Letter of the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid Carlos Osoro Sierra on the occasion of the beatification of the 60 martyrs of the XX century priests, consecrated religious and lay members of the Vincentian Family
To the faithful of Madrid and to the pilgrims who will gather together for the beatification
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Pope Francis has affirmed that sixty members of the Vincentian Family, born in different parts of Spain, be publicly recognized in the Church as martyrs for Christ. God willing, on November 11th, 2017, these individuals will be beatified here in Madrid by Cardinal Amato (the Pope’s representative). Very soon we will publish the schedule of events for this celebration.
This announcement is being made at this time so that the pastors, directors of educational centers and other institutions in Diocese of Madrid as well as all priests, consecrated religious and faithful Christians might have time to prepare for and to participate in this special event which is a grace of God. How wonderful if the whole Diocesan community were to become involved in this celebration of the martyrs. Evangelization involves a participation in the communion of saints.
At the same time, I want to extend my personal greeting and that of our Diocesan Church to the pilgrims, members of the Vincentian Family from other parts of Spain and the world whom we hope will participate in this celebration of the martyrs. We are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the origin of the missionary/charitable charism of Saint Vincent de Paul. What a joy to be able to give thanks to God together as a family for this great gift! What a wonderful privilege to be able to rely on the example and the intercessions of these brothers and sisters who lived the Vincentian charism, lived it to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their life for the love of God and for the love of their sisters and brothers.
These new martyrs are composed of 40 members of the Congregation of the Mission (24 priests and 16 brothers), 2 Daughters of Charity, 13 lay members of Vincentian Associations and 5 priests from the Diocese of Murcia who served as spiritual advisors to those groups. During the years of the persecution that occurred during the twentieth century, all of these individuals, from different parts in Spain, gave their life for Christ and with Christ.
The majority of these individuals (39 of them) were martyred in Madrid and a large group of them were members of the parish of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (14 members of the Congregation of the Mission and 6 lay persons from the area of Chamberi [mothers and fathers and members the Miraculous Medal Association]). Ten other members of the Congregation had belonged to the mission house in Atocha (six from the Internal Seminary in Hortaleza, three from the house in Valdemoro and one from the community of Calle Fernandez de la Hoz).
Twenty-one of these individual gave witness in Cataluña, Valencia y Murcia. Three members of the Congregation of the Mission and two Daughters of Charity were martyred in Barcelona; another member of the Congregation was assassinated in Gerona and two other members of the Congregation and one young member of the Miraculous Medal Association were martyred in Valencia. Finally, one member of the Congregation, five diocesan priests and six lay members of the Miraculous Medal Association were martyred in Murcia.
I invite you all to take time to familiarize yourselves with the names, the life and the glorious martyrdom of these individuals. This information is contained in a book that was written by the Vice-Postulator, Sister Josefina Selvo. This is the material that was published in preparation for the beatification of these persons and can be found at: www.beatificacionmartiresvicencianos.es.
I also mention here the Servants of God, José María Fernández Sánchez and Vicente QueraltLloret. They headed up the causes that were introduced in Madrid and Valencia respectively. Father José María was from Austria, had been a missionary in India and then served as Director of the Daughters of Charity in Spain. Father Vicente was from Catalan and was engaged in the popular mission ministry. He was a musician and a poet and ministered to the youth in Spain. He resided in Barcelona.
Finally, I highlight the Servants of God, Toribia Marticorena Sola and Dorinda Sotelo Rodriguez, Daughters of Charity who ministered to the infirm (those suffering from tuberculosis) in Barcelona. It is also important to state that among the new martyrs there many lay persons, (single and married men and women/young men and women/adults) who cultivated their faith and ministered on behalf of the poor and the infirm. They were members of an association animated by the charism of Vincent de Paul (members of the Miraculous Medal Association).
Saint Vincent wrote: Oh, what good reason do we not have to thank God for having given this Company the spirit of martyrdom, that light, I say, and the grace that made him see something great, luminous, brilliant, and divine in dying for the neighbor in imitation of Our Lord (CCD:XI:275).
Each one of us and each one of our communities and institutions wants to be able to repeat the same words. May the new martyrs will help us with their example and intercession! In our Ecclesiastical Province we venerate 400 martyrs, blesseds and saints of the twentieth century. We ask that they intercede on our behalf because we need that spirit of martyrdom in order to be authentic witnesses of the Risen Lord and in order to communicate God’s love to the infirm and the poor. Only in that way will our plans for evangelization be fruitful.
I congratulate the Vincentian Family for their new martyrs and for this we also give thanks to God and to the generations of men and women who have incarnated the charism of Vincent de Paul. May these martyrs become a source of spiritual strength that will enable us to live in accord with this wonderful charism.
May the Queen of Martyrs present our prayers to her Son. With my cordial blessing.
Archbishop of Madrid