Jaime Girón Puigmitja

Giron Jaume

Born October 11, 1887 in San Cristobal the Fonts (Girona)

Professed November 21, 1916

Ordained a priest March 15, 1919

Shot September 5, 1936 in Castellfollit de Riubregós (Barcelona)

 

Father Jaime Girón as it has been said before was the Superior of the community of Cervera when it was forced to disperse July 21, 1936. Father Giron was born in San Cristobal Fonts-Olot, in the province and Diocese of Girona, on October 11, 1887, and was baptized the day after his birth.  On September 17, 1917, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation in Alagon from His Excellency John Soldevila, Archbishop of Zaragoza.

 

His parents were Dona Puigmitja Francisca and Don Pedro Giron, a day laborer. The family moved to San Pedro de las Presas, where the three other children were born. His home was modest and at the age of 10, he went to Mas Soler belonging to his godfather Juan Puig. He learned to graze cattle in the mountains and felt the call to the priestly vocation. The parish priest spoke with his godfather to assist him in this calling. Then he began to study the first few lessons with a rural teacher, which from time to time Jaime demonstrated his great intelligence and virtue. His free time was spent studying. In his biography it states: “There are certain things that cannot be remedied. And we believe that the good Father always retained something of its native rudeness and a certain contempt for rhetoric and diplomacy”(p. 20).

 

At the end of the 19th century his family moved to Olot. His mother died in 1899, and his father married again in 1901, with a widow who had several children. Jaime would join them in 1902.

 

In the seminary of Collell

The Pastor of his parish, Don Esteban Ferrer went with him to Collell, the Diocesan Minor Seminary where he studied Humanities, Philosophy and with Episcopal permission Theology. It was far away from the villages and farmhouses. At this time, there were two types of seminarians, interns and externs. The extern seminarians would find a host family in exchange for providing services, such as teaching the children of the house, get water, firewood and other things. The day was long. They had to get up early, travel a number of kilometers to go to the seminary and return in the afternoon and meet all the tasks. They would have a carrycot for the shoulder with a belt for work and books for learning their lessons.

Jaime was a extern seminarian for six years and two extra in Theology. First he was at the Mas Pinsach, five kilometers from Collell which was located between two mountains and he always was on foot taking the roads and trails. In 1904, he moved to Casa Planaferrana of San Miguel Campomajor, also at the same distance as the previous school. He obtained the meritissimus in all subjects. Even though he was a good student he failed the general review of Philosophy.

 

In 1909, he made the decision to leave the country. In Morocco, there was the war of the Rif. The military chiefs made tempting offers for him to stay in the army. In 1912-1913, he was attached to the Girona Seminary as a student of Theology, but his resident was in San Gregorio a few kilometers away. From 1913-1915 he studied Theology in the Collell, and would take his necessarily exams in Girona. Every summers from 1912 to 1915 were spent at the home of Fábrega.

 

Novitiate and profession

For many years, he was attracted to the religious and missionary life. He heard a conference in 1912, by Fr Jose Puig, a former missionary in Mexico and would become a martyr in Sallent. If he didn’t enter, it was because he had been told that he would not be able to help his family, but in those times the situation was different. The Congregation was attracted by the simplicity, humility, austerity and poverty, that is to say self-denial.

He spent the summer with his friends Fabrega in Sant Feliu de Pallarols and went to Olot to say goodbye to his father and family. In September 1915, he entered the Claretian Novitiate in Cervera. He was twenty-eight years old. He received the habit on November 20, 1915. The rules of the Novitiate took in consideration his age, thus they were more open, at times complicated but it was a sacrifice and he adapted with humility and simplicity to the customs. The age difference with most of the Novices was noted even in piety, as Jaime was more reflective. He said that holiness is a matter of logic. He expressed great admiration for Father Xifré, whose writings he read regularly. He showed a great knowledge of the Congregation, of the things that were taking place and of its individuals. Much admiraion was expressed for our founding fathers, their holiness, missionary spirit and devotion to the Heart of Mary. He saw self-denial, simplicity and humility important for himself. The reports of the Master of Novices, Father Ramón Ribera, highlighted his simplicity, humility, availability and large speculative and practical talents, but also criticizes the lack of serenity, his shyness, love of reading and being talkative. The latter appears to be the result of the observations of his fellow novices. At the end of the probationary year, he made his First Profession on November 21, 1916, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He would continue in Cervera as second assistant to the teacher and at the same time he continued in his studies of Theology.

 

On September 11, 1917, he went to Alagon (Zaragoza) to pursue studies in Moral Theology and on December 21, 22, 1917, in Zaragoza, he received the first tonsure and the four Minor Orders from His Excellency John Soldevila, Archbishop of Zaragoza. Finishing the course in July 1918, he returned to Cervera as professor of logic. He made his Perpetual Profession on September 15, 1918, with permission of the Holy See. A week later, he received the subdiaconate and on December 21st, the diaconate, both in Lleida from His Excellency José Miralles, Bishop of Lleida. This same bishop would conferred the priesthood on March 15, 1919.

 

Prefect of postulants and of theologians

He finished the courses in Cervera, and was sent to Vic as Prefect of Postulants on June 15, 1919. This assignment was for six years. During this time he worked on the house library to further his studies of Theology, ascetic, mystical and the lives of the saints. His conferences with the Postulants were strong and animating, informative and led to good discussions. He proved to be an excellent formator. An assessment of his performance was enough for Fr Cyril Montaner, the local Superior and would be a martyr in Barcelona: “… in this blessed house there is a note of much fervor, not only in the School, which does not give me but reasons for joy, but between the Brothers and many priests and the instrument by which our Lord and our Divine Mother is the blessing of Father Giron that makes us a saint.”

 

From Vic, he moved to Cervera as Prefect of Theologians in 1925, until the summer of 1927. He accepted this position under obedience as others rejected the appointment. Father Giron dreamed of becoming a missionary of infidels. So he wrote to Father General on August 15, 1926:

During my Novitiate repeatedly I explained to my desire to go to missions. With the completion of the courses of Moral Theology, I didn’t go to Aranda but to Cervera to teach Logic. One year and three months after ordination I was sent as Prefect of Postulants,…

During this time, I have not been able to rid myself of the thought and desire to go to the Republics of America to work among the humble people, since I don’t see means to go to other countries of infidels… I have tried to meet and instruct those under my responsibility doing the best that I see it possible…

 

In view of all this, I was determined to speak to Father General and beg if you like, to send me to any of those Republics, in which it seems to me that I could work in a better way and fulfill my desires, skills and my whole way of being, which agrees very well with the humble people. Let me Father General, as I say from the 10 years of age until now that I am 28, I joined our Institute, and I have done well in the race with the personal work and I have served as a soldier for three years in the campaigns of Morocco. I know a little of what it is to suffer, I have no illusions. Whether it be China or America that is waiting for me, any type of suffering will not hinder me.”

 

He didn’t follow a method, like other formators. He attended to the fundamentals, correcting the basic flaws of character; raised constant spirit of reflection; brought order to their thinking and strong in their convictions. He wanted them to feel able to accept personal responsibility; forged wills and well-tempered, never speaking of ideals or vague abstractions, but rather real and concrete things. He endeavored to give a serious and robust formation, alien to any sentimentality. He didn’t appreciate the righteousness and those who were lazy. A central point of formation were his conferences, usually centered on the Holy Constitutions, lively commentaries, full of doctrine and experience, with frequent calls to the spirit and history of the Congregation and the reality of life.

 

Superior of Vic and Director of spiritual exercises

After leaving Cervera in the summer of 1927, he was assigned to the House in Barcelona to give Spiritual Exercises, especially to the laity. Immediately he was commissioned with 11 workshops. Then, at the direction of the Provincial, toured a number of Jesuits, Vincentians, and Divine Word Centers… in both Spain and France, Germany and Italy to study the organization of the exercises. Finishing these visits, he was sent to Vic in 1928, where the Center of Spiritual Exercises is located and in August of that year, he was appointed Superior.

 

Here he founded the Association of Christian Mothers, focused on the sanctification of the home. The Church was small for so many people and once he had to hold conferences in the Cathedral. He was a Master in the Spiritual Exercises for the laity, a perfect retreat, so much so that Father Orra, Provincial Secretary, wrote (March 21, 1930) to the General Government recommending him as a Provincial Consultant instead of Fr Mariano Fernández, who called the General Government, as he could combine the tasks of “addressing the important and flourishing act in the Spiritual Exercises … being the soul and that at this time has none in the Province in terms of a substitute (as Director of the same)…”

He also had many presentations of a social nature. There was the construction of the new Novitiate and Center for Spiritual Exercises. When the Novitiate was constructed in 1929, it seemed prophetic. Mr Casas, the contractor also made the same comment of Vic:

“Father Giron had nailed it on the head with the thesis that the capitalist didn’t behaved as they should with the worker. He felt keenly the social issue and clearly foresaw the catastrophe. The conversations with lay people and particularly with the workers expressed concern about the social issue. Many times he had said, while building the Novitiate in 1929: “This will become a school, or a union or communist center, perhaps a ballroom; I won’t see it because they will kill me; but you will see it. Maybe they won’t even bury me and leave me in the street; you will have to hear Mass secretly. Your children will not receive religious instruction. The mortality of priests! Among you there will be victims!

During the war, how many times did we say: How much reason did Father Giron give! It has happened like he had predicted!” In November 1930, he suffered from a toothache. Led by the spirit of poverty, he wanted Br. Font to intervene; with such bad fortune that on the same day he got a swollen face and had a serious heart condition. Since it became swollen, he was wiry. Everything endured with remarkable conformity. In this regard, the Ausetania, publication of Vic, reported: “Since last week in the Mission of Grace, a healing regime has been proposed for Father Jaime Girón, … so admired and loved for his high qualities of virtue, science and activity, in the short time he has been with us.”

 

Solsona 1931-1932 and Barcelona

In August 1931, he was sent by the Superiors to Solsona as a Consultant. His activity remained being Spiritual Exercises, conferences of various kinds for people and working in the seminary. The following year, he was in Barcelona as a Consultant, but continuing his activity as Director of Spiritual Exercises in several cities, preacher, lecturer, confessor, spiritual director and member of committees of Government. His oratory was not the traditional formulas, packaging declamatory or literary form. His style of language accommodated his listeners, who were ill-prepared and with reduced attention. He had an enormous power of persuasion. He was trying to convince, going straight to the heart of the matter without artifice.

 

Another matter were the social issues despite the limitations imposed by the religious state. This was in his blood. In this field of social development he gave quite a few weeks of conferences and councils. In Solsona, he was the first promoter of social issues. The conferences he gave in 1932, in Vic in the Church of la Merced were a resounding success, which is echoed by the local press. They were organized by the Commission of Culture of Union of Popular Action in February 1933, which became the official The Mati.

 

The illustrious Canonist of Solsona, Dr. Antonio Llorens has referred to his discussions with Father Giron in 1934, speaking of the Revolution as a volcano ready to burst and that this was based on the amount of bad information that was widely circulated and believed to be a victim of the enemies of the Church. He added: “Every day I pray in the Holy Mass for the one who has to be my executioner.”  In recognition of his meritous works, he was elected delegate of the Province to the Chapter General of 1934.

 

Cervera 1934-1936

In the year 1934, he was appointed Superior of Cervera and two months later was found with the events of October 6, the Revolution of Asturias and the separatist uprising on the part of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The following month he wrote to Father Larraona his opinion:

What do you think of Spain? The debate will enable one to see… I wish God and Our Mother would save us but we are at a lost, the people don’t have faith and with heads full of destructive ideas and hearts full of hatred!

 

In those circumstances, accepting the position of Superior was a little less than a heroic act. Father Giron devoted himself almost exclusively to concerns of the community, with restrictions and limited preaching outside the city even though it was required in their work and also limiting their presence in the same city of Cervera. Not used to their family letters being read and sometimes receiving them without being open as a sign of trust. Special attention was given to Mas Claret giving the provisions necessary to save the observance of the Constitutions and taking appropriate and timely measures to alleviate and improve the work and performance of the Brothers by introducing modern systems of exploitation.

 

Qualities. His outstanding qualities were humility, even in the manner of dress, the goodness of heart, his exemplary conduct and solid piety. Always demonstrating a sincere vocation, efficient and sacrifice. He was a true mirror for the seminarians and of religious issue. Had a special gift with people and was an enemy of formalities. Deep love for the truth and sincerity. He was an enemy of misunderstandings and ambiguities.

 

The political changes and the revolution

His biographer says that “Father Giron was worthy to bear the highest responsibility; clearly understood the full extent of the situation well before, was in his command to resolve it. This was his glory and at the same time his tragedy, to see the futility of these efforts.”

 

This is demonstrated by the facts and his writings. The Government of a community as large and with so many activities, I think Father Giron experienced a number of problems. On August 28, 1935, shortly after a year, he wrote to Father Ramon Ribera: “I came to this school with some illusion of doing something, but we are not in the times of Father’s Fernandez and Soteras. I feel like I have completely failed and I hope to finish the triennium, D.M.” On November 21, 1935, in a letter to Father Ramón Ribera, with the intention to sell a stony area of Mas Claret, he clarified:

“The horizon of Spain is very insecure and the less you lose the better it will be for you, as it is, the general view in the Province is that the community of Cervera is no longer necessary and is detrimental to the progress with its enormous expenditures of all kinds that increase day by day to become unusable and many of its facilities and Mas Claret without Cervera has no economic advantage or any other kind.”

 

In a letter to the Provincial Government on February 25, 1936, on behalf of the local government of Cervera “that in the present circumstances we see fit to sell some plots of Mas Claret, since they pay well and we may run the danger of losing everything.

All this before the political changes were verified in these days. Maybe not so much.

That in principle they believe it appropriate to get rid of all the farm looking for another solution for the sick by having to cultivate it with hired workers and by the bias that are influencing things and in particular in Cervera.”

Since May 5, 1936, it appears that the Town Council at the request of the Civil Authority commanded that all leave the building before May 10th. The situation did not improve, but the opposite. A few days later he wrote to Father General:

“A few days ago our Town Council, with the order, and what is very frightening is that they change from one day to another, and then… God will say. Run for they want us out of the house. Next year, if we are left to finish this in peace, we hope to be able to open schools.”

 

On May 18, 1936, there were plans of taking the children out to Andorra and time to look for a house, an empty hotel, where to take and to accommodate most of the community, thus avoiding dangers ahead. The sale of Mas Claret had served to move in this direction. “Sadly a day of opposition was: “I have come to say: Father, study a bit more of Theology.” And little later commented:

“The great calamity is… in the strange concept, falsely providential… some…have,… Defeated with a forced gesture of resignation, at the same time, referring to the political revolutionaries and their satellites: “I don’t know them!” “I don’t know them!”

 

The burden of all resistance continued to insist on the need to take the students to Andorra, because according to the cook, Br. John Rubiro who said: “We are facing the mouth of the lion, and nobody sees it.” Another witness that was conversing with Father Giron on July 15, 1936, qualified his insistence as a lack of trust in Divine Providence. Two days later there was no solution.

 

Father Giron was concerned with what the secondary students were saying: I don’t have anything to lose! In his performance as Superior there was interference by authority of the Province. The incompatible by temperament and conviction with ambiguous situations presented his resignation from his role, but it was not accepted. That didn’t help the community.  On the eve of the outbreak of the Revolution, July 17th, he wrote to Father Ramon Ribera to communicate the arrival of the documents requested and added:

“Mas Claret is already recorded in the name of Don José Ortega, brother of Father Ortega. With a desire to sell we have lost the chances to make money; I didn’t have the good fortune of  being heard. Now people retract and want to take advantage of our desire and the need to sell.”

 

Dispersion of the community and shelters

July 21, 1936: The community is expelled from the former University, accompanied by two gunmen together with Fr John Buxo in the Fonda in Barcelona. The first two days we celebrated Mass in the Church of San Agustin, behind closed doors, of course, to the community of Nuns and Novices of the Heart of Mary, but on the 23rd, we were expelled from the community and the situation became more difficult so that a public pension offered no guarantee. For this reason, on the same day we moved incognito to the hospital, where there was a group of missionaries and we also wanted to go to San Ramon to visit the refugees, for which we had been advised that someone had a car, but withdrew from taking us. He wanted to be near to his students because he was the Superior.

 

The hospital administrator, Mr. Enrique Herrera, in an attempt to save Father Giron made him a nurse, but he didn’t accept it because it seemed more appropriate to go into hiding with the other Claretian missionaries. In fact, the Sisters had set aside two adjacent rooms of the upper part of the building. One of them served as a bedroom and the other where they celebrated Mass and prayers. In addition they had a small room where they kept the Blessed Sacrament. Here, like all the other was dedicated to prayer and to prepare for death. He told the Sisters:

“Every Mass I celebrate it seems to me that it’s the last. I always do a special rememberance to save those who have to be my executioners. From now on I forgive them from the heart.”

 

Then he was aware of several shootings. Father Codina and his community of Lleida and Father Jove and the 14 students were taken to the cemetery of Lérida. He was envious of them because they were martyrs. When someone asked him what he was doing in that confinement, he would say: “Preparing to die.” He realized that the war would be long and the exodus of students exposed to all the dangers without being able to do anything for them. This increasingly distressed him. And it’s not that he wasn’t preoccupied with authority and concrete plans of his responsibility. Remembering only seemed to discourage him:

“My heart feels a strong martyrdom when I see the flower of the Institute fail. Glorious is to die and shed my blood, it’s true; but these thoughts hurt more than death itself. It is fulfilled in the Divine will, and may God have mercy on me and everyone. I ask for happiness for all.”

He slept little, he was almost always awake, like in the Gospel, so as not to be caught off guard.

 

In the beginning of August a registration was announced. The Administrator of the hospital and Mother General asked him to hide to avoid dangers. Father Giron said that he wouldn’t hide because some would find him. But at their insistences, he agreed, although he was sure they were going to kill him. After this he had an liver attack and had to stay in bed 15 days.  Soon he felt much better. On Sunday, he gave a talk to the Religious and helped those from Mas Claret, since Brother Bagaria visited him when circumstances would allow.  Father Giron was offered the homes several friends, but he didn’t want to commit to any and didn’t go to their houses, where they were waiting for him.

 

Journey towards martyrdom

On September 2nd, while in the hospital he received a call from the Town Council. Mr. Aymerich, the hospital Administrator returned with the order of the chairman of the Committee, Dionisio Jove, that Father’s Giron and Sitjes leave the hospital. The sisters were alarmed and Father Giron reassured them that he was prepared for what God wanted. The march was determined for the middle of the night. Mr. John Fornells, from the hospital, had devised the escape of Father Giron to Andorra, with the help of a relative from Tora. Father Giron had other plans, who had studied the maps, by going through Tora to the plains of El Viladot, to the town of Brichs, some 4 Km from Solsona, where some Claretian Missionaries were hiding, and two daughters had offered to host Father Girón. While he dined for the last time in the hospital, he said to a Sister: “Tonight I go out to seek martyrdom.”

 

Father’s Giron and Sitjes confessed to each other before leaving. Mr. Fornells gave them a card for his brother-in-law of Tora. The priests were in the garden waiting to leave. At three in the morning, after saying goodbye to Mr. Fornells, the priests left with 10 minute intervals. The two met together in the place of Las Forcas where they parted with the ritual words of the martyrs: Until heaven!  The stages were well defined: 1) From Cervera to Tora, less than 20 Km. 2) Tora to Daulles, towards San Pedro de Serra, about 12 Kim; 3) From Padullés until the plains of El Viladot, to where he didn’t reach, 14 Km. The easiest way was the first route, with few hills. Past San Ramon headed toward Iborra, finding some neighbors working in the field, such as Mr. José Vilaprino. Towards the end of the afternoon he found Antonio Padullés, on his farm about ten minutes from Tora. Father asked if he was going in the right direction. Mr. Antonio suggested that he not ask anyone, since it gave the impression of a fugitive and somewhat naive. He walked to the cabin of Jeno, an old refuge for the poor because it was not prudent approach to Tora. He spent the night of September 3 and 4 in the cabin.

 

On the 4th, early in the morning, he resumed the journey between mountains and rivers and climbed the mountain called La Aguda, where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin. He went to Collada de Reiners. In that immense plain, he couldn’t travel by road, feeling lost. There he found a shepherd Ramon Vilaseca Esteve, from Vallferosa (Llanera), 65 years. He struck up a conversation with him asking for guidance and the shepherd tried to lose him and told him of the farmhouses in Homenet and Padullés some distance away. Then Ramon gathered the flock in a hut and went quickly to Tora to report the priest to the Committee. At ten in the morning news already spread. It seems that he had been promised a certain amount of money to be vigilant, so that he would no longer have to work. The sad thing is that he was not given a penny despite his insistence. So pay the devil.

Father Giron, oblivious to the danger, came to the house of Homenet, where Mrs. Cecilia Bert Buxon, was sick, and the Father asked some food. To tell of his meeting with the shepherd. Mrs Cecilia was startled,”

Woe, woe, you are lost! That shepherd will betray you. Surely he has denounce you.    

 

Shortly after he took path toward Padullés, with swollen legs. On the way he found another shepherd, called Ventura, who gave soaked bread. Padullés was five kilometers and was one of the best farmhouses because of its construction and properties. It was between one and two in the afternoon. Ramon and Enrique, two sons of the house were busy threshing. He came to the house and asked for a drink. He looked exhausted.

 

Capture and martyrdom

The farmer, Mr. Juan Torra, invited Father Giron to enter house and led him to the dining room. They offered him food and drink while Monserrat, one of the daughters, prepared a tortilla, but he barely ate. There was an urgent need to resume the journey towards Viladot. They tried to inform and give him better directions. Mr. Torra and Father Giron went up to one of the windows. Then they saw that some militia groups were approaching quickly anad trying to encircle the house. At that moment Ramon announced the presence of the militias. The Committee of Tora had mobilized a number of patrols, requisitioning private cars. The militia were dispersed in several directions. The shepherd Ventura led them toward Socarrats to the Father, but the militia were directed by the footprint of the shoes.  Before the imminent capture of Father Giron, in order not to compromise the family, taking the tortilla he went out to the road.

Look at how many people! Cried Monserrat.

 

He was walking down the road when they caught him and he sat down. After some hesitation one shouted: Hands Up! The militia came and saw that he was not carrying weapons of any kind. They were going to register him and strip him of everything.

No, not that. I do not want to sin making you responsible for a robbery. Here, I’ll give you the money I have. And he gave them 700 pesetas. This attitude, worthy of a saint, surprised them. Then the commented accordingly to those who listened: “That people are so stupid as to give their money! He will be unhappy when we register him and he gives what he has!”

 

In the meantime, Mr. Juan Torra, fearing reprisals, had taken refuge in a neighbors house to escape to the forest. Fortunately he was only punished with harsh criticism: “Don’t you know that it is not possible to help these people, not even to give them to eat or drink?”

 

Now Father Giron a prisoner, they blew a whistle and fired a few shots in the air. The path of Tora to Comabella, four kilometers on foot, where they waited for the arrival of the others. The owner, José Querol, offered them something. Mrs. Francisca served them and Father Giron took some fresh water. The Committee, when they learned of the capture, the chairman of the Committee, Toasted to Mr.Jaime Casas Graells, a manufacturer of soft drinks, to accompany them with the truck. The militia boarded the truck. They took the direction toward Solsona to the junction of Comabella, a couple of kilometers later on found Father Giron guarded by two militia members.  Mr. Julian de Casa Basall called them, in that he had a place in the Comabella fields. He said: “I left home because he heard that they were going in the direction of Padullés and we had to go hunting.”

 

Do you know this man? He asked Mrs. Francisca.

But, woman, don’t you know what it is about?

No.

We caught a big fish.

And who is it?

A Father from the University of Cervera. The Superior of the missionaries. We were after him.

What did he do?

That’s not the question. To be priest, enough is enough.

What will you do with him?

What are we going to do…!

You have to judge him.

Julian was furious, and throwing thing went with the others in the truck. Father Giron was placed next to the driver and the militia men. They returned to Tora.  At the beginning the driver could not speak. Had a brief dialog: The Father said:

I have no illusions. This night I will be in the cemetery.

Perhaps not. Maybe they’ll let you go.

They’ll kill me, I have no doubt, kill me.

 

On the road they found a traveler and stopped the truck. The Father helped the traveler and the militia hurried towards Tora. The bus arrived later. The car with the prisoner walked through the plaza Doctor Esteve at about four in the afternoon and it was a celebration like a festival. “We have already caught him, he’s in our hands,”  screamed the Chairman of the Committee. “The priests have started the war, they will pay,” screamed Marba. When Father Giron got off the car, he had swollen feet and loose shoes. His attitude was calm, resigned and humble.  They led Father Giron to the local committee. In a room on the first floor of the Santamaría House which opens onto the square, they took statements, somewhat strange because the sentence was handed down in advance. It was a way to outrage to the victims. The Revolution didn’t give reasons, but weapons. It took like an hour. The main intervention was from Tost. The Father gave his status as a religious and priest. In addition he said:

I am a laborer and son of a laborer; I have dedicated my life to the workers always seeking temporary happiness and eternal. And are you going to be who you say as workers, sons of the townspeople, are you going to kill me?

 

They say that managed to convince some and the decision to kill him was not by unanimity. Its status as a religious and priest was reason enough. From this headquarters they took him to the prison of the Town Council through the two squares of the village, so that the people could see the suffering, ill-treatment, beatings, screams, mockery, blasphemies of the militia. The prison was a small cell and damp, with iron gate and a door with three locks. Father Giron was subjected to close surveillance. It seems that those outside could see him, talk to him and even offered water. Also some of the militia guards exchange a few words with the Father, that was serene and convinced that this would be his last night. María del Carmen Sole, whose son was a priest was killed, wanted to give him some clothes and dinner and to be able to talk to him, but the Committee rejected it. He was in jail from five on September 4th, until one o’clock in the morning on September 5.

 

Martyrdom

At that time they decided to kill him. Some wanted to burn him alive in the square. They did not because they didn’t have enough gasoline. From prison to the headquarters of the Committee, they led him away to the place of torment, outside of Tora. They called Mr. Jaime Casas, of whom Tost asked for the truck. He knew why they wanted the truck. Two men went for the truck and Mr. Casas under the noses of Tost disconnected the cable from the truck and after all attempts to put it in motion were in vain, so much so that the Tost was convinced that it wasn’t usable and told him he could go to rest.  As an alternative, they looked for another car. They commissioned Mr. Clarenes, who was at the home of Ramón Fontanet. The Committee told him that he had to carry Father Giron to Castellfollit. He refused because he said that they were not about to do justice, that is competence of courts. They called the Committee of Cervera and told him that he would be shot after Father Girón. He had no choice but to be the taxi driver. Then, around one o’clock in the morning, they took Father Girón out of prison to the headquarters of the Committee. Tost was riding on the side of the car with the gun resting on his legs and in the back Clarenes and Father Girón.  The trip was in silence. The driver said: To me, it seemed like we were taking a saint.

 

Arriving near the cemetery of Castellfollit de Riubregós, they stopped the car. All desembarked but the driver who they forced to turn off the headlights and to keep the motor running. There was another group of militia with car or truck, in total there were about 15 or 20 men. The Father wanted to die facing them, but they forced him to turn his back.  In a common voice, because the same murderers commented, that before dying he could talk and he did it with persuasion that some men hesitated. He told them: “If you kill me, Tora will mourn twenty years”, if it is for justice. And also: “What do you do with me today, tomorrow will be done with you.”

Accordingly Marba was convinced. He also told them:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

In the end, seeing that there was no other solution, with right hand over the heart saying:

Shoot, shoot right here and at the same time, he forgave all.

Then many of the gunmen began shooting. Falling he screamed:

Viva Cristo Rey!

It was two in the morning of September 5, 1936.

He drop dead and they rushed to strip him of anything: a fountain pen and a watch. When the Committee of Cervera arrived to kill him, those from Tora said: it’s already done.

Many people saw the corpse in front of the main gate of the cemetery.

In the on-site inspection of the body, Don Juan Badals, clerk of the court, registered what was in the pockets: a rosary, six scarves with the initials J.G. and a notebook written in Latin. That they gave the village priest, Don Concordio Guasch.

The autopsy revealed that seven of the shots were fatal.

He was buried with his own clothes without a coffin or canvas in the same cemetery of Castellfollit. He was there for four years until he was transferred to Cervera.