August 19 – FIVE SPANISH MARTYRS IN AUGUST 1936
FIVE SPANISH MARTYRS IN AUGUST 1936
Five Spanish Brothers fell victim to the Reds in August 1936: two on the lOth and three on the 19th.
At Valls (Province of Tarragona), Br. Sebastian was the Principal of a big school and Br. Atanasio one of his nine assistants. Both, trying to reach the Provincial House at Caldetas, were recognised at the Valls station by a policeman who telephoned the militiamen. These, when the train arrived at the Garraf station, identified the two fugitives with the declaration of a co-passenger who was a former pupil of the school at Valls. The Brothers were taken away and gunned down on lOth August at the Malazona pass on the mountain that overlooks the little town of Garraf (Province of Barcelona). They were buried in the cemetery of Sitges.
At Castello de Ampurias, in 1933, the mayor had already imprisoned Br. Juan de la Cruz, Principal of the school, because he had distributed to the pupils reviews published by the Jesuit Fathers. Compelled to release him under pressure from the population, he awaited his day of reckoning. On 23 July 1936 he had the school attacked by the police in order to take the three Brothers by surprise and to shoot them. But they had been warned by a woman who hid them in an empty house. Wanting to reach the nearby French border they came out of their hiding at dawn on 17 August and reached close to the village of Garriguellas in the evening. Looking for a farm belonging to one of their benefactresses, they asked some peasants thrashing wheat for the way there. These immediately went to inform the village committee about the presence of three “fascists”. The Brothers were arrested and interrogated. They were led to Figueras on the 18th. At dawn on the 19th they were gunned down inside the cemetery of the place and thrown into a common pit. For many, Figueras is the place of Salvador Dali museum (the famous surrealistic painter was born there). For the Brothers of St Gabriel, it is first of all the place of martyrdom of three of theirs.
Is it necessary to remind ourselves that there are other kinds of martyrdom? For example, some Brothers who died on this 19 August have experienced it too.
Br. Jean du Sacre Creur, after 10 years of service at the technical school of Dire-Dawa (Ethiopia) was killed by a violent fever at just 42 years of age.
Br. Montfort del Rosario, who had spent all his active life in Thailand and who very much wanted to be buried there, had to accept to die.in Spain where he had gone for medical treatment. He was the first Brother to be buried in La Aguilera.
Br. Jean-Joseph Baron, teacher in Gabon and then bursar of the Province of Central Africa, was repatriated as a sick man to France and died at age 45.
Br. Gerard Savoie who left Canada at 66 years of age to render service in Peru, died there three weeks after his arrival.