Antonio Casany Vilarassa

Casany, Antonio

Born December 4, 1895 in Riudeperas (Barcelona)

Professed August 15, 1920

Shot August 11, 1936 in San Pedro des Arquels (Lérida)

 

Antonio Casany was born in the village of Riudeperas, within the province of Barcelona, on December 4, 1895.

His parents were Juan Casany, a laborer, and Dona Antonia Vilarasa, of which they had seven children, and Antonio was the fourth.

He was baptized the following day on December 5th, in the parish of Santa Maria de Calldetenes, which was in the Diocese of Vic. He would receive the Sacrament of Confirmation later.

At the beginning of November 1918, he came to Cervera as a Postulant Brother.

He received the habit on August 14, 1919, and as he began his Novitiate, Father Ramón Ribera would be his Novice Master. He made his First Profession on August 15, 1920. After his profession, he continued to work in the community of Cervera performing domestic chores as a Brothers. Given that his health was normal, his participation in the work was basic, but his determination for the work was very strong.

His Novice Master considered him to be a good man, quiet, hard working, most compassionate and humble. He had numerous talents and was very humble and somewhat shy. He was so kind and humble that the students and Brothers would  call him Fray Junipero.

 

Martyrdom

At the outbreak of the Revolution, Brother Casany was in Cervera. He left with others from the community toward Solsona on July 21, 1936, but as it had been said earlier, he went to San Ramon, and two days later would arrive at the Mas Claret on the 24th.

Here he spent two days dedicated to the work of the Brothers and to pray the Holy Rosary, because he was convinced that they would kill him. That is why he said that he had to pray for the persecutors so that God will illuminate them.

When he left Mas Claret due to overpopulation, he saw Mas Rosich, taking two cows from Mas Claret farm, because everything under the care of Brother Casany, the militia would take whatever they decided. Away from Mas Claret, Brother continued with the tasks in his new house. Over three weeks, he helped care for the house. During this time, Brother continued with his prayers in accordance with the schedules of the Conventual Franciscans, and would pray the Holy Rosary with the family. He never lost his sense of piety. On the other hand he hardly spoke and his mood was stifled, as he longed to return to Mas Claret, but the family discouraged him from going due to the danger. He would say that if he couldn’t return to the Congregation, then why live.

When work was done, he would make the sign of the cross and the other workers told him:

Don’t do that, they will kill you.

He replied:

If we can’t do this, they will kill us.

 

On August 10th, in the afternoon some from Cervera arrived in  Mas Rosich, captained by the infamous Castéras, El Felix and El Estruch. They drove a few laps in the car, for which the owner was able to escape, and took down information asking if there was any hidden religious? Castéras found Brother Casany milking the cows and forced him to go before them. Then Castéras told the servant: Now you could say that you don’t have any religious. The servant said that Brother was a servant who had come for a few days. Brother Casany said nothing. Castéras made Brother board the car so as to take him to Cervera, but earlier the militia were given a good amount of wine. On the journey, they were struck by a train at a level crossing in Montpalau, dragging them more than three hundred meters, but they escaped injury. As they were being dragged, Brother Casany pulled out his rosary. Seeing this Castéras said:

See, you are a religious?

Since nothing happened to them. They pulled the car in front of the station, boarded the train and arrived in Cervera.

They returned with two cars to Mas Rosich bringing the Brother and a priest John Nadal, who had been caught in the Masia del Frare of Vergos Garrejat. These two were joined with eight or ten militia commanded by the three already mentioned. In the Mas Rosich, around nine in the evening, they began drinking as before the accident and, as a result, recounted what had happened during the day. They forced the servant, Mr. José Duch, to escort them to the road and during the journey, they did nothing other than abuse and humiliate the two detainees. They wanted to disrobe them and make them sing inmoral songs, but failed to do so.

When they arrived at the Mas de l’Alan, all were told to get out of the cars. The servant was told that he could go. Brother Casany asked the other if he was a priest and without waiting for an answer knelt at his feet.

Immediately, El Felix shot at the two. The servant who was a few meters away, heard the shots, believing that they were shooting at him, he escaped. And he didn’t hear anything else.

Their bodies were completely burned by order of the committee of Cervera.