Born January 11, 1868 in Montbuy (Barcelona)
Professed March 25, 1884
Ordained a priest August 15, 1891
Shot August 25, 1936 in Lleida
Father John Busquet was born January 11, 1868, in Montbuy (Barcelona) and was baptized four day later the parish Church of Santa Margarita de Montbuy, in the Diocese of Vic, province of Barcelona. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on October 7, 1870. His parents were José Busquet, a carpenter and Maria Lucia. He had another brother who was a Claretian.
At the age of 11 he joined the diocesan seminary where he studied with excellent grades for the years 1880-1881, 1881-1882. He entered the Congregation on August 21, 1882. Living in Barbastro, he studied rhetoric and in 1883, he went to Vic to study Philosophy.
He began his Novitiate on March 24, 1883, and mde his First Profession on March 15, 1884, in the hands of Father José Xifré, Superior General. On April 12, 1884, he received Tonsure. In 1886, he moved to Santo Domingo de la Calzada to study Dogmatic Theology and Moral Theology. Again he would excel in studies.
All of his ordinations would take place in Santo Domingo. On April 17, 1887, he received the four Minor Orders. The Subdiaconate was received in June 1, 1890, and the Diaconate on June 8. The ordination to the priesthood took place on August 15, 1891, by the Diocesan Bishop in the Episcopal Palace.
His first assignment was as professor of the College, teaching the extern students in Cervera after moving from Santo Domingo de la Calzada on September 6, 1890. During the school year 1890-1891, while giving classes to boys, he took classes in Theology and Liturgy. Later he was sent to Lérida, Barbastro and in August 1892 to Solsona. Two years later he would go to Cervera and Vic as a Consultant and preacher. In February 1899, he was assigned to the house of Gracia (Barcelona), as a preacher. After a year, he was sent back to Barbastro as Superior. In 1900, he encountered leg problems. After a variety of treatment, nothing worked. Advised by the community, he went to see Dr. Dionisio Arrugaeta in Lleida, a great friend and benefactor of the missionaries. The Dr diagnosed:
Your leg has a monumental cyst and must be removed as soon as possible.
When? Asked Father Busquet. Then we will do surgery now. I am ready for every event and I bring my own anesthetic, for if you need relief during the operation.
The anesthetic was the cross of the missions which Father Busquet carried.
Cut without mercy, cut and slice; pull and burn without any hesitation. I am a sinner that has past due accounts with God and this is a good juncture to settle.
Father Busquet with a crucifix in hand, without lamentations of any kind, endured the cutting of the scalpel and scissors on the flesh of his leg. Dr. Arrugaeta was amazed, saving the cyst in alcohol to remember the courage of this Claretian Missionary and the power of Jesus.
The following year (1901) he participated in the First Provincial Chapter and was re-elected to the office of Superior of Barbastro. Here everything was for a six-year period. In the Provincial Chapter of 1907, he was elected Superior of Calatayud. It seems that he was well received and did very well with such appointments. He was in this office until 1913.
In August 1913, he was sent to Lerida as a Consultant. This allowed him to serve as House Minister and preacher. This was his last assignment which lasted until his martyrdom: 23 years. During this time, he had an extraordinary exercise the ministry as confessor and a very fruitful ministry. In his last years his health was poor and he was nearly blind.
Qualities and Virtues
Father Busquet during the career showed that he had good intellectual qualities and very good skills. As Superior, he was distinguished for his goodness and wisdom in community.
He was religious, observant, exemplary and a zealous missionary.
Refuge and martyrdom
On July 21, 1936, he was arrested along with the other members of the community. He and Father Codina testified before the Red Government at the regional headquarters. While Father Codina was sentenced to prison, Father Busquet was set free because he was old and almost blind. He was able to take refuge in the home of a friend. In the afternoon he arrived at the home of Mrs. Rosa Mural because the Blessed Sacrament was reserved there.
During the time he was in this home, Father Busquet heard confessions and distributing Communion to those who asked. Father Maroto had asked the Holy See permission to celebrate Mass with a decent glass and not a chalice were not granted until August 22, three days before he would die.
Since the situation did not improve and fear was exacerbated with persecution against those who welcomed priests and religious; Fathe Busquet decided to leave the home, to the ancestoral home of the Sra Rosa, in the Masos de Mile located in the mountain. To make it easier for a passport, Father Busquet and an uncle of Sra Rosa, were accompanied by a child. On August 21, 1936, they went to the bus station to get the ticket. When they asked for a pass to travel, they didn’t have it and Father Busquet was recognized as a priest. They were arrested and taken to prison. A witness from the prison enrolled him with the name of Joseph Puig Llúcia.
In the evening, some armed individuals presented themselves at Dona Rosa’s home asking for Father Busquet. They reported that the priest and his companion were in jail. Rosa’s family took them food and what was needed in the prison. Life in prison was difficult in that he was ailing and almost blind. He resigned himself to the will of God and prayer, always cheerful and serene. He also exercised his ministry among his peers by hearing confessions of those who request it.
On August 25th at 10 in the morning, some militia of the Durruti column stormed the jail and took 25 prisoners. Three groups of prisoners, including those were Dr. García, Vicar General, Fr Busquet and other priests. Father Busquet asked for a jacket but was told that he didn’t need it. They were taken to the Field of Martyrs, where they were shot.
One day Mrs. Rosa found in the basket that belonged to her uncle a piece of clothing that had been given to Father Busquet, a slip of paper in which he said that he would eat only half of the meal so that other could have more to eat.