Tag Archives: Spanish Civil War

“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