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Remembering the Marist brother martyrs of Spain

17/01/2008: Spain

On the initiative of Brother Manuel Jorques a gathering was held at the Provincial House in Guardamar (Alicante, Spain) on December 26, 2007. All Brothers of the Mediterránea Province were invited to the meeting, held to pay tribute to the martyred Marist Brothers of Spain recently beatified in Rome. Sixty six Brothers attended the gathering, most coming from the Spanish sector of the Province.

The celebration started at 11:30 in the morning with the presentation of a booklet written by Brother Francisco Báscones. The booklet is a collection of short biographies, one for each of the recently beatified Brothers. After the book was distributed, the floor was given over to Brothers Peruchena and Daniel Gutiérrez who are survivors of the fateful day, October 8, 1936. The two Brothers retraced step by step the hours leading up the martyrdom which occurred in the prison where their forty six confreres were being held. All who heard the Brothers’ words were deeply touched by their testimony to a real life experience, by the power and conviction of their words, and by the emotion with which they retold their story. The two Brothers were part of a group of sixty one Brothers who in all probability were to be executed a few hours later.

Then there was a Mass held to thank God for the witness given by the new Marist Brother martyrs. A banquet brought to a close this day which had deeply touched all who were present.

More than half of the forty seven Brothers who were beatified on October 28 were members of one or other community presently belonging to the Mediterránea Province. Specifically, Brother Laurentino, Provincial at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, had been assigned to Cartagena in l900 where he stayed until 1912, becoming Director of the city’s Marist school in his final years.

Brother Anselmo, Felipe José, Gaudencio, José Carmelo, Porfirio and Prisciliano carried on their apostolic work at one time or other in: Valencia, Alicante, Murcia or Catagena. Some of the Brothers were even Directors of schools in these cities. Other Brothers worked in such places as Alcoy and Cullera. In the cities of Andalousia too, certain Brothers had worked: e.g.; Brothers Ismael and Gil Felipe (Jaén), Alberto María and Prisciliano (Lucena), Isaías María (Málaga) and Dionisio Martín (Larache, Maroc). Of the Brothers in the group, Juan de Mata was a native of the Murcia province.

Brother Leopoldo José had lived in Italy, residing in Ventimiglia from l916 to 1919, and later in Mondovì for an additional year.

We conclude with Brother Bernardo Fàbrega, the martyr of Barruello, executed in l934. He was assigned to Valencia in l914, “because,” - his words - “Brother Provincial wished to help me out with my program of studies.” Brother Bernardo’s blood brother, Brother Andrés, was a member of the former Levante Province.

Bro. José Delgado García

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