Born April 11, 1896 in Castrillo de Don Juan (Palencia)
Professed August 15, 1915
Ordained a priest May 26, 1923
Shot October 14, 1936 in Torrelavega (Santander)
Father Isaac Carrascal was born in the village of Castrillo de Don Juan, province of Palencia and Diocese of Burgos, on April 11, 1896. Two days later he was baptized in the parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption by the Pastor Sergio Bombin. Three years later, in the same parish, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation by the Archbishop of Burgos, on the occasion of the pastoral visit. His parents were Don Casto Carrascal and Mrs. Juliana Mozo, who were blest with a large family.
As a small boy he chose to become an altar server and was very assiduous in the doctrine of catechesis. In this environment his vocation grew with firmness, as evidenced by his teacher. Knowing that in Torresandino (Burgos), a distance of about five leagues, were the missionary Father’s of Aranda de Duero. He undertook the long journey to ask them about his vocation. The priest knew how to arrange everything so his parents gladly gave their permission.
At the age of fourteen he entered the Postulancy of Valmaseda, where he arrived accompanied by his father on July 13, 1910. Here for four years he studied the Humanities and distinguished himself by his application and conduct, so that he obtained the highest grades in all subjects. On August 10, 1914, he entered the Novitiate in Segovia under the direction of Fr Juan Oleaga. At the end of the year, he would make his First Profession on August 15, 1915, the feast of the Assumption of Mary.
The next day he joined with other students and left for Beire (Navarra) to study Philosophy. Again he would excel in his studies. During the second year of Philosophy, on November 8, 1916, he received Tonsure from Juan Plaza, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Calahorra, in the chapel of the College of Tarragona. In the summer of 1918, he went to Santo Domingo de la Calzada to study Theology. At the end of the second year, on May 2 and 3, 1920, he received Minor Orders. In this same year, he was appointed librarian of the scholasticate, but wondered if he would be able to obtain necessary books.
At the end of the third year, which was Dogmatic Theology, he returned to Segovia to continue the study of Moral Theology. On June 10, 1922, he received the Subdiaconate and on December 23, he was ordained to the Diaconate by the Bishop of Segovia. On May 26, 1923, he was ordained to the priesthood. Shortly before his ordination to the priesthood, his father died as well as two of his sisters, one of which left six children from the ages one to twelve years. Therefore, he asked permission to be able to celebrate his first Mass in the house of Aranda de Duero so that his family could attend. The Superiors allowed him and there was a great feast.
His first assignment was the Postulancy of Segovia as a teacher of Rhetoric and Latin. From 1926 to 1929, he would enter a program for further studies of Philosophy at the University of Madrid. Completing his studies in Philosophy, he was sent to Beire (Navarra) where he arrived on October 3, 1929, to teach metaphysics. During the first year also qualified as a Master Teacher, with the official title won in 1930, in Zaragoza.
As professor of Philosophy his biographer states: “his merit as a teacher is to be found in the clarity of his concepts and in the precision and good order in which explained them. He managing to convey with clarity so that everyone would understand.” In addition he was very understanding and compassionate with his students.
On October 6, 1931, he was able to travel to Tortoles de Esgueva (Burgos), at the Monastery of Santa María la Real, in order to place the Benedictine habit on two nieces. The following year he was able to return to receive their First Profession on feast of Our Lady of the Pillar.
On September 24, 1933, he was sent to Castro Urdiales, as technical director of the college and professor of different subjects in the school. At the beginning of 1935, he began to wear the cassock again and the boys found it strange. Little by little they were accustomed to his priestly garb.
In October 1935 he was invited to Tortoles to receive the Solemn Profession of his nieces. After the Profession because his family home was not far from the Convent, he spent a few days at home.
In 1936, after the general elections in February, the political situation has worsened. Father Carrascal learned of the military uprising when he was in Santander, but was not being able to communicate with the Superior of Castro Urdiales. He was told that radio communications between Madrid, Santander and Bilbao had been cut off.
Qualities and virtues
In a small note a Prefect mentioned his exemplary behavior. When he left school to enter Valmaseda, the teacher put him as a model for other children. During the Novitiate, he again showed his exemplary conduct. The teacher gave him the best reports highlighting his piety, humility, docility and obedience. It distinguished himself in modesty. He was a talented and applied worker. Religious mindful and very obedient to his Superiors. He was very pious and devoted to the Virgin.
Had a great zeal for the salvation of souls and great qualities as a Spiritual Director. He also had great desire to be saintly reflecting a sense of holiness, as several witnesses noted.
Dispersion of the community, shelter and martyrdom
On July 19, 1936, he returned from Santander, where he had gone to attend a Congress on Education and correct some issues dealing with the College, accompanied by two girls from the school of the Religious Sisters, who had gone to the city to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and be able to enter the Novitiate. There were armed militia at the door of the school and Father Carrascal stayed in the house of Angel Llano Piro, who worked for the Servants of Jesus. After Mass, he went to school to learn what was going on and receive orders from the Superior. A few hours later he returned asking for lodging in the house in which he had slept. Now becoming chaplain, it seemed a good idea to Mother Angeles Aldasoro, Superior, and she accepted the proposal because he didn’t have to move around with so many dangers.
On July 22, he was joined by Father Gelada and a month later, on August 22, Brother Barrio arrived. They lived in the house called “Providence”, where they formed community life. During this time they prepared for their martyrdom and took notes of what was happening in the town. At times other Claretians would visit from where they were hiding in private homes. It was a trying time. With the arrest of three Claretians, Father’s Jose M. Martinez de la Calle, Jerome Carazo Palazuelos and the student Juan Manuel Arteaga, he wrote:
“Who would have ever suspected serious evils threatened us this evening? Three beloved brothers would be taken out of our hands. A vehement sorrow in our heart and great fear invaded us. With this arrest would be the beginning for us all? The three predicted roamed the streets and public roads freely, something that not all approved.”
For the refugees in the Convent all remained the same. Father Carrascal writes on October 5:
“Trust in the Lord although intimately concerned we follow the same routine of life that we have in the cloister. From our rooms we are able to hear the clatter of the cars of the soldiers.”
On October 13, around eleven in the morning, they were arrested and taken to jail which was now in the monastery of the Poor Clares. At half past five in the afternoon on the same day they returned to the school accompanied by a member of the militia. The Claretians were asked to give 450 pesetas. The militia wanted 150 pesetas for each prisoner, three blankets and food because they were going to taken to the prison of Santander. It’s all a lie! It was greed. When he was in the entrance hall, Father told them where they had been and that they had not been given water. Father say to think about what they were going to do with them.
You want to be payed after what you have done for us.
They gave what was asked of them and they want more, but the Father said:
What For? To die? And he added:
You ask to God if we are going to die as martyrs. Tell the girls to make the same appeal.
The Father bid farewell. He gave them absolution and left.
The militiants waiting for him returned him to jail. At one in the morning of October 14, he was taken by car to the Hermitage Jesus del Monte, near de Torrelavega, suffering during the journey all kinds of insults and even beatings. He was then handed over to another group that shot him. His body was found in the km. 4 of the road of Sierrapando to la Cavada. Since he had no documentation, a photograph was taken and attached to the death certificate. They found several objects such as a rosary, a medal of Anthony M Claret, pens, two slips of paper with some notes, etc…. and a newspaper of the Illustration of Castro, dated August 30, 1936. The clothes he wore was marked with the n. 173. He was buried in the cemetery of Torrelavega.