Ramon Rius Camps

Born on January 26, 1913 in Santa Fe (Lérida)

Professed on August 15, 1929

Shot on September 2, 1936 in Cervera (Lérida)

 

In the village of Santa Fe, within the Olujas Municipality in the province of Lerida and Diocese of Solsona, Ramon was born January 26, 1913, the son of Don Jaima Rius, a laborer, and Mrs. Josefa Camps. His baptism took place February 2, 1913, in the Parish of St. Peter the Apostle. He was the only son of a wealthy family and also the heir. There were four sisters, two of them were Carmelite nuns of St. Joseph, and he held the penultimate place.

 

When he was fifteen years of age, he went to the Claretian Novitiate in Vic, where he received the habit on August 14, 1928 and made his Novitiate with Father Ramón Ribera as his Master of Novices. He chose to be a Brother as a shoemaker and learned quickly and well. The end of the year went well and he make his First Profession August 15, 1929 along with 24 other Novices, half of whom were martired in Barbastro and Cervera. After his profession, he was assigned to the community of Cervera as a shoemaker. He was a man of a respectable character but sure of himself, pious, industrious and humble.

 

On July 21, 1936 by order of civil authority the Claretian community had to leave the building of the former university. Brother Ramon apparently took a bike and accompanied by a communist or anarchist family and went to his hometown, Santa Fe, about eight kilometers of Cervera. He took refuge in his father’s house, called El Castell, as it was a castle, where he found his sister Mother Monserrat, a religious, who due to illness was recouperating and was accompanied by another religious. The first few days he was in the house of a married sister until August 2nd or 3rd. Then he returned to the family home. During these days he returned to Cervera to get news of his Superiors and colleagues, and he became very distressed by the events. In these days, other missionaries came to the home of the Brother Rius seeking refuge. He would pass the day in the garden and at dinner time tried to form community life. At the end of July, the other sister who was a religious escaped with two other companions from Barcelona. A total of five religious as well as other religious. The danger of recording them was large. The sisters were at the home and Brother Ramon and his two companions were at the home of his sister Philomena. But this was not safe because in the area there were other religious hidden and there was the threat of registration, so that they all dispersed and Brother Ramon returned to the house.

 

Soon they learned that several community members had been shot. They wanted to know the whereabouts of their Superiors and brothers so as to go to live with them. To this end, they made the necessary inquiries in the area, but in those circumstances it was suspicion and no one found anything. Then he returned to his house, saying,

I don’t have another recource but to stay home, because I can’t find any Superior and any of my brothers.

 

So he stayed at home with his mother and his sisters helping in everything and obedient as a child. The five sisters formed community life and had the opportunity to admire the virtues of Brother Ramon. He was very quiet and modest. He helped managed all things. Many times his sisters invited him to stay with them in the dining room. As his vocation had always been separated, now they wanted to have him at thier side. Suddenly he would obey, but after a few minutes he would look for an excuse to retreat. One day they told him and he answered:

Don’t take it wrong, I’m used to the College of priests to never be with women and I don’t want to get used to it.

 

Although he sought that the conversation focus on spiritual things, they didn’t have the joy of having a long conversation with him. His best distraction was helping his mother with household chores. In principle he was neatly groomed, but a person advised him to get dressed in traditional clothes. He worked hard but as he was not acustomed, he had blisters in his hands from using the hoe.

 

One day a few communists drove into town. Word spread that they were going to register the houses to find the religious and Brother Ramon escaped to the forest called Cal Sila. He climbed up a very high pine tree and stayed there for several hours. As the communists arrived, the focus of one of the cars lit up the area of the forest where the brother was hiding. He believed that he had been discovered and fearful hurried down to escape, but the distance and shots being battered made him unable to move. The communists, finding nothing returned to Cervera. The Brother, though he was troubled was able to return home. He said nothing of what had happened. The next day, seeing that he was troubled, his sisters wanted to care for him and he didn’t consent. They asked him and he told everything and the fear he had for the communists. Then he helped his sister Philomena with the chores of threshing. There was a servant who worked there who was a communist, who tried to influence the Brother. The family didn’t want him to be with that servant, but he replied:

Don’t fear, God helps me. If I have to ignore what he says, then I am well groomed. He aims to influence me with his silly lessons, but I don’t answer him; when he pushes me I say: Good!

 

He lamented the blindness of the Reds and seeing that with their false doctrines they seduce the youth. Meanwhile he was very grateful to his Superiors for the training he had been given in the fear of God. On the other hand, he was tired of the Revolution and thought of meeting with the other religious in the former university. He felt the best security was with his mother. One day he went with her to pick up wood in the forest leading to the road of San Ramón to Santa Fe. Soon he called attention to the large number of cars belonging to the communists. Then his mother said:

If you find yourself in the midst of communists and would like to deny your religion and God, in no way do it, it is better to prefer martyrdom a thousand times; on some occasions, he says having past time, to apostatize you would still be killed, and instead of winning the crown of martyrdom, you would win hell.

 

Ramon answered:

I assure you Mother, that if that happened, I would prefer death.

 

On another day he asked his sister, Sister Montserrat, if she had any book dealing with spiritual reading, thinking that he hadn’t been able to find any. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the Imitation of Christ, or the Kempis, saying:

This is my partner who is always with me. I open it at random and it always tells me what I need.

 

He also and asked if there was a book for meditation:

We can meditate during these days, even without books.

She offered one entitled the Intimate life with Jesus, and gratefully he accepted and took it to his room. He liked the book. It bothered him at meals, in that he couldn’t have wine or liquor at home when asked, even with his mother. For San Ramon feastday which was August 31, his mother wanted to celebrate the feast of Ramon and killed a chicken, preparing a wonderful meal. Ramon didn’t touch the plate. He said:

I’m not weary, I will not.

Then they asked him the reason and responded:

Don’t test me; in our Congregation we are not allowed to take flesh of the pen, or spirits, except in case of sickness; and I want to continue following our custom. In addition to this there is no need and I can go very well without it.

 

He was distressed by the news that arrived on the fate of his comrades. His good mother and sisters advised him not to become so distressed and to distract him spoke that the Revolution would soon end, and he could wear his religious garb and would feast. He interrupted giving a deep sigh:

God knows what will happen before. We cannot yet say anything. Good! Good! What happens is what God wants.

 

          On September 1st, there were premonitions of tragedy. The sisters were in the garden doing their chores while one was sharing spiritual readings. Ramon arrived and repeated and commented that one of them would go to heaven and made mention of a few fires and the burning of the victims, including a pastor led to the martyrdom. Then Ramon said:

Let’s encourage, only what God wants. Let’s not talk about this, that would be sad. Enough that I think of it. We will win more with going home and we will be able to pray the Rosary with our mother. So they did. Had dinner and after little conversation they parted:

Holy Night, God gave us. Until tomorrow, if God wants.

 

Detention.

Day: September 2. About two in the morning everyone in the house woke up due to pounding on the door. There were fourteen communists who loudly asked them to open the door to take down information. Teresa, the younger sister, leaned out the window and saw that they forced the door to open, but told Ramon to hide in the many nooks of the castle, but he said no. He got dressed, he went to his mother and said:

What do I have to do?

His mother I urged him:

My Son, be brave. Death is a change of life. Although you have to die, to be courageous in faith.

Mother, do not be afraid, he replied.

These words gave a value so great of timid and cowardly, it was presented with courage to the communists. When the Brother came into the room he found four militia well armed. The others had been out watching so that no one could escape. When they encountered Brother Ramon, the Reds were in the middle of the room and surrounded him, pointing their weapons and he was subjected to interrogation. The Brother with arms crossed against his chest, his eyes downcast and serious, manifested a serenity that contrasted with the fear that before had been expressed to the communists. They looked at his hands to see if he worked a lot and checked to see if he was a religious. For being religious was the reason they sought him, of course!

 

When asked for the Superiors and Brothers in the community, he fell silent. He only responded to questions related to him, with modesty and restraint, about his age, who encouraged him to go to the convent, etc. The brother replied:

No one deceived me and forced me to enter. I went of my own free will, and they treated me very well, there I stayed. When the interrogation was completed, they wanted to go to his room to complete the investigation, so he decided to accompany them, placing his hand on the shoulder of the leader in friendship. They were looking for weapons and other priests. They found nothing and returned blaspheming with threats. They decided to take the Brother before the Committee of Cervera to make a statement. The sisters wanted to defend the Brother and get him out of that embarrassing situation saying:

Well, let’s go!

 

His mother, who feared the worst, and to gain time said she needed to prepare some breakfast. But her son intervened:

Don’t worry, it will not be necessary.

 

She was determined but the communists restrained her with their weapons saying that they could take the nuns to sew for the men in the front. The sisters went to the staircase to go with the Brother but the militia from outside said:

We only want the Brother. We will deal with the others later.

 

The Brother was very serene and barely said: Good bye! Down the road were the cars that awaited them, and they left within minutes. The scene lasted about two hours. The women were terrified. When they finally calmed down, the mother and sister were back on the trail. They took the road towards Cervera. The others were left at home praying.

 

Among the communists was Ramón Ferrer of Santa Fe, who denounced the Brother. Arriving at the cemetery, the militia told Ramon Ferrer:

Since you have denounced him, you kill him.

Thus, Brother Ramon was shot by Ramon Ferrer, who made him suffer because his hands were trembling. Brother would die in the cemetery of Cervera on September 2, 1936 and there he was buried.