Born January 5, 1909 in Taradell (Barcelona)
Professed May 16, 1931
Shot November 11, 1936 in Cervera (Lérida)
Brother Costa was born in Taradell (Barcelona) on January 5, 1909, and three days later was baptized in the parish Church of San Gines de Taradell, of the Diocese of Vic. His parents were Juan Costa, a day laborer, and Mrs. Dolores Homs.
Before entering the Congregation, he had been electrician and baker in Vic and had been a Porter, working in a number of farmhouses, such as La Roca or El Vivet, when he decided to enter the Novitiate. He entered the Novitiate of Vic. On May 15, 1930, he began his Novitiate under the direction of Fr. Ramón Ribera, and would make his First Profession on May 16, 1931.
After his Profession, in 1932, he was assigned to the community of Solsona as assistant to the Brother in charge of the kitchen. The following year he was transferred to Cervera and in 1934, he was sent to La Selva del Campo, but at the end of the year, he returned to Cervera. In 1936, prior to the outbreak of the Marxist persecution, he was asked to go to Vic as an assistant cook and working with Brother Casals.
Qualities and virtues
His Master of Novices judged him as having a good character, laborious, docile and a little rough with manners of a peasants due to the lack of education. At the end of 1932, the Provincial noticed that he was very well in health, behavior, and willingness to work. An exemplary religious, very pious and always retained the spirit of the Novitiate.
As a refugee in El Vivet he gave a wonderful example of piety and virtue. He was distinguished for his charity.
Dispersion of the community and shelter
When the community of Vic was dispersed on July 21, 1936, Brother Costa went directly to El Vivet, where he had years earlier left this place for the Novitiate. When Brother Casals arrived, the space was scarce so Brother Costa moved on to the home of La Roca where he had been employed years earlier. During this time he led a godly life and would pray with the family the Rosary.
Brother Costa did have a passport, or the essential pass to safely navigate. In fact, he had the documentations of the F.A.I, or the Revolutionary Agricultural Coalition, The visitor information center of the U.G.T. had his name as a laborer. Since he was so brown skinned with so many calluses, they never asked for his pass. Thus it served as a link. Almost every Saturday he would go to Vic, where he moved with great freedom and knew a lot of people because of his previous work placements. He went to Barcelona several times and was asked to go to La Selva del Campo to learn about the fate of the Missionaries of that community. He went to Montblanc, where he learned of the death of the Claretian student Jaime Franch, son of Mr. Franch, owner of El Vivet, where some missionaries had taken refuge.
Last trip, detention and martyrdom
Encouraged by the success of his previous travels, he decided to go to Mas Claret to learn and lend a hand to the religious brothers. To do this, he ask permission of the Provincial, Father Agustí, who gave it with reservations. He was resolved and not afraid. On November 8th, he said goodbye to his benefactors of La Roca. They tried to convince him of the danger. As a farewell, he said:
If I have not returned by Tuesday of the following week, pray the Lord’s prayer for me.
Toward the middle of the afternoon on the 9th, he arrived in Vergos, a small town near Mas Claret and stayed at the house of Mr. Ramón Pomés, which was frequented by a lot of people from the farm. As Brother Costa felt safe traveling he was recognized in Vergos. A neighbor asked the Mr Pomes:
Isn’t this man one of the Brothers of Mas Claret
No, he is a dependent that I had in Barcelona, he replied.
On the 10th, he was at home caring for the land, poultry and other animals.
The family Pomés attempted to dissuade Brother Costa from going to the farm, but got nothing. The brother did not know that on October 19th, nineteen missionaries had been shot leaving only Brother Bagaria. When Brother Costa heard, he said:
I’m not afraid. I have all the documents and nothing will happen.
Look you’re here in Cervera. The Committee does not respect a carnets nor any kind of document, said Mr Ramon.
I don’t care if I get caught. If I die, I die for God!
On the 11th, he decided to leave saying: I will leave at noon so I will be here to eat.
He went to the farm of Mas Claret and at the beginning the workers didn’t recognize him. He went with the idea of finding Brother Bagaria. They thought it was an unknown and sent for Serra, who followed him with a gun in hand and said,
Hands up! What are you looking for?
Are you looking for work
Brother Costa took out his documents, but the one from the Communist Party wasn’t convinced and shut him in a room. He called the old servant Thomas Areste and said:
Do you know this one?
Yes, he’s from the University, said this blessed one and didn’t understand much.
To be sure that he was religious, he was subjected to a “classical,” test, of blasphemy, to which Brother Costa refused.
In the afternoon four gunmen took him near the house and shot him. Brother Costa could see Brother Bagaria in the patio of the house and said goodbye. Before being shot, Brother Costa was calm and serene, and told the killers.
I forgive you, for the love of God, I forgave all.
Serra was the first to shoot with his gun to which immediately followed by a downloads of shots by the other three. Everything was over at half past one in the afternoon.
Around three they buried him but not before having stripped him of everything they found useful.