Our Spanish Passionist Martyrs

    Today is the memorial of our Passionist martyrs of Daimiel; they were martyred during the religious persecution in Spain just a mere 74 years ago. I read an article recently which purported that people who lived in Europe during the communist era in the 20th century did not really suffer. Let us not forget this history or we are doomed to repeat it.

    Rev. Niceforo of Jesus and Mary, the provincial superior of the Passionists of Daimiel, was martyred, along with most of his community, in 1936 during the Red Terror of the Spanish Civil War.

    On the night of July 21st, 1936 revolutionaries stormed the Passionist Monastery, which is about 92 miles south of Madrid. Father Niceforo assembled the Passionist community in the choir.

“Gethsemane”, he said to them with great emotion, “this is our Gethsemane.  Our spirit is deeply distressed as it contemplates the daunting perspective of Calvary, as was that of Jesus. And so too our human nature, in its weakness, trembles, becomes cowardly… But Jesus is with us.  I am going to give you He who is the strength of the weak… Jesus was comforted by an angel; it is Jesus himself who comforts and sustains us… Within a few moments we will be with Christ…Citizens of Calvary, take heart!  Let us die with Christ!  It is my duty to encourage you and I myself am encouraged by your example”.

    Then Fr. Niceforo gave all of them general absolution which he himself received from Fr. Germán, the superior of the community.  Then he put on a surplice and stole and gave Holy Communion to each religious. One of the survivors could not forget that moment and said years later:  “What a fervent Communion that was!” 

    The man who murdered Fr. Niceforo was haunted by the smile that was on Father’s face when he shot him and also by his words of forgiveness. This man later became the caretaker of the Shrine of the Martyrs of Damiel!

    Although the militiamen released the priests and brothers that night, they followed their movements and communicated them to other armed Popular Front revolutionaries, who captured and killed 26 Passionists in smaller groups over the next three months. Father Niceforo was one of the first to die, on July 23rd. The Martyrs of Daimiel were beatified in 1989.


5 thoughts on “Our Spanish Passionist Martyrs

  1. It is important to note that 16 of the 26 martyrs of Daimiel were between the ages of 18 and 21. This is quite a message to the Catholic youth of today!

  2. This is a very moving account. I had never heard of these martyrs. Their deaths remind me, somewhat of the accounts of the Cristeros in Mexico. Thank you.

  3. Would you care to cite the article?

    Unfortunately I copied this article a few years ago and did not make note of where I found it. See this Passionist website for more information about these heroic men.

  4. I discovered very early on, when doing a report for school in 6th grade, that Communists lie. This is an amazing story you have recounted here, and very moving. These incredibly brave men certainly put paid to the lie that religion is the opiate of the people.

  5. A Prayer to Obtain Final Perseverence

    Eternal Father, I humbly adore Thee, and thank Thee for having created me, and for having redeemed me through Jesus Christ. I thank Thee most sincerely for having made me a Christian, by giving me the true faith, and by adopting me as Thy daughter, in the sacrament of baptism. I thank Thee for having, after the numberless sins I had committed, waited for my repentance, and for having pardoned (as I humbly hope) all the offences which I have offered to Thee, and for which I am now sincerely sorry, because they have been displeasing to Thee, who art infinite goodness. I thank Thee for having preserved me from so many relapses, of which I would have been guilty if Thou hadst not protected me. But my enemies still continue, and will continue till death, to combat against me, and to endeavor to make me their slave. If Thou dost not constantly guard and succor me with thy aid, I, a miserable creature, shall return to sin, and shall certainly lose Thy grace. I beseech Thee, then, for the love of Jesus Christ, to grant me holy perseverance unto death. Jesus, Thy Son, has promised that Thou wilt grant whatsoever we ask in his name. Through the merits, then, of Jesus Christ, I beg, for myself and for all the just, the grace never again to be separated from Thy love, but to love Thee forever, in time and eternity. Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.

    Passionist Martyrs of Daimiel, pray for us.


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