Eleven Martyrs of Almeria, Spain
Feast Day: October 10
The Spanish civil war began in 1936. It was a struggle between those who believed in God and those who did not believe in God.
So the non-believers attacked the Catholic Church. In three years, 12 bishops; 4,184 priests; 2,365 monks and 300 nuns were killed for the faith.
Today we celebrate eleven of those martyrs:
2 bishops who were from Almeria and Gaudix in Spain
1 priest Father Pedro Castroverde who was a well-known scholar and founder of the Teresian Association
7 Brothers who were teachers at St. Joseph College in Almeria a Christian School, and
1 young lay woman Victoria Diez Molina who joined the Teresians because she had found a spiritual treasure in the way this group prayed and lived their Christian responsibilities. Victoria was a teacher in a country school and was very active in her parish.
All eleven martyrs chose to die for Jesus rather than give up their Catholic faith.
Brother Aurelio Maria, soon to be killed, was the director of St. Joseph College. He said: "What happiness for us if we could shed our blood for the lofty ideal of Christian education. Let us double our fervor so to become worthy of such an honor."
Bishop Medina of Gaudix said: "We have done nothing to deserve death. But I forgive you so that the Lord will also forgive us. May our blood be the last shed in Almeria."
Bishop Ventaja of Almeria had many chances to escape from the country. But he chose to remain with his suffering people, his suffering Church.
Father Castroverde, the Teresian founder, wrote this beautiful prayer in his diary before he was killed on July 28, 1936:
"Lord, may I think what you want me to think.
May I desire what you want me to desire.
May I speak as you want me to speak.
May I work as you want me to work."
Victoria Molina was put in prison on August 11, 1936. She and seventeen others were taken to an abandoned mine-shaft to die. Victoria comforted the others and said: "Come on, our reward is waiting for us." Her last words were: "Long live Christ the King."
We can ask these eleven heroes of God to give us their strength and courage which was given to them by God.
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