By Sr. Elvira Garro, S.H.M.
The French Revolution broke out in 1789 in an apparent hostile environment for the Church. The confiscation of Church goods and the expulsion of religious orders rapidly ensued. In 1790, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy condemned by Pius VI, was approved, and converted the French Church into a national and schismatic Church, separate from Rome. The clergy was divided by a sworn oath: priests who swore on the Civil Constitution, thus becoming employees of the State, and “refractory priests” or “non-jurors,” who remained faithful to Rome. The latter group were removed from their duties, and parishes were handed over to “jurors” (priests who took the oath). Those who did not take the oath were threatened with dismissal, deportation, or the guillotine.
Spain is known for its many martyrs, especially the many who lost their lives during the religious persecution that broke out in the 1930s. Over 1,870 martyrs from this time period have already been officially recognized by the Catholic Church and many more are on their way to canonization.
Barbastro (Huesca, Spain) was the diocese that suffered most during the persecution. 80% of the clergy, the highest figure in all of Spain, were killed. A total of 18 Benedictines, 9 Piarists, 51 Claretians, 13 canons of the Cathedral, 114 diocesan priests, 5 seminarians, and a bishop were martyred.
By Sr. Ana Mª Cabezuelo, S.H.M.
Holiness knows no age, nor is it measured in physical dimensions of height, weight, etc, but by the degree to which we allow Christ to transform us from within. Proof of this is the host of young men and women whose heroic lives have become an example of what it means to be Christian.
By Sr. Elvira Garro, SHM
“Do not fear death of the body nor the torments, little brother. Calmly receive the strike of the sword. The God who has seen fit to call us to such a great grace will give us the necessary strength to endure the sufferings that await us.”
By Sr. Beatriz Liaño, SHM
Pope Francis authorized the promulgation decree recognizing the heroic virtues of the servant of God, Tomás Morales, priest of the Society of Jesus and found of the secular institue "The Crusaders of St. Mary" and the association of families "Home of St. Mary."
By Fr. Dominic Feehan, SHM
The famous French writer, Leon Bloy, once wrote: “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.”
By Sr. María Fuentes, SHM
Recently, we attended the beatification of over a hundred martyrs from the religious persecution that took place in Spain at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a very beautiful ceremony and very well prepared. Before the celebration of the Holy Mass began, we prayed a Rosary accompanied by testimonies of several martyrs who were going to be beatified. The entire celebration was full of reverence and the words of Cardinal Angelo Amato helped us penetrate into the mystery we were celebrating. There is no doubt that such an event as this one has been an immense grace for the diocese in which it took place, as well as for the entire Church. And yet… yet?... Well, yes. There was a “yet,” and not a small one at that. A “yet” which had to do with the quantity, condition, and attitude of those present. [I mention] quantity, because there were many empty seats. Having in mind that we are speaking about 115 martyrs and that a large number of those present were relatives of those being beatified, there were very few others. That is the truth… Not even the seats reserved by the organization were filled.
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Sr. Eva Luz González : I know that Sr. Clare has already begun her mission here on earth, especially by reminding each consecrated soul that God alone suffices, and that we must dedicate ourselves to Him with all of the strength of our heart.