St. Teresa of Jesus
Saint Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) is the fountain of inspiration and orientation and the Mother Foundress of the Teresian Carmel. She was born in Avila to the family of Cepeda y Ahumada, March 28, 1515.
She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 20 in the Monastery of the Incarnation in the city where she was born. She remained there 27 years until August 24, 1562 when she inaugurated her own new Carmel. Through new and strong ecclesial experiences, she continued by order of the Superior General, Juan Bautista Rubeo, to found 17 foundations in Spain beginning in 1567. One year later, November 28, 1568, she organized with St. John of the Cross the beginning of the new life of the Discalced Carmelites in Duruelo, in the Province of Avila. At the age of 67 she died a daughter of the Church in the monastery of Alba de Tormes in the afternoon of October 4, 1582.
Her communities were to be little colleges of Christ, aspiring to live faithfully the evangelic counsels, founded on prayer as a friendship with one whom we know loves us, and a community of equals and friends, giving themselves completely for the good of the Church. The friars were to have the same contemplative heart and dedicate themselves generously to activity in the service of the Church.
A lover of reading since her childhood, she wrote a few books to clarify her conscience before her confessors and spiritual directors or in order to help others on the spiritual path at the request of superiors and her own Carmelite sisters. The Book of Life or Autobiography is an x-ray of her interior life in search of God. In this search she clings with cordial passion to Christ the Man, who becomes for her a living book. The Way of Perfection is a book of formation for the first generation of Carmelite nuns, above all in regard to the life of prayer and fraternal life in community according to the new ideals of Carmel. The Interior Castle or the Book of the Mansions is a narration of the process of her mystical experience, centered on Christ and the mystery of the Trinity. In the Book of Foundations she recounts the anecdotal history, external and personal, of the monasteries she founded until Burgos in 1582.
Along with her major works her minor writings, always rich in spiritual content and literary value, should be taken into account. Teresa of Jesus is a writer who gives witness to her convictions, her experience and the work of God in her soul. A captivating sincerity runs through all her writings. An exceptional collection of 500 letters have been conserved. There is manifested a diverse world of addressees with whom she dealt in the Iberian Peninsula, in Rome and in America. Above all, the humanity of daily life spontaneously appears and the grand ideals of her soul, the loving entrustment to the divine, to Christ and His Church, embodied with the total naturalness of her relations, her preoccupations and her state of mind.
St. Teresa of Jesus has her own place in the history of Christian mysticism and Spanish literature. She was beatified April 24, 1614 and canonized March 12, 1622. On September 18, 1965, Pope Paul VI named her Principle Patron of Spanish Catholic Writers of Spain. The same Pope declared her the first woman Doctor of the Church on September 27, 1970.
St. John of the Cross
Juan de Yepes was born in Fontiveros (Avila) in the year 1542. He entered the Carmelite Order in Medina del Campo and in 1567 he was ordained a priest in Salamanca. The summer of that year he met Mother Teresa of Jesus in Medina del Campo. At the time of that fortunate encounter the Foundress was 52 and the santico fray Juan was 25.
The intuition of St. Teresa was accurate and undeniable. From then on these two great mystic authors of Christianity walked together in the history of Carmel and Christian spirituality. Won over by her for the new ideal of Carmel, John of the Cross initiated the new experience of the Carmelite life with Fr. Antonio de Jesus and others in Duruelo, Avila, on November 28, 1568.
He shines with his own light in Carmel and the Church. He was the formator of the first Teresian Carmeitles in various houses of formation and the director and spiritual master of Carmelite nuns and the laity in Castile and Andalusia. He instructed and encouraged them by his preaching but his special charism was manifested more in his spiritual direction. He had responsibility for government in the houses and in the religious Province. A lack of comprehension within the Order caused him to be imprisoned for almost nine months in the monastery jail of Toledo. This cramped environment without light favored him with an interior introspection which he sang about in his first poems and which were the first beginnings of his future books.
His books reflect the teachings of his spiritual direction and instructions. At the beginning is the poem, almost beyond analysis for its inspiration, its allegory and its symbolism. The analytical commentary follows with liberty, but which can be so inspired for the profound theology and for the astonishing poetic revelation. Standing out in all his teachings and commentaries is the image of the living Christ. As the foundation and reason for all asceticism and spirituality he recommends having an habitual desire to imitate Christ in all your deeds, conforming your self to his life which you must study in order to know how to imitate it. (Asc. BK. I, 13,3)
In the standard classification, which is imperfect since it does not take into account the unity and profundity of his thought, his books: Ascent of Mount Carmel and the Dark Night are considered ascetical works. Writings of the mystical level are the Spiritual Canticle (also called Songs that treat of the exercise of love between the soul and Christ the Spouse) and the Living Flame of Love. Other minor writings follow, such as the Cautions, the Sayings of Light and Love and the Letters and various Poems.
Because of his subtle analysis of the human soul with its destiny and tendencies, the written works of St. John of the Cross give rise to interest by Psychology, Mysticism and literature. His own total longing is for union of pure love with God: there the impassable and mysterious divine transcendence leaves a glimmer and at the same time makes its closeness felt to the point of being the same center of the human person. For the serene and captivating tension of this intimate transcendence his writings are, surely, read today more than ever, inside and outside the Christian faith.
He died in Ubeda, on the night of December 13 towards midnight in 1591. His body rests in Segovia. Beatified on January 25, 1`675 and canonized in 1726, two centuries later on August 24, 1926, Pius XI declared him a Doctor of the Church for his teachings in the domain of mysticism.
Wisdom from Carmel
"I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was aflame with Love. I understood that Love alone stirred the members of the Church to act... I understood that Love encompassed all vocations, that Love was everything."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, Manuscript B
“Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.”
St. John of the Cross
"All my longing was and still is that since He has so many enemies and so few friends that these few friends be good ones."
St. Teresa of Jesus
Interior Castle, VI, 10.7
“Loving is giving all, and giving oneself.”
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Why I love thee, Mary, P 54/22
"One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it."
St. John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, 35
"What hope can we have of finding rest outside of ourselves if we cannot be at rest within?"
St. Teresa of Jesus
Interior Castle, II, 1.9
"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, Manuscript C
“Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.”
St. John of the Cross
Degrees of Perfection, 9
"I'm not asking you to do anything more than look at Him. For who can keep you from turning the eyes of your soul toward this Lord; even if you do so just for a moment if you can't do more?"
St. Teresa of Jesus
Way of Perfection, Ch. 26.3
St. Therese of the Child Jesus & the Holy Face
Cheerfulness and transparency together with an original wisdom and strength are some of the traits of this young and popular saint of Carmel. Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1873 in Aleòcon, France. A few years later the family moved to Lisieux upon the death of the mother when Therese was on four years old.
In April of 1888 she entered the Carmel of Lisieux only for Jesus. Her two older sisters had already entered there. The Franciscan priest Alexis Prou launched her full sail on the waves of confidence and love. At eighteen years of age she discovered the fascinating teachings of St. John of the Cross. But above all, her spiritual nourishment was the Word of God, especially the Gospels. The malady of her father around this time was a cause of great moral sufferings.
Always mindful of the missions, the collection of her letters with her two spiritual brothers who were missionaries, Maurice Bellière and Adolphe Roulland, put her in contact with the exceptional dimension of the evangelizing Church. This missionary awareness was strengthened by the knowledge of the possibility that she might be sent to the Carmel in Saigon and Hanoi in Vietnam, a prospect that was never realized due to her illness. From her own interior life and as the assistant to the Novice Mistress she acquired an admirable experience of how Jesus communicates directly to souls. Feeling the attraction of various vocations, charity gave to her the key to her contemplative vocation in the Church: In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Loveand thus I shall be everything. (Ms B v3)
The great discovery of her life was that God is merciful love and that He is approached by confidence and simplicity while remaining always in humility and spiritual poverty.
By Easter of 1896 a grave and mortal illness was manifested. At the same time, she entered into a devastating spiritual night which lasted until her death. Learning from her own experience, she comprehended the atheists for whom she now felt doubly a sister. In the infirmary of the convent her Sister Agnes of Jesus began to write down the words and observations of the sick and dying Therese. These constitute the Last Conversations. In the afternoon of September 30, 1897 she dies with the words: My God, I love you.
The Story of a Soul or Autobiographical Manuscripts is the most read religious book after the Bible in the 20th century. It was the origin of numerous religious and priestly vocations and many conversions. Also important are her letters, poems, plays for the convent recreations and prayers. Authentic photographs of her are also printed.
She was called the greatest saint of modern times by Pope Pius X. Pius XI considered her the star of my pontificate, and he canonized her on May 25 1925. On December 14, 1927 he proclaimed her the universal patron of the Missions. With the Papal Bull Divini Amoris Scientia on October 19, 1997 Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church.
OUR TUCSON MARTYRS
The following five Blesseds served in our community in Tucson in one way or another. They were martyred in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
BLESSED FR. LUCAS OF ST. JOSEPH
Fr. Lucas of St. Joseph (José Tristany Pujol) was born on December 14, 1872. He was only six months old when his father died. It became such a hardship that his mother, Rosa, had to ask her older sons and daughter to live on their own. She took with her the two younger boys to live near a hermitage on the estate called Saint Justin. They later moved to the town of Cardona where Rosa died shortly after. Jose, as a child, was taken in by a neighboring farm family that hoped to eventually train him to be a sheep herder. This only lasted for a short time until his Uncle Antonio and Aunt Margarita brought José to their home in Tarragona after his older brother, Meliton, who became known as Ludovico of the Sacred Hearts, entered the Discalced Carmelite Order.
At fifteen years of age, he began his studies in Humanities at the seminary. At age eighteen, Jose, along with his relatives, made a visit to the Carmelite Desert Monastery of Las Palmas—the same monastery where his brother had lived. He began his novitiate there in 1890 and made his first profession of vows the following year. He made his solemn vows in 1894 at the hands of his brother, Fr. Ludovico. After his ordination to the priesthood on May 27, 1899, Fr. Lucas was made superior and professor of Philosophy.
He became well known for his preaching and spiritual writings. His great intellectual capacity was coupled with a warm, generous heart that he placed at the service of God, the Order, and souls.
Fr. Lucas was sent to Mexico in 1902 where his apostolic work began in Mazatlan and Durango. His personality attracted many people and helped in the building up of the good name of the Carmelites. As a result, the bishop of Mazatlan requested more friars for ministry and handed over to them a parish in the city with Fr. Lucas being appointed its first pastor. Soon after these negotiation, Fr. Lucas contracted typhoid that almost cost him his life were it not for the diligent care of a religious sister who was a nurse.
The religious persecution in Mexico brought the Discalced Carmelites to the Diocese of Tucson in the United States in 1912. The Catalonian Carmelites vigorously served twenty-two mission churches in the surrounding mining towns and camps. Fr. Lucas left the United States and returned to Barcelona when he was elected provincial of the Catalonian Province in 1924. A year later, Fr. Lucas was transferred to Rome to serve as general definitor. After completing his tenure there in 1933, he returned to Barcelona and served as prior. In 1936, he assumed the office of provincial and was stationed at the Carmelite monastery in Barcelona.
By election time in February 1936, the Popular Front Party, comprised of liberals, socialists, and communists with anarchist support, had taken power over the government. In July, the military rose up against the Popular Front government, which in turn called the working-class organizations to bear arms in response. The uprising turned into a civil war and thereby began what one historian called “the greatest clerical bloodletting in the entire history of the Christian Church.”
On the morning of July 19, 1936, the quiet streets of Barcelona had turned into a battlefield when nationalist troops were sent to secure the cross streets near the Carmelite monastery. The friars there were awakened in the early morning by shouts and banging at the door. The banging at the door was increasingly frantic— shouting through the door that the wounded needed care. The monastery door was opened and infantry men from the Santiago cavalry barged in bringing with them several armed soldiers.
The community had rapidly set up an infirmary in the largest room in the monastery close to the entrance. They had laid the wounded on mattresses that the friars had taken from all their cells. Food was scarce for so many inside, but the friars made sure that the wounded and fatigued were well nourished, even if it meant abstaining from food themselves.
An American reporter, Magan Laird, was vacationing with her family at an apartment across from the monastery when she heard what sounded like firecrackers and rockets. But when she looked out of her apartment and found no one coming out, she knew something was wrong: “The first sign of life is a private car coming rapidly up Calle Lluria … It stops in the next block in front of the church and monastery of the Carmelites. Two assault guards get out hurriedly, grasp the rifles in firing position, and station themselves behind a tree. At the same moment, I see other assault guards running, rifles in their hands, down the diagonal, another block away … There is a crackle and a puff of smoke from the tower of the Carmelite church. In the street below, an assault guard, sheltered behind a tree knoll, raises his rifle and fires … this is no fiesta. This is war.”
In the midst of this chaos, the whole Carmelite community was able to celebrate Sunday Mass and pray the Divine Office. As evening drew near, the wounded were transferred to the library where they would be safer and make more space for the incoming troops from the street. The Carmelites did not go back to their cells but attended to the needs of the soldiers and prisoners who had been captured by the military. “The night air is very cold … here and there, among darkened buildings of the city, rises a column of white, heavy smoke. They are burning the churches…” Early Monday morning, the friars celebrated Mass in the middle of gunfire, which was heavier than Sunday.
Throughout the morning, many officers and troops inside came to the Carmelites to be enrolled in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. With no reinforcements to relieve the soldiers, it was a matter of time before they could no longer hold down the monastery. Fr. Lucas, the provincial, proceeded to distribute all the consecrated hosts to be consumed. Shortly after this, everyone was alerted that there was an agreement to surrender, with the condition that the lives of the officers, the troops, the wounded, and the religious be spared. For safety, the Carmelites were told not to wear their habits outside, One friar recalls: “We took off our Carmelite habits and clothed ourselves in civilian attire … all of us were ready to die after having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.”
The mob had infiltrated the monastery by breaking doors and windows. The civil guard was able to give some of the friars a safe passage outside, but the mob became so uncontrollable that there was no longer any guarantee for their safety. Witnesses testify to seeing Fr. Lucas as he came out of the monastery through the smaller door adjacent to the tower bell with his face covered with blood, his head bandaged with a colored handkerchief, and accompanied by two civil guards. The mob wanted to lynch Father, but the soldiers forced them back telling them they wanted to take him to the authorities.
As they approached Diagonal Avenue, one of the civil guards with him said, “I gave you my word that I will save your life.” From a distance, however, a patrol shot the guard in the head killing him. Fr. Lucas was ordered to walk down the Avenue and “with an uncertain gait, he staggers slowly down the Diagonal, his palms joined before his breast praying.” After walking a few yards, he was shot from behind and fell to the ground. Wounded, Fr. Lucas was able to crawl some distance before he died near a small oak tree in front of a doctor’s clinic on Diagonal Avenue. Fr. Lucas was lying on the ground with his face turned to the Carmelite monastery until 8 o’clock that night when a Red Cross ambulance from Lluria Street came to take away the body.
BLESSED FR. EDUARDO OF THE CHILD JESUS
Fr. Eduardo of the Child Jesus (Eduardo Farre Masip y Soler) was born April 20, 1897, in Torms in the Province of Lerida. The last-born of three, his mother died upon giving birth to him. He was known to be a very serious child and was not as playful as other children his age. It seemed that growing up without a mother’s love had affected him. This could have contributed to his introverted personality and character. His intelligence made him apt for studies.
At the age of ten, Eduardo entered the minor seminary to begin his studies in the Humanities in which he excelled. When he was twelve years old, he was taken by a priest friend of the family, Fr. Deogracias, to the Carmelite monastery in Tarragona to continue his studies. He entered the novitiate in Tarragona at the age of fifteen and made his first profession on August 10, 1913, and solemn vows in 1916. As a student, Eduardo demonstrated an exceptional aptitude for literature. His poems were recognized by the Academia Mariana of Lerida and won prizes at Juegos Florales of San Andres-Barcelona.
Completing his studies in 1919, Eduardo was eight months away from the required age to be ordained. He was dispensed from this requirement, was ordained by Bishop Jose Miralles Shert in Lerida on June 13, 1920, and celebrated his first Mass at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery in Lerida.
That same year, he was assigned to Durango and remained there for three years. At this time, religious persecution in Mexico had targeted Fr. Eduardo; and he had to find refuge urgently. Friends of his were able to help him flee the country to the United States by disguising him as a newspaper reporter mounted on horseback.
Through donations that he received for his preaching and ministry, he was able to pay for his journey to Tucson.
The Province assigned Fr. Eduardo prior of the monastery in Washington, DC, which had been inaugurated and blessed by Bishop Thomas Shanahan in the presence of Fr. José Maria Isasi and Fr. Pascasio on the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila on October 15, 1916. As prior in 1927, he faced critical issues regarding the running and operation of some properties there, which he was able to solve with the help of God.
After spending nine years in the Americas, Fr. Eduardo returned to Spain for the Provincial Chapter in 1930 where he was elected to the General Chapter as an associate. Although he was elected superior of the Carmelite monastery in Washington, DC, for a third term, he declined to take the position offered him and instead went to Guatemala to investigate the possibilities of establishing a Carmelite presence there. By the next Provincial Chapter in May 1936, he was elected prior of the monastery in Tarragona.
Fr. Eduardo was preaching a novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the Carmelite nuns in Tiana, for it was a custom at that monastery to begin the novena on the 16th. On the feast day of St. Elijah (July 20), Fr. Eduardo received news of the war and urged the nuns to be ready to leave the cloister.
By mid-morning, they saw their neighbouring church on fire and rapidly changed into civilian clothes and left the cloister safely. Outside, before they parted to take refuge at family homes, the nuns knelt for a blessing from Fr. Eduardo who told them that this could be their last meeting—“until we meet again in heaven.” Frs. Gabriel and Eduardo took refuge at the home of the Noruega family.
The fathers found a welcoming and loving home where they could feel protected. Perhaps such notion of safety and optimism made the priests less cautious and fearless of their surroundings. The priests would secretly go to the nuns to celebrate Mass for them until it became too dangerous. At 6 o’clock in the evening of July 25, as the priests and family were at home, they saw about thirty militia men running in formation past the house with more riding in privately-owned vehicles.
Some of them surrounded the Noruega’s house and entered through the door demanding to register and inspect the household. Mr. Noruega, realizing that the inspection might cost the lives of the priests, asked them what to do. Fr. Gabriel suggested that he tell them they were just friends of the family.
However Fr. Eduardo with great fervour and courage strongly disagreed and said that they should know who they were. As the militia interrogated the family and turned to the priests, these words were heard: “Yes sir! We are two Discalced Carmelite friars!” They seized them immediately and took them to headquarters. The friars were transferred to a large truck where a woman armed with a rifle directed them on board.
That was the last time they were seen. It is speculated that their bodies were buried in common graves perhaps near the town of Montcada. Fr. Eduardo died at the age of 39.
BLESSED FATHER PEDRO OF ST. ELIJAH
Fr. Pedro of St. Elijah (Pedro Heriz Aguiluz), was born on February 22, 1867, in Barujuén-Aramayona (Alava), Spain and was the son of Domingo and Clara. He had a twin brother who later became know as Pascasio of the Virgin of Carmel and a third brother who was married. His parents were farmers and religiously devout. At a young age, he was sent to Alava to learn Castillian with other youngsters of Vasconia, who were given grammar lessons by the local priest.
Before being called to fulfill his military obligation in 1889, young Pedro worked in the mines in Somorrostro. Even as a young military man, Pedro pervaded an aura of simplicity, piety, and innocence that remained with him his whole life. Upon fulfilling military service, his twin brother, Pascasio, was the first to enter the Carmelite Order and, in a letter addressed to Pedro, he said, “I have found the Order I was longing for; it is the Order of the Virgin of Carmel. You too can come!”
And he did. At the age of twenty-two, Pedro was clothed on July 13, 1889, in the monastery of Larrea in Vizcaya; and one year later he made his first vows. Sent to Burgos to study Philosophy and Theology, Pedro developed a severe respiratory ailment that prevented him from completing his studies. His ailment did not prevent him from being ordained to the priesthood with his class on December 21, 1897. He remained in Burgos to complete the courses he had missed and to allow time for his lungs to heal.
Fr. Pedro was assigned to Mexico after three years of being ordained priest and worked there for eleven years, mostly in Mexico City, Durango, Orizaba, Mazatlan, Colima and Guadalajara. He led a very active life, yet he nourished his religious life with prayers, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. He was often sought for spiritual direction and confessions, especially by priests and those who were discerning religious life. In the pulpit, he fostered simplicity by his short but profound preaching that was well received by the public. His optimism and youthful energy attracted many. Although Fr. Pedro did not possess many visible “talents” nor was he the intellectual type, his life was one of practicality marked with simplicity and service.
In 1905, Fr. Pedro, under the direction of Fr. Lucas of St. Joseph, arrived in Los Angeles, California, with hopes of extending the Province by establishing a novitiate in the United States. He was well received by the bishop who offered an old Franciscan mission with the condition that it be staffed with English-speaking priests. Unfortunately no priest was immediately available, and the bishop eventually turned it over the Fathers of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Political pressures in Mexico signaled the Carmelites to try again. And in 1911, Fr. Pedro arrived in Arizona. The only person he knew in Tucson was Fr. Virgilio Genevieve whom he had known in Mazatlan. Fr. Virgilio explained to Bishop Granjon how well the Carmelites had taken care of him when he had developed a serious illness in Mexico and how diligently Fr. Pedro attended to him. Convinced of his good intentions, the bishop had his vicar general, Fr. Peter Zimmermann, extend an invitation to preach at the Cathedral of St. Augustine. Impressed by his simplicity, youthfulness, and profound religious spirit, Bishop Granjon offered him a small church in the mining town of Winkleman in 1912.
The building structure was so poor and the early of ministry so humble it reminded many of the simple beginnings of the Discalced Carmelites friars in times of St. John of the Cross. So, Winkleman earned the nickname the “Duruelo” of the United States after the first house of Carmelite friars in the village of El Duruelo in sixteenth century Spain. Witnesses say Fr. Pedro led the life of an apostle and of a saint, even-tempered and edifying with great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In April of 1930, he returned to Catalonia in Spain after he was elected as provincial definitor and novice master. Even after returning from Arizona, Fr. Pedro maintained that same even-tempered spirit he carried as a missionary in the Americas, integrating well into the rhythm of monastic observance as a novice master of the young friars and as confessor to the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Tarragona. With a boundless love for the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Fr. Pedro made sure to pass it on to his novices and to the people who sought his spiritual direction.
At the monastery in Tarragona on July 21, the critical time arrived with news that the Anarchist (FAI) were coming to the city from Barcelona. For Fr. Pedro, the time came to take action and protect the lives of his novices. He directed them to go in pairs to the different homes of friends who lived on the outskirts of the city. The novices and the rest of the friars had abandoned the monastery by 6:30 that evening.
At a distance, they could hear and see the pealing of bells coming from the monastery of the Capuchins, which was being consumed by fire. Fr. Pedro was able to find refuge in an orchard that belonged to a group of religious sisters. Disguised as an old worker, friends warned him that he was not inconspicuous enough and was advised to leave instead. He went to the Carmelite nuns and celebrated Mass for them on July 22. Later that evening, he returned to the monastery only to find part of the building was in flames, except the canopy that housed the main statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which was still intact. He secretly hid it in one of the rooms; but when the militia returned for a second thrashing, they found the hidden statue and destroyed it.
Fr. Pedro left the war-torn site to find refuge nearby in families’ homes. It was too late. Several of them no longer wanted to host any priest for fear of being arrested and killed for doing so. Fr. Pedro spent a few nights in the streets until he was able to join two other Carmelite friars who were taking refuge with a large family.
After eighteen days had passed and still in hiding, the family faced serious hardship since the eldest son, who worked, was out of a job; and with no income and shortage of food in the city, tensions grew inside the house. The militia’s constant warning through the radio and city loudspeaker about harboring priests were an added stress. It was enough to push the eldest son to go to the militia’s outpost and make a declaration regarding the religious in his house.
On August 6, three assault guards arrived and arrested Fr. Pedro and two other friars, Fr. Elipi and Bro. Damián, taking them to a prison ship. On November 11, 1936, the three Carmelite were brought out of the ship and taken to Torredembarra where they were made to stand against a cemetery wall and with their hands tied together, were shot and thrown into a common grave. Their bodies were found and exhumed in the 1940’s and were buried in the renovated Carmelite monastery in Tarragona under the altar of St. Elijah.
BLESSED FATHER VINCENTE OF THE CROSS
Fr. Vicente of the Cross (Gallén Ibáñez) was born on September 29, 1908, in Vallat, Castellón de la Plana, Spain. He was the fourth of five children born to Vicente and Maria. Shortly after the family had moved to Badalona, Vicente´s father died when he was still a young boy. In Badalona, the Carmelite friars, who ran the grammar school, became well acquainted with the Gallén family and eventually enrolled Vicente at the age of eleven.
He entered the novitiate in November of 1925 and made his first vows at the hands of Fr. Lucas of St. Joseph the following year. After only two years of Theology in Barcelona, his superiors sent him to complete his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. in 1930 where he was stationed at the Carmelite House of Studies that was within walking distance of the University. He received a degree in Canon Law in 1933. However, he was not able to continue with further studies due to illness. After his ordination to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on June 9, 1934, he was sent to Tucson, Arizona for a year to assist the pastor at Holy Family Church.
Fr. Vicente became an outstanding minister to the Native Americans, specifically to the Yaqui tribe in Arizona. He had established catechism for the children, visits to the sick, and supplied the poor with their necessities. Yet, after establishing a great ministerial service to the Yaquis, he requested to be sent back to Spain. He was assigned to the monastery in Tarragona.
BLESSED BROTHER ANGEL OF ST. JOSEPH
Brother Angel of St. Joseph (Fort Rius) was born on October 20, 1896, in Espulga de Francolí near Tarragona. His family history is scarce, but it seems that he was an only child; and his father abandoned the family shortly after he was born. As a young boy, he was trained to be a baker. Their proximity to Tarragona would have made them aware of the Carmelite monastery there.
By the time he was twenty-two years of age, he entered the Carmelite novitiate in Tarragona. He was sent to Santa Cruz Church in Tucson, Arizona in 1916 and made his first religious vows some years later at the hands of Fr. Justino Aguileta on June 2, 1921 , and professed solemn vows in 1924.
It was said that he was somewhat inconsistent and restless with an impulsive temperament, yet he possessed a profound goodness and generosity. He excelled in working with the youth with fervor and enthusiasm in Santa Cruz Church. In addition to his regular duties, Bro. Angel found enough time to organize a youth group under the patronage of St. Joseph and later was able to build a hall where the group could meet and publish an in-house magazine called Juventud once a year. He returned to Catalonia, Spain in 1934 and was assigned as porter to the monastery in Tarragona. He continued to carry out his duties with the same joy and enthusiasm.
MARTYRDOM OF FR. VINCENTE & BR. ANGEL
When the monastery in Tarragona was abandoned, Fr. Vicente found shelter at the home of Mr. Eloridieta, a Secular Order Carmelite. It was probable that his life would have been spared had the militia not been led to him by Bro. Angel who went to Mr. Eloridieta’s house to warn them of an impeding house inspection.
Although Bro. Angel was relatively safe in hiding at a warehouse, he risked being seen every time he went outside, because many people in town knew him as the porter of the monastery.
On July 25, his sense of duty combined with his restless personality drove him out from his refuge, despite the warnings of the danger outside. Unknown to him, Bro. Angel was being followed by patrols and, upon arriving to the home of Mr. Eloridieta, both friars were apprehended and taken to the headquarters of the Workers’ Party of Marxists Unity (POUM).
While being transferred to a prison ship, they were shot under a railroad bridge near the port of Tarragona on July 31. Their bodies were found three days later and taken to a common grave.
Fr. Adam Gregory Gonzales, O.C.D.
P.O. Box 8700
Redlands, CA 92375
Assistant to the Provincial Superior
Fr. Matthias Lambrecht, O.C.D.
P.O. Box 3420
San Jose, CA 95156
(408) 251-1361 x324