On July 18, 1936 there was a military uprising against the government of Spain’s second republic. That led to the civil war of 1936-1939.
During this time, there were fourteen religious of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts who gave their life but the cause for canonization of only five of them has been introduced. The reason is that the exact details of the other nine are not known nor the circumstances of their deaths.
However, for the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts they are considered martyrs just like the first five, as we read in the “Positio super Martyrio” (1) of Fr. Teófilo Fernández de Legaria Goñi and four companions:
“During this period of the (Spanish) civil war, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts had 14 victims, five from the community of Madrid, three from Barcelona, five from El Escorial and one from the community in Torrelavega. Here we only present five of them, the manner of whose death we have been able to determine. It is not known with certainty where the rest died or very little is known. There is only some circumstantial evidence of what might have happened. Nor is it known where they were buried. However, for the Congregation they are just as much martyrs as the other five who are now being presented to the ecclesiastical authorities so as to be recognized officially with the title and honors of martyrs of the faith. The names of these five are:
Fr. Teófilo Fernández de Legaria Goñi, executed on August 11, 1936;
Fr. Isidro Íñiguez de Ciriano, shot on the night of October 2 to 3, 1936;
Fr. Gonzalo Barrón Nanclares, shot on the night of September 1 to 2, 1936;
Fr. Eladio López Ramos, shot on the night of August 8 to 9 1936;
and Fr. Mario Ros Ezcurra, shot on the night of August 14 to 15, 1936 in Madrid.”.
On November 27, 2010 the remains of five religious of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, martyred during the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) and whose martyrdom decree was approved by Benedict XVI on July 3, 2009, were laid to rest in the Church of the Sacred Hearts in Madrid. Their remains lie in the chapel of St. Damien of Molokai, who has been called a “Martyr of Charity” for sacrificing his life to serve the most marginalized in society: those suffering from leprosy.
They were beatified on October 13, 2013, in Tarragona (Spain), along with more than 500 martyrs of the same period.
“May we His sons inherit the heroic spirit of the Good Father, our Founder. And if difficult days come, may we be firm in our faith and determined to work for it.”
With these words, Fr. Teófilo Fernández de Legaria, Superior and Rector of the Seminary of the Sacred Hearts in El Escorial, wanted to give his young religious courage and strength before the bad times to come. It was the prelude to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
Another of our martyrs, Fr. Gonzalo Barrón, stated emphatically during his trial,
“I declare that I am a priest, that I have gone in pilgrimage to Cerro de los Ángeles and I have preached many times because that was my mission.”
This is the testimony of our martyred brothers. May it help the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts live its vocation with great fidelity and continue to bear witness to the love of Christ’s pierced heart.
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(1) The Positio super Martyrio is a compilation of facts and witnesses attesting that a servant to God died out of hatred for the faith. This document is sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.
Prayer to the Martyrs
Oh God, you who are love,
we give you thanks for the martyrs Teófilo, Isidro,
Gonzalo, Eladio and Mario, religious priests of
the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus
and Mary and martyrs of the 20th Century in Spain.
You filled them
with burning zeal to proclaim your love,
manifested in the heart of your son Jesus
and in the heart of Mary,
his mother and our mother.
Thank you for giving them such great strength
that they were able to shed their blood
as witnesses of your love.
We ask, through their intercession,
that you grant us the grace
to contemplate, live, proclaim
and be witnesses of your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.