Born September 8, 1914 in Torms (Lérida)
Professed August 15, 1931
Shot August 27, 1936 in Floresta (Lérida)
In the village of Torms, within the province of Lerida, Genaro Piñol was born on September 8, 1914. It was from a strong Christian family, formed by his parents Don Genaro Piñol, a laborer, and Mrs. Engracia Ricart, along with three younger brothers. They all received a Christian education. He was baptized on September 17, 1914, at the parish of St. John the Baptist in the same village. Some time later he received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
He began his studies in the village school. He was very young when he chose to be an altar boy. The Pastor recognized great qualities in Genaro and asked his parents to permit him to go to the seminary, but the economic conditions of the family could not pay for so long and difficult career. But Genraro wanted to go to Cervera, where a friend of his was in the town. Learning about this the village teacher tried to dissuade him. His mother went to Lerida to speak with Father Superior of the Missionaries and everything was arranged. On October 15, 1924, Genaro entered the Postulancy in Cervera. In 1924, beginning the year of preparation in Cervera and in the summer of 1925, he moved to Alagon (Zaragoza) to study the Humanities. In 1928, he returned to Cervera to complete this part of his studies. It took a great deal of effort on his part to complete his studies. He did show his love and qualities in drawings and painting.
At the end of July 1930, he moved to Vic for the Novitiate. On August 14, he received the habit and made his First Profession on August 15, 1931. Ten days later he was on his way to Solsona to study Philosophy. He would also begin his studies in Theology in Solsona. In the summer of 1935, he returned to Cervera to continue his studies. In Cervera he suffered several seizures, which required that he interrupt his studies and question his future.
Qualities and virtues: In a report of April 1935, it states that his physical qualities were very good, his intelectual level was average, but very pratical, and that his character was careful and dismissive, helpful and lax in fulfilling all that he had started. A subsequent report said that he excels in seriousness and reflection.
Refuge, flight and martyrdom
On July 21, 1936, as the community of Cervera was being dispersed, before leaving the house everyone was subjected to a thorough search. The Father Superior had been ordered not to take anything personal or anything from the community. Genaro perhaps by indication of a priest, had a chalice, if the opportunity presented itself so they could celebrate Mass. The individual who was registering everything through the chalice to the ground uttering an awful blasphemy. After the registration, the students Genaro Piñol and Remigio Tamarit took refuge in the house of Marcelina Piñol and aunt of Remigio, living in the same city. She was a dressmaking with her daughters. They were accompanied by a member of the militia. Marcelina wanted them to be clean, well groomed, and even stylish. They were so pleased that they said: Aunt, we don’t lack a mother!
The two missionaries were given a large room, well-arranged, with two beds. The two young men helped Mrs. Marcelina on what she needed, like carrying the water, but they never seemed to complain and if they were aware of some need, he would say; Why didn’t you ask?
The two students also spent time in prayer according to the schedules of community. Despite the fact that they were afraid, they accepted the will of God and used to repeat: Nothing more will happen than that what God wants.
Genaro was ill and the physician was called. Dr. Nuix considered transferring him to the hospital, but it was not possible because everything was controlled. It would be better for Genaro to be in the country, not locked up. Ten days later the Reds gave notice that they were going to take down information of the houses. Genaro was taken to a more secure home, but unable to arrive at the home, he returned with the aunt. Genaro wrote several letters to his family which arrived, but went missing. His brother Joseph traveled to Cervera twice, the second time to get his brother. He found help in an old friend Sanfeliu, nicknamed the Gypsy Soul. For the trip Mrs. Marcelina had prepared mechanical dress, wet and chopped for greater strength, and good socks. They wore navy blue shirts with red lacitos, without a jacket or hat or beret. She prepared a fine meal and something for the trip. As the missionaries left, they said to the aunt:
If we don’t meet soon, then in heaven.
At the agreed time on August 25, Alma Gitana ensured that the most dangerous elements were engaged in entertainment. He arrived with caraton hat, as a sign, and led Joseph and the missionaries in the direction of the wall toward the road without being seen. They walked through the fields to avoid being discovered by the automobiles to Zaragoza. Curullada was left in Tárrega and they went towards Preixana. Following the old road, they came to the Mas Estadella and from there to Preixana, where the father of Gypsy Soul lived. Arriving in the middle of the day, while the people threshed, and when the people saw them, they became frightened thinking that they were three militia, but Mr. Ventura reassured them by saying that his son had been with a friend from the military that it was taking two religious to town. The four ate and rested from the first 24 kilometers of the journey in the cabin of Sanfeliu. The second day, and last according to the plan, should begin at dusk to reach the village of Piñol, but the distance was long and they didn’t know the fields. This caused them to stop before long. Went to a house to asking for water which they drank with gratitude. The woman asked Alma Gitana who were his companions. He said: They are two religious of Cervera.
To hear such a revelation that women could not contain herself, and lifting up her voice she said all the priests and the monks should be killed and the army would be in Zaragoza; she had two children on the Aragon Front of the Red army. After a while they found another house and a new stop. They were treated very well and had a guide who would lead them on the correct path. In Bellanes, another stop and guidance to avoid Borjas Blancas because they were told that there was a lot of surveillance in that town. This situation was discouraging. Gypsy Soul, just discovered a road block, shouting “C.N.T.! Where is the documentation of that group. José Piñol, anxiously spoke directly to the head of the expedition without thinking:
And if they get us?
That gypsy responded with complete awareness:
I easily would say that I am taking the three to be shoot.
Finding this response unflattering he looked to Joseph for assurance:
Well, what do we do with these guys?
Gypsy Soul felt responsible and proposed taking them to the cabin of his father. His idea was to hide the missionaries in a safe place that didn’t give rise to suspicion until the storm passed, but Joseph, with the desire to get home as soon as possible, because his father was sick. I do not accept the proposition and was of the opinion to continue the journey. To thank the gypsy Sanfeliu for his good services, they offered him a tip of 15 pesetas and made a promise of more if they arrived safely.
The fugitives arrived in Belianes. Entering the town, they stopped next to a wall. From their hiding place, they saw a small car going at full speed in the direction of Arbeca. Where’s he going? Their disappearance had been reported and the search had begun. They ignored it all and managed to sleep that night. When they woke up in the morning the three fugitives started towards Belianes in the direction of Arbeca, walking through the fields. Before arriving in Arbeca, they took the road towards Floresta, for fear if someone saw and recognized them as the religious of Cervera. In this way they could bypass two hills but got lost. Luckily they found a good man who assured them that on that path there was a lot of movement and there was no shortage of guards adding: without a doubt have been you. Reported to the Committee of Arbeca. Later they encountered another worker. They asked for water and grape. He told them that he didn’t have water and that the grapes were green. He didn’t give them anything. At the top of mount Deogracias they found a young man, José Sans Vila, who gave them food and water. After a while they stopped again. Arriving in the district of the Forcas. There they found Jose Sans y Sans and his daughter Carmen, who said:
These should be the religious, who escaped from Cervera.
The fugitives asked for water and he asked them if they were the religious. They responded affirmatively. Then Mr. Sans insisted that they hide in the haystack and at night he would lead them to Borjas. You look well and clothe yourselves well. Let’s go inside. There was no way to persuade them and they decided to move. Then he explained where they had to go and how to get to the Trull and from there to Borjas. By following these directions they came to a ravine where they found the young Antonio Roset, working the land. Seeing them moving through the mountain he thought that they were religious. When he returned from work to eat, he denounced them before the Committee. The three travelers were met with a young boy, Jose Mª Plana y Seto, who was going to the pharmacy of Arbeca to buy medicine for his sick grandfather. When he arrived at the landing of the Cayo, he found the three travelers and asked:
Where you are going with such haste? They let him know of their plan.
The three travelers arrived in the hollow of the Trull. There they found Antonio Rius and Ramon Solé, who was plowing and began a conversation. Ramon gave them the bread that he had left over. They had a tin of sardines and gave him three pesetas to buy more in the village. They began to eat under a fig tree. As they ate they told of their adventures to Antonio Rius, a member of the CNT and the Committee of Floresta, who offered assurances and advised what to withdraw so as not to commit any error. The fugitives, reassured with so many words, went to sleep on bushes. The two missionaries, tired as they were, they slept deeply. Jose, however, did not sleep. In the meantime Antonio Rius and his helper went to Forest and made a report to the Committee. Then the Committee of Arbeca were looking for them.
At eleven o’clock in the morning Joseph heard cries of people approaching. He saw three men shouting, to which others responded from farther away. He understood that they were going for them and woke the two missionaries. He said, Follow me. They escaped on the opposite side of the persecutors and reached the road where there was a car with a red flag. Joseph told them to stay, that he was going to try his luck. He gave the missionaries signals to follow his path, but because they lost sight of him they walked into view of the car without realizing what had happened. Trying to cross the road from the embankment another car of militiamen passed and quickly stopped. They tried to escape, but in vain. Joseph saw everything from the other side. The two missionaries were arrested at the foot of Castellot by the police of Floresta, the President of the Committee of Borjas, Amadeo Pons, Troski, and another from Castelldans. They were taken by car to the cemetery of La Floresta. Once they were arrested, the militia discussed among themselves and informed the missionaries:
As required by law, we have to kill you.
We thought so, they responded. There was no protest or resistance. Expressing the desire to die in the cemetery nearby, the militia was in agreement. Before the execution, the militia had a gathering at the cafe of Valentina. They mobilized all those who went searching for the missionaries, representatives of Puiggrosa, Arbeca, Borjas Blancas and Floresta. Of Borjas Blancas there were about 25. The purpose of the meeting was to kill the innocent detainees. The Chairman of this Committee, Amadeo Trozki Pons, imposed the will of Floresta to execute the crime because it had not yet been stained with blood. Dorotea Carulla said:
We need to comply with the law. Be courageous in our actions, and not be cowards.
The militia of Floresta and other companies went to the cemetery for the shooting. The two young men forgave them. The militia mocked the religious. They also asked permission to write to their families which was granted, but with the caveat of not putting the address of Floresta but the cemetery of Lérida.
Genaro Piñol wrote:
Dear Fathers and Brothers of the beloved Congregation. I am writing to you my last lines of farewell. Goodbye, until we meet in heaven. Genaro Piñol, C.M.F.
Torms. Mr. Genaro Pinyol Massip
Calle Prat de la Riba
The letter arrived the following day to his family. Jose arrived a day later.
The missionaries also asked the Reds to give them a ride through town before killing to see the people. It was not granted. When they realized that it was their last hour, they asked to withdraw for a moment to a corner of the cemetery. It is granted and the two were there to talk secretly. Later, they asked for water. The militia took the car of Borjas and went to the café to by some bottles. Valentina gave them soda, brandy and other spirits. Then boasted saying:
They asked for water and soda.
But the women of the village answered:
You haven’t given them justice, which is their life.
To see everyone drinking, the missionaries didn’t want anything, only the water. The missionaries were ordered to drink a soda, but rejected the spirits. Trozki who was in charge took the soda from the missionaries because he needed it more than them. In a sign of forgiveness, the missionaries extended their hand to shake their executioners. In the firing squad there were: Francisco Andreu, Chairman of the Committee; Jaime Montalá, sheriff; Miguel Sans; Martin Farre and José Prats.
The missionaries prayed an Act of Contrition and kneeling, told the Reds to shoot for the chest. The platoon chose to shoot them in the back. The missionaries shouted three times Long Live Christ the King! The Committee then cried out: Long Live the Social Revolution. According to the eyewitness Matias Farré, from his house, he heard the cry “Long Live Christ the King and then the detonation of the shooting.” It took a long time to die, until the sheriff gave the coup de grace in the right eye of each man. After they searched for money… finding nothing. Immediately all of the militia left for their town without even closing the door of the cemetery.
The two missionaries accepted their death. It was August 27, 1936. They were buried in the same cemetery. The Reds were amazed at the serenity displayed by the two young men.