Almería, Martyrs of, Ss.

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D. Aug. 29-Sept. 12, 1936, Almería, Andalucia, Spain. At the outbreak of the three-year Spanish Civil War, 19 Lasallian Brothers of the Christian Schools (Christian Brothers) ran a free school and St. Joseph's College in Almería in the southeastern-most corner of the Iberian Peninsula. On July 22, 1936, members of the Popular Front arrested and confined in makeshift prisons the local religious as enemies of the revolution. Although some survived the privation and mistreatment, two bishops and seven Christian Brothers did not. Each of these martyrs was shot to death without a trial for the crime of professing and teaching the faith.

Herrero, Valerio Bernardo, Bl., baptized Marciano Herrero Martínez, brother; b. July 11, 1909, Porquera de los Infantes, Spain; entered the novitiate Feb. 1, 1926; d. Aug. 30, 1936 near Tabernas. Together with Brother Edmigio and Amalio, he was transferred on Aug. 3, 1936 to the crowded Astoy Mendi prison where their names were added to a list of religious. At the end of August the trio was loaded on a truck, presumably bound for Cartagena, but they were executed en route, and their bodies thrown in a well or mine shaft.

Medina Olmos, Emmanuel (Manuel), St., bishop of Guadix (Spain), the diocese just west of Almería; d. Aug. 29, 1936. Bishops Medina and Ventaja were the first of this group to suffer. They were taken to an isolated spot with fifteen other prisoners and executed.

Mendoza, Amalio, St., baptized Justo Zariquiegui Mendoza, brother; b. Aug. 6, 1886, Salinas de Oro, Spain; entered the novitiate Sept. 13, 1902; d. Aug. 30, 1936 near Tabernas.

Rodríguez, Edmigio, St., baptized Isidoro Primo Rodríguez González, brother; b. April 4, 1881, Adalia, Spain; entered the novitiate Oct. 8, 1898; d. Aug. 30, 1936 with Brs. Amalio and Valerio near Tabernas.

Rodríguez, José Cecilio, St., baptized Bonifacio Rodríguez González, brother; b. May 14, 1885, La Molina de Ubierna, Spain; entered the novitiate Nov. 21, 1901; d. Sept. 12, 1936, Almería. Brothers José Cecilio and Aurelio María were the last to die. They were briefly detained in a convent, then transferred to Capitan Segarra prison. They were among 28 prisoners executed by a firing squad. Their bodies were thrown into a mine shaft.

Säiz, Teodomiro Joaquín, St., baptized Adrián Säiz Säiz, brother; b. Sept. 8, 1907, Puentedey, Spain; entered the novitiate Aug. 15, 1923; d. Sept. 8, 1936, Almería. Like three others of this group, Brothers Teodomiro Joaquín and Evencio Ricardo were transferred to Astoy Mendi prison. They were shot on the roadside. Their discarded bodies were never found.

Uyarra, Evencio Ricardo, St., baptized Eusebio Alonso Uyarra, brother; b. March 5, 1907, Viloria de Rioja, Spain; entered the novitiate Feb. 2, 1923; d. Sept. 8, 1936, Almería.

Ventaja Milan, Diego (James) St., bishop of Almería; d. Aug. 29, 1936. Bishop Ventaja was given several opportunities to flee the war zone, but insisted upon remaining with his flock. He died with Bishop Medina and 15 other prisoners. A monument to his courage stands in Almería.

Villalón, Aurelio María, St., baptized Bienvenido Villalón Acebrón, brother; b. March 22, 1890, Zafra de Záncara, Spain; entered the novitiate Aug. 22, 1906; d. Sept. 12, 1936, Almería. Brother Aurelio María was director of St. Joseph's College. When he was shot, his prayer of several years was heard: "What happiness for us if we could shed our blood for the lofty ideal of Christian education. Let us double our fervor and thus become worthy of such an honor." See José Cecilio Rodríguez above.

This group was both beatified (Oct. 10, 1993) and canonized (Nov. 21, 1999) by John Paul II.

Feast: Nov. 16.

Bibliography: j. pÉrez de urbel, Catholic Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, tr. m. f. ingrams (Kansas City, Mo. 1993).

[k. i. rabenstein]

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Almería, Martyrs of, Ss.

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