Born March 8, 1883 in Villafranca Montes de Oca (Burgos)
Professed March 19, 1899
Shot October 14, 1936 in Torrelavega (Santander)
Brother Félix Barrio was born March 8, 1883, in Villafranca Montes de Orca (Burgos), on the road to Santiago. He would be baptized a few days later and Confirmed in the same parish. He father was Don Santiago Barrio, a laborer, and Mrs. Florence Barrio. There were nine children and Felix was the fifth child.
He entered the Claretian College of Santo Domingo de la Calzada on June 13, 1895, when he was eleven. The following week he was taken to Cervera. He wrote to his parents telling them of his first impressions in a big house, where at times he would get lost, but was happy. He began his Postulancy as a Brother with a notable advantage intellectually and learned the trade of a tailor with relative ease, calling attention his intelligence for his age. In 1898, he would enter the Novitiate under the direction of Fr. Crispiniano Garcia and made his Profession on March 19, 1899. His parents came to celebrate this important day.
The following year he was assigned to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a community formed by 242 individuals including the General Government. In this community he was in charge of the gardens, which made him very happy. But he encountered some health problems and the Superiors made him responsible for tailoring.
From 1911, he was assigned to various communities, such as Segovia, Calahorra, Baltar and finally Valmaseda. He served in various ministries due to his poor health. Finally, he was assigned to Castro Urdiales in 1928, until his martyrdom. In all the letters that he wrote to his family, he would promote the Religious vocation. His apostolic zeal appears to recall one’s Christian duty and good works like the magazine The Iris of peace.
Qualities and virtues
Those who interacted with him claim that he was simple, humble and obedient to his Superiors. He lived very detached from his family, because he never returned to his hometown after joining the Congregation, not even when his parents celebrated their golden anniversary of marriage despite the insistence of his Superior to make the journey.
His religious life was admirable, to the point that some referred to him as saintly Brother Coadjutor. His poverty of spirit, hard work and dedication to the exercise of charity in his ministry as a cook, tailor, nurse and porter; his piety and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through the recitation of the Holy Rosary was well noted. He also endured with great patience his physical limitations.
Closing the community, shelter and martyrdom
On July 20, 1936, there was a local chapter to deal with the situation created by the presence of the Revolutionaries and Father Superior allowed members of the community to seek refuge wherever they would be safe. Some stayed in the school, among which was Brother Barrio. In such a hostile environment, with the Red army, Brother Barrio demonstrated his Marian piety, especially with the recitation of the Holy Rosary, even in their presence.
On August 18, Brother Barrio joined Father’s Gelada and Carracal taking refuge in the house of the gardener. There they formed community life. When he arrived at the Convent school, his clothing was so worn that the Mother Superior gave him some black boots and some clothing of a nun.
His behavior, modesty, silence, submission and his frequent acceptance of the will of God was clearly noted. The Sisters recall that when giving bad news and little reassurance, Brother Barrio would respond:
To do the will of God.
On October 13, 1936, around eleven in the morning, he was arrested along with Father’s Gelada and Carrascal. At the time of his arrest, he did not say a single word. He followed the same fate as the priests.
The clothes worn by Brother Barrio was marked with H. N. 9, which in conjunction with the boots allowed for the identification of his body because he was so mutilated that they found it difficult to recognize him.