Born April 17, 1900 in La Sellera (Gerona)
Professed August 15, 1916
Ordained a priest June 6, 1925
Shot September 12, 1936 in San Martí de Tous (Barcelona)
Fr Pedro Sitjes was the minister or Bursar of the community in Cervera (the former University) when it was dispersed by the Civil authorities. He was born in La Sellera in the province and Diocese of Girona on April 17, 1900, the son of Pedro Sitjes, a laborer, and Mariana Obiols. Two days later he would be baptized in the Parish Church, where he was also confirmed years later. In October 1911, he entered the Claretian Postulancy in Vic, studying Humanities. His Prefect was Fr Gumersindo Valtierra, who would be a martyr in Barcelona some years later. He completed his studies in 1915, and was assigned to Cervera, where he would make his Novitiate under the direction of his Master of Novices, Father Ramón Ribera. He would receive the habit on August 14, 1915, and make his First Profession on August 15, 1916. He would complete his studies of Philosophy and Dogmatic Theology in the same building of the former University of Cervera. On the 6th, 7th and 8th of August 1921, he received Tonsure and the four Minor Orders from His Excellency Valentin Comellas, Apostolic Administrator of Solsona.
In 1923, he was assigned to Solsona to pursue two years of further studies in Moral Theology. At the end of the first year on June 14, 1924, close to the Feast of the Holy Trinity, he received the Subdiaconate. On September 20, 1924, he was ordained a Deacon from His Excellency José Miralles, Bishop of Lleida. The following year, in Barbastro on June 6th, he was ordained a priest by His Excellency Valentin Comellas.
Qualities. Didn’t seem to have speculative talents but more practical, so he moved forward with great effort, however he was a humble, simple, having a very good will and ready for anything. A man of exemplary conduct, formal and straight forward.
His first formal assignment was the community of Cervera as Prefect of Postulants and professor of the history of Spain. In 1927, he was transferred to Barbastro as Curate and chaplain to the 10° Artillery Regiment, but the shortage of staff forced the Provincial to appointed him as Prefect of Postulants, replacing Father José Ribe, who had be reassigned to Cervera. He also served as a Consultant. According to a report, he was not much of a disciplinarían of students which demands a solid formation. In 1933, he was already back in Cervera as the Minister in which he collaborated with Father Jaime Girón.
On July 21, 1936, he was forced to leave the community house in Cervera and walked to the hospital in his cassock. He arrived half an hour before the others who were brought by car. In the hospital he tried to form community life with everyone in the two rooms that had been reserved. As they were locked up and unable to leave, reciting prayers, meditation and preparing to die was all they could do. They were refugees, while the others were sick, in which their situation didn’t offer any security. His brother Juan prepared all the documentation and presented it at the hospital to get him out of Cervera, but he did not want to leave or abandon Father Girón. He was resigned and accepted martyrdom, rather wished for it, as he had stated on several occasions, including in letters sent to the family.
Things became more complicated because by orders of the Mayor. Father’s Giron and Sitjes couldn’t leave and in the confessions of some murderers, the lives of these priest were in danger. After reflecting, on September 2nd, the hospital Administrators advised Father Giron to leave as soon as possible because it appeared hopeless. In the early hours of September 3rd, Father’s Sitjes and Girón left the hospital disguised as workers and met up in the valley of the Forcas. The first to arrive was Father Sitjes and when Father Giron arrived he asked:
How did it go?
Well until now, replied Father Sitjes. The sack and the rake are an excellent disguise at this time of threshing.
So let’s go and not stop. There isn’t a minute to lose. And since God separated us, and we do not know when we will meet, lets share a blessing.
The first knelt and received the blessing from the other. Then he knelt down and received the blessing. Standing they embraced spontaneously, and left:
Goodbye, Father, until heaven!
And they went their separate ways, each in one direction with no time to lose.
Father Sitjes went towards Bergos and it didn’t take him long to arrive at the home of Ramón Pames, an acquaintance from Bergos. He was there for about twelve hours and wrote a letter to his brother asking him to come to Igualada. The letter was posted by Mr. Pames. At about two in the afternoon, Mr. Pames accompanied him on a trolley to a field called Els Condals, without finding anyone, and showed him the path to Igualada without stepping on the road. The letter arrived on September 6, but he didn’t leave because he received another letter from his brother, but the envelope was written by someone else and this instilled fear. While in Robinat, Father Sitjes met with the young man Joseph Ametller, who knew him while working on the farm of Mas Claret and hid him in a log cabin. Whenever Joseph arrived he would find the priest praying and very resigned. The young man showed the path to Igualada and the priest came out only at night with the intention of going to his family, but probably wouldn’t arrive and should he die would pray for them from heaven.
He was arrested and killed without anyone seeing on September 12, 1936. His body was found four days later at the entrance of a forest called El Farne of San Martin de Tous, within the province of Barcelona. He was identified by the objects that were with his body four days after the shooting. These objects were a crucifix, reliquary of Father Claret, a rosary, his glasses, the clothes with the identification number, a photograph of his mother and the details of his physiognomy. The Committee decided to burn the corpse. The remains were buried there until 1940, when he was taken to Cervera.