Born March 15, 1889 in Barcelona (Barcelona)
Professed June 7, 1907
Shot September 28, 1936 in Cervera (Lérida)
In the village of Alpens, in the province of Barcelona and the Diocese of Vic, on March 15, 1889, Ramon was born. He is the son of Don Alfonso Roca, a tailor, and Mrs. Mercedes Buscalla, who took him to the parish Church of Santa Maria to receive the Sacrament of Baptism the following day. He would receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from His Excellency José Morgades y Gili, Bishop of Vic, during the pastoral visit on October 21, 1889. His family was large of which four children would become Claretians. The two religious Brothers were Ramon and Jaime. Gonzalo was a student and Alfonso was a priest.
He entered the Novitiate in Cervera in 1906, where he completed a short Postulancy for Brothers and started the Novitiate under the guidance of Fr. Mariano Fernández and would make his First Profession on June 7, 1907, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. After his Profession, he continued in Cervera serving as a tailor. In 1909, he was sent to Solsona as Porter and tailor. He lived in this community until the fall of 1930, and then he returned to Cervera. In Cervera he would serve again as tailor and other charges, up to the dispersion of the community. Brother Ramon was a very observant, pious, industrious and docile to the mandates of his Superiors. He was a man of confidence as evidenced by its charge of Porter.
Dispersion of the community and shelters
In Cervera on July 21, 1936, the community was dispersed by order of Civil Authority. He along with Brother Clotas were in charge of preparing secular clothes for the members and didn’t join most of the community who left for Solsona but stayed with the sick in the hospital and then returned to the former university. When one of the Committee asked them where they were planning go, they replied perhaps to an inn or maybe to a private house. Then Brother Ramon said: “And if we went to the hospital?” To which he replied: “It might be better. I will accompany you in my car.” And so it was. There they joined together with the sick, in total 12 members formed community life. On July 23rd, they moved to the house of the Muixen Sisters for only a day. On July 24th, they went to the house of Don Jose Oliveras, where they stayed 15 days. From there to the Casa Torner, because the house of Oliveras did not seem safe as it was subjected to persecution. During these days they formed family life and was devoted mainly to praying the Holy Rosary. Although Ramon was worried about what was happening, he wasn’t afraid of death and neither said anything about the persecutors. He would leave Casa Torner for Mas Claret on September 13. When he afrived at Mas Claret, he exclaimed:
Thank God, I will be able to hear Mass and receive communion!
This he did each day. Then to the forest because of the lack of room and no permission. He interacted with some of the community but had to remain in hiding. He was treated with great kindness. The others would take food to Brother Francisco Bagaria and he spent time praying the Holy Rosary and during the night would come to see him. I wanted to go to Barcelona, but the Committee doesn’t give passes. He was very quiet and resigned. He never lost the joyfulness of his spirit.
If they kill us, we will be martyrs. We will go to heaven where we will be better than here and we don’t have to hide.
He regretted the destruction of the Revolution in people and temples.
He said: Well each one will have to give an account to God for what he has done and let us pray for the persecutors in order that God enlighten them.
He was worried. He hoped that that the state of things would return to order and he would be able to go back to community life with his brothers. He never spoke ill of the persecutors and was not afraid of death, saying:
If it comes, may it be when God wants.
On the evening of September 18, he was arrested. Two days earlier, when Ramon was returning with the Brother Bagaria, seeing a bump on the road gave a nudge to be alert because they were talking of the Revolution. Brother Ramon responded:
It’s still going to rain. Now! I still have to complete the threshing.
The man passed them, then returned to see them again. Brother Ramon became confused because the man thought he was the parish priest from San Pedro des Arquels, which he resembled and was being sought the militia. The man was an important figure of the Leftist movement. Two days later the members of the CNT-FAI of Cervera and the Chairman of the Committee of San Pedro presented themselves at Mas Claret asking for the pastor. The missionaries said they didn’t know where he was:
If he’s not here, there is another that resembles him.
The Committee threatened to take the names of everyone in the farm, saying they would be killed. Fearing that, they said Brother Roca was hiding. They asked the Committee if the Brother join them in Mas Claret, but no response. The Committee gave their word of honor that nothing would happen to him. Brother Roca was reluctant to go before the Committee because he feared what was going to happen. However he didn’t want his Brothers to suffer. Then Brother Senosiain said to Brother Roca on behalf of Father Ribe, to present himself and assured him that nothing was going to happen. Brother Roca responded:
I don’t trust the word of honor of these people, but if Father Ribe says, I will go.
It was an act of obedience. When he arrived, there was only Brother’s Bagaria and Ferrer. The others wouldn’t come to say goodbye to him, or trust any word of honor. Taking advantage of the occasion while changing clothes he reflected on where he slept and heard Mass every day. He called Brother Bagaria and said:
I don’t trust their word of honor. Surely they will kill me. I am dead. Pray for me, that our God will be with me in those moments. And I, in heaven will remember you. And taking his wallet, gave it to me: See if you can get it to my brother (religious Claretian) as a reminder of my martyrdom. Of the pesetas I have, keep them. I don’t need them.
Before entering the car, he shook hands with the Brother’s Ferrer and Bagaria saying:
Pray for me and I will pray for you.
They took Brother Roca to the former University to be interrogated and then walking through the streets to the prison. The prison had been set up in the Claretian Novitiate. Then he was made to help in the collective tailor shop that had been assembled in the former University for the soldiers in the frontlines. In the tailor shop he encountered familiar people. Mr. Juan Sole Carbonel, a tailor like him, whom he had met in jail, and Maria Jose Oriol Massip. One day while speaking with her, when he was called and went with them. He had no fear of death. She said to him:
Look they will kill him!
Kill me! I will finally be happy!, he responded.
They took Brother Roca to the headquarters of the Revolutionary Committee. There he found Mr. Sole. The path of the former University to the prison was witnessed by several people. Some acquaintances, watched behind the glass of the window, like the family of Don Jose Oliveras Riera. He nodded with a smile. He stayed in the prison for three days. According to the testimony of Juan, Brother Roca seemed restless because he thought that would kill him. He couldn’t talk much because there was a lot of surveillance. On the 24th, Mr. Sole son Francisco went to visit his father to take him some cigarettes., He spoke with Brother Roca, who said:
Francisco, until heaven! Today Our Lady of Mercy will greet me.
Brother Roca was very lively, serene, resigned and looked forward to martyrdom. Before the end of the time, he stopped talking, forbidding him to speak with Mr. Sole, who was in the same room. Armed guard was always in sight. Mr. Sole he was released at 8 pm, because of favors he had done. They took Brother Roca out of the prison at half past eleven and led him to the cemetery of Cervera. According to confessions by Mercé, wife of one of the revolutionaries. They put a new suit on Brother Roca telling him that he was going to Barcelona to purchase clothing but led him to the cemetery. Among the killers were Cadiraire and Juan the Xato, a pawn in Cervera, who a few days later went to work at Mas Claret. John the Xato, speaking to his co-workers of Brother Roca, which was the tailor, he said:
I have killed many priests and religious, but there was never one so (…) (brave) like him, that in the moments of death, as he already knew, he was so quiet.
Brother Roca had the strength of faith, because they killed him for being a religious. Xato was telling them about the conviction of all that he killed: To see if we could finally get rid of these bad people, referring to the religious, and he recounted that when they were going to shoot, the prisoners were told to face the wall and Brother Roca replied:
One can die facing you or his back to the wall. For the love of God, I forgive you.
Xato continued, that there was any God and that the bullets killed the Brother like the others. Thus, riddled with bullets, he died on the evening of September 24, 1936. He was buried in the same cemetery of Cervera.