Letter from Brothers Seán D. Sammon and Emili Turú

Dear Brothers and all who share the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat:

With great joy we announce the October 28th, 2007 beatification here in Rome of 47 of our brothers. Victims of the religious persecutions that took place in Spain during the 1930s, these men are now recognized by our Church as martyrs, heroic witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

These brothers of ours are also the first among us to be beatified. On the day of the ceremony itself, their causes will be joined together with those of 451 others whose zeal for the gospel cost them their lives. The group includes 2 bishops, some married men and women, several secular priests and seminarians, other religious—men and women (1), laity and young people.

This important moment in the history of our Institute gives all of us an opportunity to unite ourselves with the universal Church in giving thanks for the gift of martyrs, especially among those who share our way of life. The public commitment of our brothers who will be beatified to live fully and radically the gospel of Jesus Christ as the plan of their life brought them to the point of the cross. In embracing this journey as their destiny, each of them also became a seed of new life not only for our Institute and its mission but for our Church universal also. 

Our martyred Brothers seeds of life.

Our predecessors in the faith coined the phrase: “Blood of the martyrs, seed of Christians” (Tertullian, Apol. 50, 13). Its words express the conviction held by many that the life and death of those who remain faithful to the gospel are rich indeed. Inspired by this same conviction, the team of Brothers preparing for the beatification of our martyred brothers, remind us that these men were “seeds of life,” not only for both our Institute but for the Church.

The slogan “Seeds of life”, therefore, will accompany us on our journey toward the celebration of the beatification of our 47 martyrs. The name, year of birth, and native village of each are listed just below:

  1. BERNARDO: Plácido Fábrega Juliá, 1889, Camallera (Girona).
  2. LAURENTINO: Mariano Alonso Fuente, 1881, Castrecías (Burgos).
  3. VIRGILIO: Trifón Lacunza Unzu, 1891, Ciriza (Navarra).
  4. ALBERTO MARÍA: Néstor Vivar Valdivielso, 1910, Estépar (Burgos).
  5. ÁNGEL ANDRÉS: Lucio Izquierdo López, 1899, Dueñas (Palencia).
  6. ANSELMO: Aniceto Falgueras Casellas, 1879, Salt (Girona).
  7. ANTOLÍN: Antonio Roig Alibau, 1891, Igualada (Barcelona).
  8. BAUDILIO: Pedro Ciordia Hernández, 1888, Cárcar (Navarra).
  9. BERNABÉ: Casimiro Riba Pi, 1877, Rubí (Barcelona).
  10. CARLOS RAFAEL: Carlos Brengaret Pujol, 1917, Sant Jordi Desvalls (Girona).
  11. DIONISIO MARTÍN: José Cesari Mercadal, 1903, Puig-Reig (Barcelona).
  12. EPIFANIO: Fernando Suñer Estrach, 1874, Taialà (Girona).
  13. FELIPE JOSÉ: Fermín Latienda Azpilicueta, 1891, Iruñuela (Navarra).
  14. FÉLIX LEÓN: Félix Ayúcar Eraso, 1911, Estella (Navarra).
  15. FORTUNATO ANDRÉS: Fortunato Ruiz Peña, 1898, La Piedra (Burgos).
  16. FRUMENCIO: Julio García Galarza, 1909, Medina de Pomar (Burgos).
  17. GABRlEL EDUARDO: Segismundo Hidalgo Martínez, 1913, Tobes y Rahedo (Burgos).
  18. GAUDENCIO: Juan Tubau Perelló, 1894, Igualada (Barcelona).
  19. GIL FELIPE: Felipe Ruiz Peña, 1907, Cilleruelo de Bezana (Burgos).
  20. HERMÓGENES: Antonio Badía Andalé, 1908, Bellcaire (Lleida).
  21. ISAÍAS MARÍA: Victoriano Martínez Martín, 1899, Villalbilla de Villadiego (Burgos).
  22. ISMAEL: Nicolás Ran Goñi, 1909, Cirauqui (Navarra).
  23. JAIME RAMÓN: Jaime Morella Bruguera, 1898, Sant Pere d’Osor (Girona). 
  24. JOSÉ CARMELO: Gregorio Faci Molins, 1908, La Codoñera (Teruel).
  25. JOSÉ FEDERICO: Nicolás Pereda Revuelta, 1916, Villanueva la Blanca (Burgos).
  26. JUAN CRISÓSTOMO: Juan Pelfort Planell, 1913, Igualada (Barcelona).
  27. JUAN DE MATA: Jesús Menchón Franco, 1898, Murcia (Murcia).
  28. LAUREANO CARLOS: Pedro Sitges Puig, 1889, Parlavà (Girona).
  29. LEÓNIDES: Jerónimo Messegué Ribera, 1881, Castelló de Farfanya (Lleida).
  30. LEOPOLDO JOSÉ: Florentino Redondo Insausti, 1885, Cárcar (Navarra).
  31. LICARIÓN: Ángel Roba Osorno, 1895, Sasamón (Burgos).
  32. LINO FERNANDO: Víctor Gutiérrez Gómez, 1899, Villegas (Burgos).
  33. MARTINIANO: Isidro Serrano Fabón, 1901, Cañada de Verich (Teruel).
  34. MIGUEL IRENEO: Leocadio Rodríguez Nieto, 1899, Calahorra de Boedo (Palencia).
  35. PORFIRIO: Leoncio Pérez Gómez, 1899, Masa (Burgos).
  36. PRISCILIANO: José Mir Pons, 1889, Igualada (Barcelona).
  37. RAMÓN ALBERTO: Feliciano Ayúcar Eraso, 1914, Estella (Navarra).
  38. SALVIO: Victoriano Gómez Gutiérrez, 1884, Villamorón (Burgos).
  39. SANTIAGO: Serafín Zugaldía Lacruz, 1894, Echálaz (Navarra).
  40. SANTIAGO MARÍA: Santiago Saiz Martínez, 1912, Castañares (Burgos).
  41. SANTOS: Santos Escudero Miguel, 1907, Medinilla de la Dehesa (Burgos).
  42. TEÓDULO: Lucio Zudaire Aramendía, 1890, Echávarri (Navarra).
  43. VÍCTOR CONRADO: José Ambrós Dejuán, 1898, Tragó de Noguera (Lleida).
  44. VICTORINO JOSÉ: José Blanch Roca, 1908, Torregrossa (Lleida).
  45. VITO JOSÉ: José Miguel Elola Arruti, 1893, Régil (Guipúzcoa).
  46. VIVENCIO: Juan Núñez Casado, 1908, Covarrubias (Burgos).
  47. VULFRANO: Ramón Mill Arán, 1909, Castellserà (Lleida)

This beatification takes place during a year when many signs of new life are evident within our Institute. September’s Mission Assembly in Mendes, Brazil will bring the work of many month and hands to fruition. A year of Spirituality will be launched shortly thereafter calling our attention to both the recently published document on Marist Apostolic Spirituality as well as 12 months of activities and reflections aimed at making Jesus more and more the center and passion of our lives. The ever expanding Marist lay partnership network, the opening of another series of new communities throughout south Asia as our Mission ad gentes efforts continue to unfold—these and so many other examples bear witness to the legacy left to us by our martyred brothers in Spain.

They have been described by the Church as “martyrs of the Christian education of youth.” Despite persecution, these men did everything possible to remain faithful to the children and young people entrusted to their care. We would do well to take them as models of Marist mission at its best.

You will receive shortly a publication that will provide testimony about the lives of each of our martyred brothers. We invite you to read its pages keeping in mind these words from John Paul II’s exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa”:

“…together with the Synod Fathers, I want to point out to everyone, so that it will never be forgotten, that great sign of hope represented by the many witnesses to the Christian faith who lived in the last century, in both East and West. They found suitable ways to proclaim the Gospel amid situations of hostility and persecution, often even making the supreme sacrifice by shedding their blood.
These witnesses, and particularly those who suffered martyrdom, are an eloquent and magnificent sign which we are called to contemplate and to imitate. They show us the vitality of the Church; they stand before us as a light for the Church and for humanity because they caused the light of Christ to shine in the darkness.
Even more radically, they tell us that martyrdom is the supreme incarnation of the Gospel of hope: “In this way, martyrs proclaim ‘the Gospel of hope’ and bear witnesses to it with their lives to the point of shedding their blood, because they are certain that they cannot live without Christ and are ready to die for him in the conviction that Jesus is the Lord and the Savior of humanity and that, therefore, only in him does mankind find true fullness of life.”

Let us celebrate—either by our presence in Rome or in our place of origin—the lives of these martyrs and let us be thankful for their lives and stunning witness to God’s Good News. Above all, though, let us honor them especially by imitating their virtue and their zeal.

With Marcellin and all of the Brothers who have preceded us in Marist life, we give thanks to the Lord for the blessing of these beatifications. Let us, like Mary, acknowledge that God has looked upon us with favor and pray that our work may continue to be truly His own. 

Blessings and affection, 

Brother Seán D. Sammon, FMS – Superior General 

Brother Emili Turú, FMS – Council liaison for the Beatification of our Spanish martyrs


1Along with our brothers, the latter group is made up of 98 Augustinians, 62 Dominicans, 59 Salesians, 58 De La Salle Brothers, 31 Discalced Carmelites, 29 Franciscans, 23 Adorers, 16 Carmelites, 9 Dominican Sisters, 9 Trinitarians, 4 Carmelite Missionaries, 4 Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts, 4 Marianists, 3 Daughters of the Heart of Mary, 2 Franciscans of Mercy; 1 Religious of the Order of St. Dominic, 1 Carmelite of Charity, 1 Cloistered Trinitarian, 1 Carmelite of the Presentation.