The new blessed Dominican martyrs. Evangelical radicalism and fidelity.

The Cathedral of Seville, the city where the remains of many of these martyrs rest, is hosting the beatification ceremony of 27 martyrs of the order of preachers who gave their lives for Christ between 1936 and 1937 in Spain.

Maria José Atienza-June 18, 2022-Reading time: 4 minutes

Translation of the article into English

Translation of the article into Italian

27 dominican martyrs of the 20th century in Spain become part of the Blessed of the Catholic Church on June 18. Among them are 25 friars, a lay Dominican and a Dominican nun.

They suffered martyrdom in three places: Almería, Huéscar and Almagro (Ciudad Real) and many of them had not even reached 30 years of age when they gave their lives for not denying Christ.

A youth that shows that "even today there are young people capable of giving their lives for a great cause, and undoubtedly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ", as Friar Emilio Garcia, prior of the friary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Seville, points out.

"His example speaks to us of evangelical radicalism"

The approval of the beatification of this group of Dominicans has also served to learn, even within their order, about the life and martyrdom of these friars.

Emilio García, who explains that "it is a matter of martyrs of one of the three Provinces that existed in Spain until 2016, the Province of Betica or Andalusia. This means that those of us who belonged to one of the other two Provinces had less knowledge of the friars of Almagro, Almeria or Huescar and their concrete history. For that reason, we believe that for us this beatification does not awaken the same resonance that for those who belonged to that Province and even were related to them or lived where they lived. But, evidently, they are our brothers and their example is very stimulating for all of us and speaks to us of evangelical radicalism and fidelity to one's own vocation, as well as an attitude of great Christian generosity in forgiving those who took their lives".

In fact, the arrival to the altars of these 27 Dominicans has led "the most veteran friars of that ancient Province to show their emotion and affection for the history and the remains that have come down to us from these witnesses of Christ".

Martyr, layman and journalist

The example of Fructuoso Pérez Márquez, a Dominican layman, is, because of his characteristics, the most different of this group of new Blesseds.

Born in Almería, married and father of four children, he started working at the age of 24 in the Almería newspaper "La Independencia", of which he would become director. He also collaborated with other media such as El Correo Español, El Universo or El Debate.

In his articles he clearly exposed the doctrine of the Church, especially in social matters. This experience of the preachers' charism in the world of the media is still present today.

Beatification Poster

"The fact that, also in our Order, there are today many lay people who collaborate in this world, for professional reasons and simultaneously linked to our spirituality, makes us think that, when the time comes, they too would be willing to give witness to their faith by exercising this noble profession," says Friar Emilio Perez.

Those who knew him remembered Fructuoso as a fervent Catholic, a courageous defender of the truth, affable and charitable, he was denounced, prosecuted and even imprisoned.

On July 26, 1936, Fructuoso was arrested at his home and transferred to the improvised prison in the convent of the Adorers. On August 3 he was transferred to the ship "Segarra". On that ship, along with other comrades, he was executed and his body was thrown into the sea.

His head was crushed between two stones

Especially hard is the testimony of the martyrdom of the only woman of this group of martyrs. Sister Ascensión de San José died in Huéscar, where she was born in 1861 after a bloody trial.

This Dominican nun began her novitiate in the Dominican convent of Huéscar around May 1884. Her life was marked by illness, which she bore with patience and peace.

She was, for many years, the nunnery's turner. On August 4, 1936, the nuns were forced to leave the convent, taking refuge in the homes of relatives and charitable persons.

The new Blessed was taken in by a niece until February 1937 when she was arrested for wearing a crucifix around her neck. At nearly 76 years of age, she was beaten and beaten for refusing to blaspheme. The cruelty was such that the old woman ended up lying on the floor in her blood.

The next day, February 17, she was loaded onto a truck along with other prisoners to the gates of the cemetery. There they shot the prisoners, among them her nephew Florencio. When he again refused to blaspheme, they placed his head on a stone and crushed his skull with another stone. 

The martyrs of Almagro

Among the new Blesseds, a large group, 13 of them, were part of the friary of Almagro. At the beginning of July 1936, several students, cooperator brothers and parents were in the convent. Shortly after the outbreak of war, the local mayor urged them to leave the convent. That same night several men searched the convent for weapons.

In the following days, the threats intensified and on July 25 the friars began to evacuate the convent. At the request of the Ateneo Libertario, which argued that the dispersion of the religious was a difficulty in keeping them under control, the mayor ordered the friars to be confined in an uninhabited house. On July 30, the mayor began to issue safe-conducts to the religious.

The measure was useless, the members of the Ateneo Libertario got off the trains those who had been leaving, very young, and executed them in various places. The rest of the religious followed the path of martyrdom on August 13. They were taken to the outskirts of Almagro, where they were shot while the Blessed were praying.

The new Blessed Martyrs

  • Ángel Marina Álvarez, priest
  • Manuel Fernández (Herba), priest 
  • Natalio Camazón Junquera, priest 
  • Antonio Trancho Andrés, priest 
  • Luis Suárez Velasco, priest
  • Eduardo Sainz Lantarón, priest 
  • Pedro López Delgado, priest 
  • Francisco Santos Cadierno, student religious
  • Sebastián Sáinz López, student religious
  • Arsenio de la Viuda Solla, cooperating brother
  • Ovidio Bravo Porras, cooperating brother
  • Dionisio Perez Garcia, cooperating brother
  • Fernando García de Dios, novice to cooperator brother
  • Antolín Martínez-Santos Ysern, novice to the clerical profession
  • Paulino Reoyo García, student teacher
  • Santiago Aparicio López, student teacher
  • Ricardo Manuel López y López, professed student
  • José Garrido Francés, priest
  • Justo Vicente Martínez, professed student
  • Mateo (Santiago) de Prado Fernández, cooperator brother
  • Juan Aguilar Donis, priest
  • Tomás Morales Morales, priest
  • Fernando Grund Jiménez, priest
  • Fernando de Pablos Fernández, cooperating brother
  • Luis María (Ceferino) Fernández Martínez, cooperating brother
  • Fructuoso Pérez Márquez, Dominican layman
  • Sister Ascensión de San José (Isabel Ascensión Sánchez Romero), Dominican nun
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