Br. Lycarion – Murdered on July 27, 1909

The Servant of God Brother Lycarion – FRANCISCO BENJAMÍN MAY

Witness of the Christian School in the Tragic Week of Barcelona

 Who was Brother Lycarion?

He was a Marist Brother, born in Switzerland, in the small village of Bagnes, Canton of Valais, on July 21, 1870; his parents were: Mauricio Eugenio and Maria Virginia, and they formed a small family among small agricultural or farming proprietors who lived as excellent Christians.

He lived in this rural environment, where he is formed and where Benjamin works until the age of 18 years old. His youth goes by in a normal ordinary way, until he decides to ask to enter the Marist Congregation, moved by the concern that he has for the education of young people and children in need.   When he entered the Marist Institute he received the name of Lycarion, this was August 15, 1888.  After a long time of religious and profane studies, his idea to consecrate all his force to Christian education of youth and children in need became mature.       

In Spain

Having finished the first stage of his formation, he formalizes his consecration to God in the Institute of the Marist Brothers; Brother Lycarion was sent to Spain.  In Mataró (Barcelona) he continues his formation and perfects himself in the Spanish language.    At the same time that he is studying he carries out the teaching practice in Gerona and Torelló (Barcelona).

In Canet de Mar (Barcelona) during five years he carries out great work as educator and director.

From here the Superiors sent him to Arceniega ((Álava), where he directs the school that the Brothers have in that city.

His personal qualities and the extraordinary fruits that he is harvesting as educator and director lead the Superiors to think of him to direct the School that the Patronato Obrero – Workers Association – of Saint Joseph in the neighborhood of Barcelona of Pueblo Nuevo offers to the Marist Brothers.

Brother, in spite that the mission was difficult and complicated, accepted and without sparing any efforts he set down to work and opened the door of the school on October 1, 1906.  The beginning was very hard: the house of the Brothers is stoned on several occasions; the insults on the public street are frequent.  During some time the Brothers were not even able to go out on the street.     

The pedagogy of Brother Lycarion is based on practice, order and good taste.  The parents very soon appreciated the progress of their sons and the dedication of the religious, and end by being at the side of and in favor of the Brothers and of the director.

But very soon this life, so full of illusions given by professors and relatives was cut short.

The Tragic Week  

In this brief biographical synthesis of Brother Lycarion we avoid the socio-political-religious aspects of the Tragic Week, but only mention them, as a frame for his death.

From day-break on July 26, there is a general strike, the object of which is “to protest against the war and the abuses of the Government.

At 9 o’clock in the morning the strike is general in Pueblo Nuevo and other neighborhoods.  At 11.30 at night a group of men and women station themselves before the Patronato Obrero of Saint Joseph on Wad-Rass Street and break everything within reach.  The police was called but when it arrived it was too late the building was burning on the four sides.  The forces of law and order could only protect the Marists to take them to their near-by residence.   

The martyrdom

On the 27th the day begins with expectation.  In Pueblo Nuevo the masses are mobilized with the intention of prolonging what was begun in the Patronato of Saint Joseph, and the Brothers are invited to go out from their residence by a known person, he convinces them to follow him without any fear, that it was the right moment to go out of the house and to walk without any danger, in spite of the frequent shooting on the streets of Pueblo Nuevo, and they believe his words and go down wearing the cassock following the false friend.  As soon as the first one of the line – the director – arrives to the street, the deceitful friend shouts out to the revolutionary men, who were dispersed.  Here you have them! at the same time that a shot is heard;  the terrified Brothers seek refuge where and how they can, rapidly hiding themselves inside where there were some open doors…  Brother Lycarion who was in front was shot and wounded; he walks to the wall in front.  There he falls on his knees deadly wounded, and where he is finished by the revolutionaries, he joins his hands together and prays recommending his soul to Jesus and Mary and he forgives his murderers.              

His body was taken to the Clinic Hospital where he remained several days; from there he is taken to the southeastern cemetery (Montjuich) and buried in the common or mass grave as someone unknown.  He is the first Marist martyr in Spain and as such, very humble even in his death and burial.   

How was the Brother

As professor, he was admirable, sacrificed, zealous for the good of his pupils.  He prepared the classes with great care both pedagogically as well as literally.  He had the gift of a beautiful handwriting.  Daily he wrote with a red letter in the notebook of each pupil the phrase or the model letters that the pupils had to copy, during the corresponding class.   

He explained the readings with great interest and clarity according to the Marist pedagogical canons, but he made a very particular effort in the explanation of the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, and even with greater care, if possible, in the catechesis on Saturday; and did everything in honor of the most Holy Virgin Mary to whom Brother Lycarion had great devotion.

He Knew how to stimulate and encourage the pupils giving them small  rewards, praising them or with paternal reprimands always given at the due time and in class he had established two bands  called the “Roman camp” and the “Carthaginian”.  Every month the camps were changed and the pupils from the winning camp would go for an outing one afternoon while the others would stay in the class working.

  • He enjoyed the appreciation of the people of the town and he was known as the Brother Saint.
  • He distinguished himself especially because of his social dealings in such a way that after one year he had already gained the trust of everyone because of his work and his affection.
  • He was persecuted and murdered for having kept his faith and the religion of Christ, for having practiced the work of mercy teaching the ignorant those who do not know and for having followed religious life as the sure path of giving himself to others.
  • He was a martyr who knew how to shed his blood between the smiles on his lips and the prayers in his heart.
  • He was a simple school teacher and of a poor school, and among the boys who went to his school he diffused the love of Jesus by his life of love and sacrifice.

By the path of the Saints

In January 1967 the Archbishop of Barcelona. Don Marcelo González Martin, named a tribunal to begin the Diocesan Process of canonization of Brother Lycarion.     

In November 1967 the tribunal handed in all the documentation of the process to be deposited in the Congregation of the Causes of Saints.


Oh All-powerful God, who was glorified by the bloody confession of Marist Brother Lycarion, a firm witness of the Christian School in favor of children in need, grant us through his intercession an increase in faith, hope and charity in the continuous exercise of our Christian life and grant us to see him crowned with the halo of the Saints, if this will be for your glory and good of the Christian people. We ask this to you through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen