Thursday, June 3, 2010
26 Passionists di Daimiel (Spain)
26 Passionists di Daimiel (Spain), almost all young students, shot in different groups and in different places (+ 1936). [1 October 1989].
At 11:30pm on the night of 21 July 1936 a group of armed men arrived at the Passionist monastery of Santo Cristo de la Luz in Daimiel, Spain. The members of the community were gathered for prayer when the superior of the community, Father Niceforo of Jesus, upon hearing the armed men exclaimed
“Gethsemane – 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.”
Father Nicefore then gave the community absolution and Holy Communion. The Passionists were ordered out of the church and led to the local cemetery under armed guard.  One of the five survivors later remarked ;
“Our imagination ran wild as we saw the already dug graves. Would they bury us alive…or dead? The thought of death frightened us, but the idea of being buried alive was even more terrifying.”
The armed men split the Passionists into groups and headed in different directions. The religious were set free but their movements had been observed by the Popular Front and information regarding their locations was sent to various armed fighters in the error using phrases such as
“The Passionists of Daimiel are going to going to pass through here. Fresh meat! Don’t let them get away…”
On 23 July 1936, Father Niceforo and four others were shot dead, seven more survived but after suffering from their injuries were executed three months later by firing squad. Nine others were placed on a train to Ciudad Real. They were put in gaol, accused of being religious who were killing people. Then they were led down the street to be mocked and stoned by crowds. These Passionists were shot dead and buried in a mass grave, their alleged crime written on their wrists ‘For being Passionist religious from Daimiel’. Ten other Passionists tried to get to Madrid by train or walking. They were taken off the train at Urda station and there, on the morning of July 25, shot dead. Two others, Father Juan Pedro of Saint Anthony and the elderly Brother Pablo Maria of Saint Joseph managed to walk to Carrion de Calatrava in Ciudad Real where they hid for two months. They were discovered and shot as they kissed their crucifixes and exclaimed “Long Live Christ the King!”
Eye-witnesses reported that all of the Passionists had forgiven their murderers before they died. A witness to the murder of Father Niceforo reported that after being shot the priest turned his eyes to heaven then turned and smiled at his murderers. At this point one of them, now more infuriated than ever, shouted:
“What, are you still smiling?”
With that he shot him at point blank range.