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Blessed Brother Bernardo, Laurentino, Virgílio and companions martyrs



Memorial of the Martyrs in Spain

06/11/2012: General House

Today, 6 November, the Marist Institute celebrates the liturgical memorial of Brothers Bernardo, Laurentino, Virgílio and 44 companions, victims of the religious persecution which broke out on the Church and the Spanish nation in the first half of the XX century. In October 2007, they were beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, along with 451 other Christians, as « Martyrs of the Faith ». They are the first fruits of Marist sanctity recognized by the Church after the Founder, Saint Marcellin Champagnat.

When Brothers Seán Sammon and Emili Turú informed the Institute of the beatification of these martyrs, they said: « The Church has defined them as ‘martyrs of the Christian education of youth’, for, depite the persecution, they did everything possible to them to remain faithful to the children and young people who had been entrusted to them.» And they added: «it would be good for us to consider them as models of the Marist mission, in its best expression.»

Let us thank God for the witness of these Brothers and of so many others who, day after day, have been (and still are!) reflections of the love of Jesus Christ for poor children and young people on the dehumanised «frontiers», often exposed to serious threats to their lives. It is God himself who « constantly renews the gift of Marist martyrs and saints to show us new horizons of passionate commitment to Jesus Christ and his Gospel» (Water from the Rock, 154).

Blessed Brothers Bernardo, Laurentino, Virgílio and companions martyrs, pray for us!

Br Rafael Ferreira Júnior
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