Born August 2, 1890 in Vic (Barcelona)
Professed August 15, 1906
Ordained a priest August 23, 1914
Shot September 25 1936 in Manlleu (Barcelona)
Father Jose Capdevila was born on August 2, 1890, in Vic, the seat of the Diocese and was baptized a few days later in the parish of San Pedro. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Easter 1891. His parents were José Capdevila, a cattle laborer and Ms. Maria Angela Portet. They had eight children, of which Jose was the oldest.
When he was very young boy, he felt the desire to be a priest, so he began studies in Humanities at the Diocesan Seminary of Vic in 1900. Then he felt a calling to religious life and in 1903, entered the Postulancy of the missionaries in Barbastro in Humanities. It appears that he repeated the course of Rhetoric. He returned to Vic in the summer of 1905 to make his Novitiate. The program began on August 14th, under the direction of Fr Mariano Fernández. When the year ended he made his First Profession on August 15, 1906.
He moved on to Cervera to study Philosophy the day after his Profession. During the second year of Philosophy, on April 26, 1907, he received Tonsure. Also in the University of Cervera, he would study Dogmatic Theology from 1909-1912. During the second year, on May 7, 1910, he received the Minor Orders. In 1912, he moved on to Alagon to study Moral Theology. On May 17, 1913, he would be ordained to the Subdiaconate from the Archbishop of Zaragoza in the Basilica del Pilar and the Diaconate on September 21st, of the same year by the Bishop of Zaragoza.
When he completed his studies, he moved to Aranda de Duero on July 1, 1914, making the trip by train. In the Colegio Máximo de Aranda, he would make the year of preparation for the ministry, but August 23, 1914, he was ordained to the Presbyterate by the Bishop of Osma.
His first assignment was Cervera in June 1915, as a preacher. In November he moved to Vic to give First Communion to his brothers Pepito and Carmina, whem he had never met. In 1917, he was assigned to Berga, also as a preacher and in 1919 to San Feliu de Guixols, with the same responsibility. The following year he was transferred to Tarragona, as house Minister. A year later he would go to La Selva del Campo and within the year return to Tarragona as Minister and Consultant. In 1931, he was appointed Consultant of the community of Vic, his hometown. In 1934, he was appointed Superior of the community of Sallent, where he devoted his energy to improve the birthplace of St. Anthony Mary Claret and headquarters of the community. He also took charge of the Claretian museum and to move the headquarters of the College to the adjacent building next to the house of the community.
In all his assignments, he developed a number of apostolic programs with all kinds of preaching and studies. In addition during his stay in Vic, he devoted himself to publishing some booklets of Marian characteristics.
Virtues and Qualities
He had a gift for preaching, a good strong voice and talent. His intellectual qualities were average. He was prudent, just in his decisions and charitable.
He was a man of deep faith and absolute trust in God. Very devoted to the Eucharist. He was also very devoted to the Virgin.
A good religious and on religious issue in the observance of the Holy Constitutions and of the vows.
Dispersion of the community and escape
On the afternoon of July 20, 1936, along with Father Payas, he took refuge in the neighboring house of Don José Soldevila Rebeya and Mrs. Rosario Subira Arumí residing on Calle Cos, #12. He followed the same fate as Father Payas until the night the registry of the militiants separated them.
Father Capdevila unable to find Father Payas, fled at 3:30 in the morning. He began to move through the river Cornet and came to the village of Serraçants and then on to Cornet. Exhausted he had fallen in the side of the road and a good samaritan by the name of Ramon Pujol placed him in his car and took him to Cornet. They arrived at the home of Cererols, whose gave him shelter. He also stayed in other houses like the sister of a priest. As a refugee, he was given money and a breviary or in the house Puig he received new shoes.
On Sunday the 26th, he chose to sleep in the forest and found it impossible to return to Sallent. In the afternoon, guided by a man from Tardalletes he arrived at Borro de Toruelles. At three thirty in the morning on Monday the 27th, accompanied by a farmer from Borro, he arrived at the home of Miquela and from there to his family home.
In the afternoon of the 27th, he arrived at the Estate of La Esperanza, adjacent to his family home, La Caborca. There, he found his childhood friend, Salvador Puntí, who went to notify the parents of the arrival of their son. Shortly after Father Capdevila went to his home, after eight days of hardships and dangers.
He stayed in his home for about three weeks and on the advice from his own family went to the neighbor’s house, or at the Estate of La Esperanza, considering that it might be more secure. During all this time, he devoted his time to a life of piety, recitation of the breviary and rosary. He also saw it as an opportunity to encourage everyone else. He was confident in the Providence of God and accept his will.
Arrest and martyrdom
In the afternoon of September 24, 1936, a militia patrol car was present on the farm of La Esperanza to record what was taking place in the surrounded area. Father Capdevila realizing, or warned by another tried to escape through a window, or balcony. He was discovered and arrested. The daughter of Salvador went to warn the mother of Father Capdevila, but she had already been warned by her husband, who was in the field and aware of the situation. The mother ran out to meet her son, who was about to enter the car. The Revolutionaries pushed the mother which made her fall to the ground but with great courage got up and was able to say goodbye to her son.
He said to her:
Goodbye mother, until heaven.
There is no heaven, interrupted with a loud voice one of the Marxists.
For you, if you don’t change your thinking there will not be, answered the priest.
The mother’s efforts were futile in trying to keep her child.
He was taken by car to the Town Hall and from there to the jail. His father and sister Mary went to City Hall to see him, but were not allowed. They wanted to know if he needed clothes or something and they were told that he didn’t need anything. He was taken to the jail of the city and there he spent the whole day of the 25th.
The person in charge of the prison informed the family that he was gone. He had been taken around 11 at night along with another detainee. The other person was Father Pla.
On the road road from Vic to Manlleu, they were shot near the farm called El Furull, within the Municipality. They had been shot on Saturday, September 26th, and were buried in the cemetery of Manlleu.