanaticism of the
people", as Governor Adalberto Tejeda called it. A letter was sent to all
priests telling them to obey this law. Fr. Dario received his letter on 21
July, remaining calm and joyful as always.
On 25 July 1931 the law took
force; that same day, in the Parish of the Assumption, everything
transpired as usual: children arrived for catechism lessons and people
waited to go to confession.
At 6:10 p.m., soldiers
entered the church and opened fire on the priests. In the confusion and
chaos, Fr. Landa was gravely wounded while another priest, Fr. Rosas, was
miraculously saved, protected by the pulpit.
Fr. Darío had just come out
of the baptistry when he was hit by the bullets, having only the time to
cry out "Jesus!". He was martyred exactly three months after his priestly