The Martyrs of
Martyrs of Valencia were mostly clergy and religious from the Spanish Civil War
who were beatified in October 2007 by Pope John Paul II. This was the largest
number of persons (233) beatified at once up to that time. They originated from
all parts of Spain but most served and died in the diocese of Valencia.Some
6000 clergy and religious were executed in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
Spanish Civil War was fought from July 17, 1936 to April 1, 1939 between the
Republicans who were loyal to the established Spanish Republic and the
Nationalists, a rebel group led by General Francisco Franco. The Nationalists
prevailed, and Franco led a fascist dictatorship over Spain for the next 36
years, from 1939 until his death in 1975.The Nationalist forces received
munitions and soldiers from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while the Soviet
Union and Mexico intervened in support of the Republican side. Other countries
such as Britain and Francemaintained an official policy of non-intervention.The
war became notable for the passion and political division it generated and for
the atrocities committed by both sides in the war.
of the Spanish martyrs is controversial, not least because of the Spanish
churches’ identification with the Nationalist cause during the civil
war. However,as John Paul pointed out,those who died in these cases “were not
involved in political or ideological struggles nor did they want to be
concerned with them” and “they died solely for religious motives.”He made
special mention of Maria Teresa Ferragud, one of the lay companions from
Valencia. She was an 83-year-old woman who was executed along with her four
daughters --all nuns in contemplative orders.
addition to Ferragud and her daughters, the Pope made special mention of
Francesco Castello Aleu, a 22-year-old layman, and German Gozalba, at age 23
just two months into the priesthood. He also made reference to Consuela and
Maria Dolores Aguiar-Mella, two lay companions of Maria Baldilou Bullit, and
the first people from Uruguay to be beatified.
in this war was Father Vincente Cabanes, the Superior of a community of Third
Order Capuchins of Our Lady of Sorrows. Fr. Cabanes also oversaw a community
of troubled young men. Fr.Cabanesand others of his congregation were targeted
by anti-Catholic militants, and on the night of September 27, 1936, Father was
arrested in a home where he had taken refuge. As the militants were
transporting him to Orduna, they claimed he had renounced his faith, but he
denied this by showing them the crucifix he wore. In Orduan, the militants
forced Fr. Cabanes into a ditch where they beat him with their rifle butts.
They left him terribly wounded, but he was able to drag himself to a nearby
house where he asked for a priest and a doctor. He continued to clutch his
crucifix as he was taken to the hospital. He refused to identify the
militants who had beaten him. He said only that he forgave them.
Unfortunately, he died two days later from his wounds.