Sunday, 2 September 2012

Blessed Martyrs of Barbastro - Pray for us

Barbastro is the Spanish town nearest the Shrine at Torreciudad  and the birthplace of St Josemaria Escriva. In 1936 an Anarchist mob brutally disrupted life among the  Claretian Missionaries (an order founded by St Anthony Mary Claret) Between August 10th - 15th 51 priests and young seminarians were martyred here. The mob, which took them in small groups outside the town and executed them by firing squad, cried "We hate your profession, your black cassocks" and "Death to the priests and destruction to religion" They had tried to persuade these young men to renounce their Catholic faith yet not only did they stand firm in their resolve, they went to their deaths in so courageous a manner as to inspire us all in our faith.
Their remains are housed in the crypt of the church in Barbastro, each one identified by the name tag on their cassocks. A small museum tells the story of their last days on earth and most moving are their last messages written to family and friends on chocolate bar wrappers, handkerchiefs and even underneath the piano stool:-
"They are killing us out of hatred for religion. Domine, dimitte illis! (Father, forgive them!). In our house, we offered no resistance. In jail, our conduct was above reproach. Long live the Immaculate Heart of Mary! They are going to shoot us only for being religious. No ploreu per mi. Soc martir de Jesucrist (Don't cry for me, I am a martyr of Jesus Christ)." (Salvador Pigem, C.M.F.)
"Mama, don't cry. Jesus is asking me for my blood; I am going to shed it out of love for Him. I will be a martyr. I'm going to heaven. I will be waiting for you there." Salvador 8/12/36

Read more details here

When we come to Barbastro we visit the museum and venerate their remains in the crypt of the church.

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