Remembering The Oblate Martyrs of Spain
The Beatification of twenty-two Oblate Spanish Martyrs, and one layman who were executed during the 1936 Spanish Civil War took place Saturday, December 17th in Madrid, Spain. This November 28th, we remembered them with a special ceremony at Oblate Missions Lourdes Grotto and the unveiling of the “Martires Oblatos de España” Pastoral Center. The center which has served the San Antonio community for many years will now take the new name in honor of the Martyrs of Spain.
On July 20, 1936, churches and convents were again set on fire, especially in Madrid. The militiamen of Pozuelo assaulted a chapel of the Estacion neighborhood, flung images and vestments onto the street and burn them. Then they set the chapel and parish on fire. On July 22, armed militiamen assaulted the monastery and detained 38 religious,putting them under guard.
After searching the house for weapons, they only found religious paintings, images, crucifixes, rosaries and sacred vestments. They threw everything from the upper floors to the ground floor through the stairwell and burnt it all on the street.
On the 24th, the first executions took place. There were no interrogations, trials or defense. Seven religious were the first to be called and sentenced. The rest of the religious remained imprisoned in the monastery and spent the time in prayer, preparing to die well. They endured a slow martyrdom of hunger, cold, terror and threats. There are testimonies from survivors of the way they accepted that difficult situation with heroic patience, foreseeing the possibility of martyrdom. Charity and a climate of silent prayer reigned among them. For the majority of them, the end of their Calvary came in November.
All died professing the faith and forgiving their executioners and, despite the psychological tortures during their cruel captivity, no one apostatized, or failed in the faith, or lamented having embraced the religious vocation.
Last July, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the date of the beatification of these twenty-two Oblate Martyrs.
Source excerpts from: ZENIT, Rome News Agency