Antonio Junyent Estruch

Born October 25, 1896 in Vacarissas (Barcelona).

Professed August 15, 1913

Ordained a priest December 17, 1921

Martyred August 19, 1936 in Barcelona

 

He was born on 25 October 1896, in Vacarissas (Barcelona).  His parents were Francisco Junyent and Josefa Estruch. He was baptized in the parish of Vacarissas which is located in the Diocese of Vic.

He entered the Postulancy of Vic on September 7, 1908, and took classes in Analogy, Syntax and Rhetoric until 1912. His Prefects were Father’s Ramon Ribera and Gumersindo Valtierra. The following year he would move to Cervera for the Novitiate. The year began on August 1912, and the Master of Novices was Father Ramon Ribera. He would make his First Profession on August 15, 1913, with temporary vows as had been established by the General Chapter of Vic, 1913.

His studies in Philosophy, Logic, Metaphysics and Ethics, which would take place in Cervera during the years 1913-1916. On July 18, 1915, he received Tonsure with 57 other students from the Apostolic Administrator of Solsona. In Cervera, he would complete the first three years of Theology and Dogmatic Theology. He accomplished this with great effort and commitment, since his intellectual qualities were average. On the eve of examination reviews, he states: “the troubles and things we go through in order to review the entire matter.” The fourth and fifth years of Theology, that is Moral studies took place in Alagon where he arrived on July 23, 1919. His prefect was Fr. José Fogued who would become the Apostolic Prefect of Tunki (China).

It should be noted that he had excellent literary qualities, especially poetic and oratories. Already in 1919, he received prizes with his composition. In 1924, he published some compositions in the Iris of peace Magazine. But all these accomplishments weren’t important because he really wanted to be a missionary. These qualities would make him an excellent preacher, able to be understood by all.

He was ordained a priest on March 12, 1921, in Zaragoza. A few days later, he was plagued with an illness limiting his ability to work. He was assigned to Cervera, to the live on the estate of Mas Claret.

His illness limited his activities. He was prevented from going to Aranda de Duero to make the year of preparation. In 1922, he went to Barbastro as Curate of the Prefect of Postulants. Then he would be assigned as the Assistant Prefect of Theologians in Cervera. In 1924, his illness forced him to leave office. There he began the rosary for those being sent from Lleida, Berga and Solsona. His main occupation was preaching, novenarios, Spiritual Exercises, etc., which was strongly received. He was a distinguished preacher. A simple preaching, as he himself confesses “I have been a simple preacher because I’m not good for anything else.” According to the reports of the Province in 1935, he couldn’t really work anymore.

In February 1936, he was assigned to Argentina. He wanted to leave as soon as possible, because he didn’t want to be eight months without doing anything. He was eager to leave because he was also weary of the anti-religious environment which was taking place in Spain. The ship was scheduled to leave in August.

 

Virtues

He was a man of extraordinary faith, always ready to accept the will of God. He was also very pious and had great zeal for the salvation of souls. Was very devoted to the Virgin of the Rosary. From a young age in 1919, he proved to be a great singer of the Virgin through poetry.

As a religious was considered exemplary, mindful of the holy Constitutions and obedient to the requests of Superiors. He was courageous, fearless, compassionate, humble, simple and peaceful.

 

Martyrdom

Father Antonio Junyent was in Barcelona with the plans of boarding a steamer for Argentine on August 21, 1936.  With the Revolution of July 19th, the burning of the house and Church of the missionaries, having to dress in civilian clothes, he saw no option but to get out of there. He walked toward the house of his sister Mercedes who lived in Barcelona and remained there until August 18th. At this time, he had stated on several occasions to his sister, that before renouncing his faith, he preferred to die for Jesus Christ.

On August 18th, he left home around 10:00 in the morning to find out about the departure of the ship to Argentina. He went to an agency and after an hour became scared because the people he met were different from before. Apparently they wanted to obtain his passports and passage. Two individuals followed from a certain distance. One of them said: “This must be a priest, and exclaimed: shoot him! And the other replied: No, leave him in peace, you don’t know who he is.”

Toward four in the afternoon a patrol arrived at the house asking if there was any man there. He was forced to leave and they asked him to show the palms of his hands to check if he had calluses, for this was the test. You can see, they said, that you have never worked, and they took him away. He refused to climb into the car and his sister told him not to be frightened, which led him to make a statement. But what is certain is that he understood more than what they were saying and no one knows what happened to him.

His body was taken to the Hospital Clinic. According to the registry, the body arrived at 8:00 in the morning of August 20th, and was found in Pedralbes, with a note containing personal data. The information was taken from the passport. He was recognized by those who knew him as well as the photographs.