Tag Archives: “in odium fidei”

Blessed Wladyslaw Findysz—He died “In Odium Fidei”; the first person martyred under Communist rule in Poland

Bl. Wladyslaw Findysz  wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Wladyslaw Findysz was born on December 13, 1907,  in Krosno, which is located in southwestern Poland. His mom and dad, devout Catholics, followed the tradition and had their new baby boy baptized the very next day at their parish church, Holy Trinity.

Wladyslaw was sent to an elementary school run by the Cistercian Sisters (CSSF) in the town of Kroscienko Nizne. After finishing grade school, he went on to a state-run school but his years with the sisters had instilled in him an attraction to the priesthood. In 1927, Wladyslaw entered the seminary in a nearby town called Przemysil. He was very fortunate for the rector of the seminary was Father John Balicki, who would be beatified in 2002. He completed his studies satisfactorily and was ordained a priest June 19, 1932.

Father Findysz was moved around quite a bit in his first ten years as a priest. Finally, in 1941, he was appointed the parochial vicar at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Nowy Zmigrod.  On October 3, 1944, the Nazis expelled Father Findysz and many others from the city. He lived in exile for a while but did return to his church in January 1945.

He immediately began a rebuilding and reorganizing project.  When the Nazis finally surrendered in May of 1945, the communists took charge. Promoting atheism was one of their primary objectives.  Moreover, they were not only good at doing it they were also quite insistent about people embracing it.

Father  Findysz focused his pastoral work on a moral and religious renewal within his parish. He worked tirelessly at keeping the faith in focus, especially among the young people. He also did his best to help the people of his parish who had lost so much during the war and the Nazi occupation. From food, medicine, clothing, and whatever else he could gather to help those in need, he did.

Greek Catholics from Lemki were especially singled out by the communist party, and these people were often evicted from their homes without cause or reason with no chance of reprieve. The kindly priest did work tirelessly trying to help those people and the priest’s activities quickly made the communists wary of his actions.

By 1946 he was under constant surveillance by the secret police. In 1952 people in charge of academics prohibited him from teaching catechism in the parish secondary school. The authorities went so far as to rescind his permission to live within the border of the school even though it was where his parish was located.

The church authorities viewed Father Findysz as a devout and zealous priest and they honored him as an honorary canon in 1946. In 1957 he was accorded the privilege of wearing the rochet and mantelletta and was also appointed the vice-dean of Nowy Zmigrod where he was elevated to Dean in 1962.

In 1963 Father Findysz, started the “Conciliar Works of Charity.” He sent letters of exhortation to parishioners who were known to have leaned toward a secular lifestyle encouraging them to reorder their Christian lives.  The communists reacted harshly toward Father’s actions. He was accused of trying to make the faithful be part of religious rites and practices.

On November 25, 1963, he was interrogated, arrested, and imprisoned in Rzeszow castle. His trial took place in December. He was accused of violating the “Protection of the Freedom of Conscience and Denomination Act of 1949. He did this by sending newsletters to his parishioners. He was sentenced to two years and six months in Central Prison

Just before his imprisonment Father Wladyslaw had surgery to have his thyroid removed. He entered prison ill, and the authorities knew it. He also developed esophageal cancer and had to remain in the prison hospital where the care was extremely limited and substandard. He was under constant interrogation and surgery was required for his cancer. The authorities postponed the surgery sentencing Father Wladyslaw to a slow and painful death.  He died on August 21, 1964.

O June 19, 2005, Father Wladyslaw Findysz was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI. Blessed Wladyslaw was deemed to have died “In Odium Fidei” (In Hatred of the Faith)  He was the first martyr of the Communist Regime in Poland.

Blessed Wladyslaw, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

“Do not worry. All they can do is kill us, nothing more”

shutterstock                                                                            Aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

It was April 14, 1905, when Angela Ginard Marti knelt at the altar rail. Dressed all in white with hands palm to palm, she raised her head and extended her tongue to receive her First Holy Communion. It was a transformational moment for the youngster. As she brought Jesus into her heart, she knew that God was calling her to the religious life.

Angela was born on April 3, 1894, in Majorca, Spain. Even as a toddler, Angela, exhibited a spiritual quality.  Her desire to the religious life was fueled not just by her devout, Catholic parents, but also by her frequent visits with her mom to visit her aunts who were both nuns.

Angela attended Mass as often as possible and made frequent visits to pray before Jesus present in the tabernacle. The example set by her aunts had a growing effect on Angela. She even began teaching her younger sisters and brothers how to pray, taught them their catechism and told them stories about the different saints.

Family responsibilities kept her at home until November 26, 1921. That was when Angela entered the convent of the Congregation of the Zealous Sisters of Eucharistic Adoration. She took the name of Maria de los Angeles and adapted quickly to the communal lifestyle. She became an example to the other Sisters of goodness, piety, and obedience. There was a subtle, supernatural way about Sister Maria that all of them recognized.

Angela received her habit in May 1922, and in 1923 she made her initial profession of vows. She was moved to Madrid where she renewed them in 1926 and made her final vows in Barcelona in 1929. She became the chief embroiderer for altar linens and was in charge of preparing the unleavened bread used to make hosts. She was in love with her simple, holy life.

Sister Mary of the Angels, the lover of simplicity and a shining example of humility, was quite surprised when she was named Mother Superior of the convent in Madrid.  She was there in 1936 when the Spanish Civil War erupted, and religious persecution began its ever winding, merciless assault on all things religious, especially clergy.

Sister Mary Angela, quite unsettled by the events and not knowing what to do, immediately began spending as much time as she could before the Blessed Sacrament. She turned her fears and anxiety over to God and offered Him her life as a martyr if it were His will.

On July 20, 1936, she and the other Sisters, using disguises, fled the convent and went into hiding. The Sisters were very concerned about their future. Before leaving, Sister Mary of the Angels said to them all, “Please do not worry. All they can do is kill us, nothing more.” Amazingly, these words brought comfort to the others with her.

Sister Mary was allowed to hide in the apartment of a family who lived near the convent. From the window, she could see the soldiers destroying the church, the convent, and other religious objects, including all the statues. The intentional destruction of all that was dear to her sickened her. For Sister, it was worse than being killed.

During the evening of Tuesday, August 25, 1936,  there came pounding on the door and loud voices.  A woman opened the door. It was the landlord’s sister. She was immediately arrested.

Sister Mary of the Angels came from the other room and said sternly to the soldiers, “The woman you have taken hold of is NOT a Religious. I am the only Religious here.”  They released the landlord’s daughter and bound the hands of Sister Mary. She was taken to a nearby holding cell.  Her future to become a martyr had been sealed. A soldier said to her, “Tomorrow you take the ‘little walk.” Everyone knew what that meant.

The next morning, as the sun was just peeking over the horizon, Sister Mary of the Angels was forced to take the “little walk” to Dehesa de la Villa. She stood erect facing the firing squad and was praying as the bullets ripped into her body ending her earthly life. Later, her body was recovered and today it rests in the chapel of the convent in Madrid.

Sister Mary of the Angels was declared killed “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith) and beatified on October 29, 2005

Sister Maria de los Angeles, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Blessed Mariano—Before dying, He tended to the wounds of one of his executioners and helped a sick child.

         martyrdom                                                                        en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

His name was Mariano Mullerat I Soldevila, and he was born on March 24, 1897, in Tarragona, Spain. He was the sixth of seven children and his parents, Ramon Mullerat and his wife, Bonaventura, were devout Catholics. Mariano, was baptized on March 30, one week after his birth.

Mariano showed great promise at the elementary level and in 1910 was sent to St. Peter the Apostle School in the town of Reus, not far from his home. In 1914 he entered the University of Barcelona and began the study of medicine. He was awarded his medical degree in 1921.

In 1922 the young doctor married a girl he had met in school, Dolors Sans I Bove. They were married in the town of Arbeca and this is where they settled. Dr. Mullerat opened his practice here and began traveling to nearby towns giving medical care to the poor for free. Those that were homebound and seriously ill he would encourage to receive the sacraments as often as possible. He would also make sure that these folks had the necessities such as food and basic medicines.

During the ensuing years, Mariano and Dolors had five daughters with their first child having died shortly after birth in January 1923. It was also in 1923 that Mariano founded the newspaper, L’Ecut, which was printed in the Catalan language.  His Catholic faith was strong and uncompromising, and he used the publication to defend the faith against the surge in secularism sweeping across Spain. Besides commentary, the paper also published poetry, promoted local cultural events, and articles of social interest. The paper ceased to be published in 1926.

In 1924 Dr. Mullerat was elected mayor of Arbeca and stayed in office until 1930. While he was mayor, a transformation took place in Arbeca. Blasphemy and profanity were frowned upon and could bring a fine, the Sacred Heart of Jesus was given a place of honor at city hall, and the clergy and the church were defended by the mayor’s administration at all times.

During this time he never ceased giving care and assistance and whatever other help he could to the poor and marginalized. His spirit of faith provided by the Holy Spirit was always evident in the doctor’s actions, words, and behavior and he set a fine example for all who came in contact with him.

The Second Spanish Republic came into power in 1931 and revolution spread across Spain. In 1934 the violence reached Arturia, a province near Tarragona. Dr. Mullerat knew in his heart that the violence would soon be at the doorstep of  Arbeca. Within two years churches and other religious places were being burned and destroyed in Barcelona. By July of 1936, priests, religious, and lay faithful were being killed in Tarragona and Lieda. The government soldiers arrived in Arbeca in early August.

There were those close to Dr. Mullerat who suggested he try to leave Spain. He refused. He was even offered a way to escape to Zaragoza where he would be safe but he rejected the idea. He believed that he was meant ot carry on his medical mission for the needy. Filled with a powerful faith and staring down the face of danger, he said he was needed where he was.

On Thursday morning, August 13, 1936, militiamen, came to Dr. Mullerat’s home. He was dragged away and tossed like a pile of old rags into the back of a truck. There were five other “criminal” Catholics who had already been thrown in. They began the three-mile drive to the last place on earth they would ever go.

As the truck bounced over the rough road a woman suddenly ran out and had them stop. She told the driver that her son was ill and aked if the doctor could help him. They stopped and brought the child to dr. Mullerat. He examined the child and prescribed some medication. He assured the woman her boy would be okay. Then, noticing a wound on one of the militiamen, asked if he could look at it. The soldier showed him a deep cut in his leg and the doctor bandaged it and told him how to treat it. His medical career ended by him helping one of his executioners. How poignant is that.

At Blessed Mariano’s beatification ceremony on March 23, 2019, Cardinal Angelo Becciu said, “The top of holiness is reached through the path of love, there is no other way. And Mariano has ascended this summit and has reached the destiny of the righteous and the elect, of whom the book of Wisdom speaks. Live with the Lord because he remained faithful to him in love.”

A witness told Mariano’s wife that his last words were, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Lastly, and this might take your breath away, the beatification ceremony was attended  by his three daughters and two grandchildren. Imagine that.

Blessed Mariano Mullerat I Soldevila, pray for us

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died “In Odium Fidei” Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.

 

The Martyrs of La Rioja; They died "In Odium Fidei" Two died on July 18; one was born on July 18.

 

By Larry Peterson

It is estimated that in Argentina during the years 1976 thru 1983, between 10,000 and 30,000 people died by torture and execution. They called it The Dirty War, and it was one of the darkest periods in the nation’s history.

Enrique Angelelli was born in Cordoba, Argentina on July 18, 1923. His parents were Italian immigrants and devout Catholics. Their influence certainly contributed to Enrique’s entrance into the Seminary of Our Lady of Loreto when he was only 15 years of age. He studied hard, was sent to Rome to finish his studies and was ordained to the priesthood in 1949.

Father Enrique Angelelli was a “man of the people.”  He was very devoted to the poor and needy and would visit the slums frequently, mixing with his “poor friends.”  He even founded youth movements among the street kids. On December 12, 1960, Pope St. John XXIII, appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Cordoba. He and his close friend, Father Jorge Bergoglio, (who would one day become Pope Francis), were very much alike. The future Pope also loved the poor and marginalized and tried to help the workers.

Carlos de Dios Murias was born in Cordoba in 1945. His father was a wealthy real-estate man and also a well known radical politician in Cordoba. He wanted his son to be a military man, but Carlos had different desires. He had met Bishop Angelelli and the man’s spirituality and love of the poor inspired Carlos. He felt a religious calling and, in 1965, he became part of the Orders of Friars Minor. He made his “simple profession.” in 1966. On December 17, 1972, he was ordained to the priesthood. The Bishop who ordained him was Enrique Angelelli. Carlos de Dios Murias had specifically asked if he might ordain him.

Gabriel Longueville was born on March 18, 1931, in Ardeche, France. He was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Viviers, Alfred Couderc, on June 29, 1957. He had asked to be assigned to areas where he could work with the poor.  In 1969 Father Longueville was transferred to Argentina by Bishop Jean Hermil.  He was assigned to La Rioja Diocese along with Carlos de Dios Murias. They were both under the authority of Bishop Enrique Angelelli.

Bishop Angelilli, Father Carlos Murias, and Father Gabriel Longueville could never have imagined how they and one other man, a layperson by the name of Wenceslao Pedernera, would soon be linked together in heavenly perpetuity. The evil politics of the day was rapidly turning into what seemed to be an unstoppable force.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Angelelli bishop of the Diocese of La Rioja. He quickly became involved with labor union disputes, encouraged domestic workers to form unions, and tried to form cooperatives for the people that manufactured bricks, clocks, bread, and knitted products. It did not take long for him to be arrested. He was an activist bishop, but he was doing what he thought best for his church and his people.

By 1969 Bishop Angelelli had been campaigning by both the printed word and radio broadcast about the plight of the farmers and the workers. He denounced the drugs, gambling, and prostitution that was supported by the wealthy.  He condemned human rights abuses by the governors and pushed for unionization of the workers.  Conservative Catholic organizations turned against him, and his radio programs were banned.

In 1973, political unrest saw the expulsion of nuns and priests from the town of Annilaco and the people began calling the Church of La Rioja, “communist.” In 1974 Bishop Angelelli visited Rome and was advised to stay there because of the danger to him back in Argentina. He was being threatened by the “Three A Group” made up of police officers and the Anti-Communist Alliance of Argentina. The bishop did not heed the warnings and returned home.

On July 18, 1976, Father Carlos de Dios Murias, 33,  and Father Gabriel Longueville, 44, were having dinner together when two men with federal police identification entered there home and questioned them for about ten minutes. Then they were told they had to go to La Rioja to identify some prisoners. The next day their bodies were found near some railroad tracks. The two priests had been tortured and shot to death.

One week later, on July 25, two hooded men went to look for the parish priest of Sanogasta, but because he had been warned by Bishop Angelelli, he had already fled the area. The men went to a nearby house to ask where the priest might be. Wenceslao Pedernera, a layperson, was there with his three young daughters. Terrified at the men wearing hoods, the girls cowered next to their father.  When Senor Pedernara told the men the priest was not there, they promptly shot him multiple times. His girls fell to the ground holding their dad’s body. They were physically unharmed. What psychological damage was done to them, we can only imagine.

Bishop Angelelli knew he was targeted and had told a close friend, “It’s my turn next.” On August 4, 1976, he was driving a truck with a priest friend, Father Arturo Pinto. He was on his way back from offering a memorial Mass for Father Gabriel and Father Carlos. Father Pinto said that a car was following them and at the right moments forced them off the road. The truck flipped over and when Father Pinto regained consciousness, he found Bishop Angelilli dead in the road. The back of his head had been smashed in with a blunt instrument. He had been beaten to death.

These four men were murdered “In Odium Fidei”; (In hatred of the faith). On June 8, 2018, Pope Francis approved the decree that Bishop Angelelli, Carlos  de Dios Murias, Gabriel Longueville, and Wenceslao Pedernara, will be beatified sometime in 2018. No date has been set.

We ask these four martyrs to please pray for us all.