July 24, 2008

Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara

Bl. Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia
Bl. Teresa of the Child Jesus & St. John of the Cross
Bl. Maria Angeles of St. Joseph
Virgins - 1877, 1909, & 1905 - 1936 – Optional Memorial – July 24

On July 24th, 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Communist troops murdered three Discalced Carmelite Nuns at the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain. They were: Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (age 58/born Jacoba Martinez Garcia - at Tarazona, Zaragoza on December 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (age 27/born Eusebia Garcia y Garcia - at Mochales on March 5, 1909), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (age 31/born Marciana Valtierra Tordesillas - at Getafe on March 6, 1905).

After having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and offered their lives for the Church. They were the first fruits, of the many martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.

On July 22, with soldiers roaming the city, the eighteen nuns of the Monastery of St. Joseph scattered through the streets disguised in secular clothes. Some found shelter with Catholic families, and Sisters Maria of the Angels, Maria Pilar, and Teresa, along with two other nuns, hid in the basement of the Hibernia Hotel. Two days later, the five left the hotel, two going to a nearby boarding house, the three martyrs making their way up a street. A soldier eating lunch in a parked jeep recognized them and shouted to her companions, "Shoot them! They are nuns!"

Sr. Maria of the Angels died instantly when a bullet struck her in the heart. Sr. Maria Pilar, also hit, cried out, "Viva Cristo Rey (Long live Christ the King)!" The soldiers, furious at the pious exclamation, shot her repeatedly and slashed her with a knife. She died, having lost most of her blood, saying, "My God, pardon them. They don't know what they're doing."

Sr. Teresa was not harmed, and a soldier, pretend¬ing concern, gathered some of his com¬panions and led Teresa to a nearby cemetery, apparently intending to rape her. As they went, she spoke out fearlessly against them, and they angrily insisted she praise communism. To each of their commands she cried, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (“Long live Christ the King”). Told to walk a few steps ahead, she spread her arms in the form of a cross and was shot in the back.

Pope John Paul II beatified them in 1987

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