Joseph Ferrer Escola

Ferrer, Jose

Born October 21, 1878 in Alsamora (Lérida)

Professed August 15, 1897

Shot October 19, 1936 in Mas Claret-Cervera (Lérida)


In the town of Alsamora, in the province and Diocese of Lleida, Jose Ferrer was born on October 21, 1878. He was the son of Don Manuel Ferrer and Dolores Escola. He was baptized on the day of his birth in the parish Church of St Stephen and in the same parish received the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 24, 1882, from the Bishop of Lleida.

He entered the Postulancy in Barbastro on August 1893, where he studied Humanities and seemed to do very well in his classes. Later he would go to the Novitiate in the city of Cervera which began on August 14, 1896, for a year of studies, prayer and dicipine. When he completed the year, he would make his First Profession on August 15, 1897. During the Novitiate, as all of the Novices answered every three months to a fairly detailed presentation of questions. They expressed their desire to be a missionary, but at the same time also he admitted that he didn’t have any trade. Most importantly he was willing to obey wherever the Superiors would send him. On this particular point, the Novice Master, Fr. Antonio Sanchez asked: “he doesn’t seem to have a sense of direction, but has good spirit.” In this same residence of Cervera, he began the studies of Philosophy and Dogmatic Theology with much effort given that his intellectual capabilities were somewhat limited. During the summer of 1903, he would move to Santo Domingo de la Calzada to study Moral Theology. It was during this time that he suffered an epileptic seizure. Because of his cerebral anemia, he was asked to be a temporary brother candidate in 1902. When he studied Dogmatic Theology, as one of the reports stated, he was in no hurry to be ordained. Thus, he would serve in the community as a Brother Coadjutor until the end of his days.

His fate would be to remain in Cervera, where he served as a bookbinder of which he excelled as a Master in the type of work. Then there was the other occupations which were eagerly commissioned by the Superiors. He was an expert on fixing the electricity and a tinsmith. He knew how to fix sewing and washing machines, water pump and even farm equipment. He was seen as an institution and a very hard worker. Together with Brother Palau, he was responsible for the preservation of the University building.

He was docile, reflective, peaceful, attentive, helpful and very pious. He could be described as a religious that was inspirational to anyone.

Before the outbreak of the Civil War, he moved to Mas Claret because he found this as an excellent place to recouperate and rest. The community life was somewhat altered during the time of the Marxist Revolution. Then there was the establishment of the Communist party in this area under its control and in particular in Mas Claret where the Claretians lost power and responsibility. When they seizure the property from the missionaries, the Revolutionary Committee of Cervera was merciless. The missionaries would use this time to engaged in work and prayer. They saw the need to prepare for martyrdom. Brother Ferrer was tested in the virtue of chastity because the militia were committed to make him give in to the maid of the Chairman of the Committee. The reason was because he had the most contact and was most responsible for any requests from the Claretian as well as the Revolution Committee. At the insistence of the militia, this woman tried to seduce him. She said they could live together and be very happy. With this he laughed.

Brother Ferrer was victorious of all these temptations, which were many and for a long time. On October 19, 1936, he was shot with the other members of the Claretian community on the property of the farm.