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Saint Agnes of Montepulciano, Virgin and Abbess.
1847: Br. Jacinto was assassinated in St. Christopher, Solomon Islands
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Martyrs who died in the years 1936–1939

 

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Brother Crisanto and Sixty-seven Companions, Martyrs

08/03/2010: General House

A new document is available on our website. The document concerns sixty-eight martyrs who died in the years l936–l939 during the persecution that broke out against the Catholic Church in Spain. Though featuring the name of Brother Crisanto, the text, in fact, deals with sixty-six Brothers and two laymen.

The group does not comprise simply the largest number of our Spanish martyrs. The group is also the most representative, showing how the persecution raged over the entire Republican-dominated region of the country. The martyrs come from large cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Valencia, Badajoz. Smaller cities, however, also appear: Las Avellanas, Vich, Torrelaguna, Chinchon, Barruelo, Cabezon de la Sal, Denis, Arceniega.

The reader has only to turn a few pages in order to learn about each of the communities: easy reading, therefore. At the same time, however, the content is dense; it places before our eyes martyrs who are often very appealing figures. One begins to sense a legitimate pride in our religious Family which has formed such admirable Brothers. Their example of persevering unto death in loving fidelity is an invitation to us. We sense the desire to be more generous in the gift of our lives and in our apostolic undertakings.

The Brothers in question are not well known. They are, however, part of our religious family’s spiritual treasure. Reading only a few of the pages each day will allow us to encounter men who were remarkably bold in their apostolic undertakings. They were treated in beastly fashion simply for being men of God and educators of youth. Among the martyrs, one finds distinguished school directors as well as formators deeply committed to the young men in their charge. One also makes the acquaintance of Brothers charged with kitchen duties, or Brothers in charge of manual tasks: carpenters, masons, gardeners, those who looked after the farm animals.

Of Causes involving the Marist Brothers, that of Brother Crisanto and Companions is presently the one closest to possible beatification. The Positio (official document dealing with the martyrdoms) was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on December 7, 2001. It is not unrealistic to look forward to a beatification before the year 2015.

A beatification, however, is not merely a matter of perusing a text about the martyrs’ lives. Better simply to hold the martyrs in our hearts and not have them “raised to the altar” if no imitation of their holiness ensues. To promote such imitation is the purpose of the document about Brother Crisanto and companions: reading about these privileged individuals, honoring them, praying with them.

Yes, one may hope that these men will be honored by the Church, but they will find a place in the Church only after they have found a place in our Family. They are true martyrs. It is for us to walk with them on the path to holiness.

______________
Brother Giovanni Maria Bigotto, Postulator

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