[Provinces of Spain] The 11th of November 60 victims of religious persecution in the 20th century – priests, consecrated and lay people of the Vincentian Family from diverse places of Spain – will be recognized by the Church as martyrs of Christ and beatified in Madrid by Cardinal Amato, delegate of Pope Francis. Cardinal Carlos Osoro, Archbishop of Madrid, has written a letter to Parish Priests, directors of Educational Centers and other Institutions of the diocesan Church of Madrid as well as to all priests, consecrated and faithful people. He said he feels that the whole diocesan community is implied in this celebration of martyrs, since “Evangelisation is done by the communion of saints.” At the same time, the Cardinal also said that the pilgrims of the Vincentian Family, “of other places of Spain and of the whole world will be very welcome for this Feast of the martyrs.” In the celebration of the 400th anniversary of this missionary charism, he highlighted the happiness of being, “able to give thanks to God together for that great gift”. AND, at this moment, with Saint Vincent de Paul in the center: “How good it is to have right now the example and the intercession of these brothers and sisters who lived the Vincentian Charism to the supreme testimony of giving their lives for love of God and love of their brothers and sisters!”
Faces with their own name
The new martyrs are 40 Vincentian Missionaries, 24 priests and 16 brothers, 2 Daughters of Charity, 13 lay people of the Vincentian Associations and five diocesan priests from Murcia, Advisers of those Lay Associations. “All gave their life for Christ and with Him during the persecution of the thirties of the last 20th century, in several places of Spain.” The Cardinal pointed out that most of them (39) received the Palm of Martyrdom in Madrid, while a good group is linked to the Basilica of the Miraculous Medal: 14 missionaries and 6 Lay people from Chamberi neighborhood, fathers of families that were members of “Gentlemen of the Miraculous Medal Association”. Of the ten other Missionaries from Atocha Mission House, six belonged to Hortaleza Formation House, three to Valdemoro Mission House and one to the small community of Fernandez de la Hoz Street. The other 21 gave their testimony in Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia. From Barcelona were three Vincentian Missionaries and two Daughters of Charity; another Vincentian was murdered in Gerona; in Valencia two Vincentians and 1 young Son of Mary; in Murcia a Vincentian, five Diocesan priests and six lay Children of Mary of the Miraculous Medal.
Charity with the poor and sick
Cardinal Osoro, also mentioned the servants of God José María Fernández Sánchez and Vincent Queralt Lloret. “They headed up the causes introduced in Madrid and Valencia respectively.” Fr José María, an Austrian who lived in Madrid, had been missionary in India and was subdirector of the Daughters of Charity in Spain. Fr Vincent was from Catalan, was a preacher of Popular Missions, “evangelizing the youth as a musician and poet,” residing in Barcelona. He also mentioned the Servants of God Sor Toribia Marticorena Sola and Sor Dorinda Sotelo Rodríguez, Daughters of Charity, “who cared for those with tuberculous in Barcelona”. Among the new martyrs there is a good group of lay people, single and married, young and adults, that cultivated their faith and practiced charity to the poor and sick persons, in the Associations encouraged by Saint Vincent’s charism and the devotion to the Immaculate Virgin of the Miraculous Medal. He also remembered the words of Saint Vincent de Paul referring to the Congregation of the Mission: “How many reasons we have to give thanks to Our Lord who has given to this Company the spirit of martyrdom, this light and grace that makes it see as something big, luminous, splendid and divine, dying for their neighbour in imitation of our Lord!”. He continued, we would like to be able to say the same of each one of us and of each one of our communities and institutions in the Church of Madrid”. This way, “the new martyrs helped us with their example and intercession.”
We need the spirit of Martyrdom
In the ecclesiastical Province of Madrid, he added, we already, “honor the sepulchres of 400 saints and devout martyrs of the 20th century. To them we pray, “to intercede for us: we need the spirit of martyrdom to be authentic witness of the Resurrection of the Lord; to go out of ourselves bringing the love of God to all, especially to people who are sick and poor”. Only in this way, “will our plans of evangelisation be effective”. And he concluded by praying the Queen of Martyrs and congratulating the Vincentian Family “for the new martyrs, his children.” For them we, “give thanks to God and to the generations of men and women that embodied and embody today among us the charism of Saint Vincent. The new martyrs will be, without a doubt, a spiritual force that will invigorate the fidelity of that beautiful charism.”