Born February 8, 1891 in Berga (Barcelona)
Professed February 2, 1911
Shot October 12, 1936 in Gurb (Barcelona)
Brother Casals was born on February 8, 1891, in Berga, a town in the province of Barcelona and Diocese of Solsona. He was baptized on the same day in the parish of Santa Eulalia. His parents were José Casals and Dona Antonia Badia. He entered the Congregation on January 29, 1910, in Cervera, where he then began the Novitiate. He would make his First Profession on February 2, 1911, which was the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin.
According to the records and official bulletins, Brother Casals had few assignments or changes of residents. After his Profession, he was assigned to the College of Cervera, where there were 45 Brothers to serve the community. In fact, in the year 1911, 254 men lived in this residence. Although it would decline somewhat, the number was large. In 1931, it was comprised of 243 individuals. The position he held in the school was as steward and cook. He appeared to fulfill all his responsibilities with intelligence, common sense and to the satisfaction of the community members. He also proved to be a great administrator.
In 1935, he was transferred to the house of Vic, where the community was smaller and comprised of 50 to 60 men, but with a inconsiderable amount of work: the House of Spiritual Exercises.
The reports that are periodically given about a religious, attest to the fact that Brother Casals was an exemplary religious, of conduct very good. It states that he was healthy and fulfilled his responsibilities and obligations. We have to conclude that his life was a true religious spirit of sacrifice for the love of God. For this reason, the testimonies confirm that he was self-sacrificing, living a spirit of poverty and respectful of his superiors. He seemed to treat everyone in the community with goodness. He was a man with common sense.
Dispersion of the community and escape
On July 21, 1936, he was the last to leave the Mother House of Vic. He remained there until moments before being assaulted by the Reds. Before leaving he wanted to hide the image of the Virgen del Buen Suceso. In the beginning he took refuge in the home of Mr. Portusach who resided on the Calle Ramada.
In the morning of the following day, he went to visit the Novices to see if in any way he could alleviate their hardship. He also was interested in the other individuals of the community.
On the 23rd, he went to buy food for the Novices and as he was leaving the bakery he was arrested by militia. It was around ten in the morning. He was taken to the Town Hall, where he remained for about two hours and went through a short interrogation. He was released by the Mayor. The councilor advised him to not to be walking through the streets. From the 25th to the 29th, he was helping the Bishop by order of the Superior. When the Bishop was able to leave for refuge, Brother Casals returned to the house of Mr. Portusach.
On August 13th, he had to leave the shelter, for fear of an expected investigation, and the need to escape. Following some good advice he went to El Vivet, located in the parish of Santa Eugenia de Berga, where Brother Costa was hiding and could get the pass to Berga, his hometown. He was able to obtain the pass, but it seemed it was too late to move, so he decided to wait for the next day and leave in the early morning. But that night around 9pm, some Revolutionaries militiants from the committee of Taradell made the usual registration and warned the Brother and the other refugees not to move from there or the owner would lose his life. In addition, they tore the passes and repeated their threats. There he lived with great reverence and piety as the other missionaries, trusting in the providence and will of God.
El Vivet imprisonment and martyrdom
On Octobr 8th, members of the Revolutionary committee of Vic went to Taradell in search of important individuals and the head of the Committee informed them that at El Vivet were three Claretians from La Merced. Then that same morning a patrol from the committee of Vic arrived. They were accompanied by some from Taradell to claim the refugees from La Merced. The refugees were praying the rosary with the family and the Reds arrested Brother Casals with Father’s Codina and Codinach. Without any resistance, they went with their executioners. The particulars of the arrest of Brother Casals were the same as that of Father’s Codina and Codinach.
He did the registration as usual and the interrogation of the circumstances. Brother Casals found a crucifix of Father Claret. They asked how to open it. He gave it to them and they returned it. He was asked by his status and had no qualms about confessing that he was a cook. When leaving Brother Casals said goodbye to one of the daughters of the house saying: Until later!
On that day, October 12, 1936, the bodies of four people were found on the roads. The corpse of Brother Casals was found near the Manso Rosell on the road from Manlleu, where a farmer heard the shots in the middle of the night of the 12th, and then recognized two bodies, a hefty Father Molist, and a small and thin man, which was Brother Casals.
Those living on Manso Rosell with the help of other neighbors buried the bodies in the cemetery of Granollers de la Plana, belonging to the Municipality of Gurb.