Born April 28, 1860 in Cistella (Gerona)
Professed January 6, 1880
Ordained a priest September 24, 1883
Shot September 5, 1936 in Terrasa
He was born on April 28, 1860, in Cistella (Girona), in the Diocese of Girona and baptized the following day in the parish Church with the names of Jose, Juan, Esteban. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on September 16, 1864, by the Diocesan Bishop on the pastoral visition. His parents were Don Francisco Puig and Ms. Maria Bret.
In the Seminary of Our Lady of Collell in Girona, he completed his years of Latin and Humanities. He would also complete three years of Philosophy, with average qualifications. The rector, Don Baudilio Payet certified that the student Jose Puig Bret has been recommended because his application and moral conduct. It should be noted because he frequently received the Sacraments and attended religious functions.
In the reports submitted on January 25, 1879, the Diocesan Ordinary testified that Jose was a young man of good life and customs. The Bishop saw no irregularities or other canonical impediments and Jose free of debt or obligations.
He entered the Congregation on January 2, 1879, as a Postulant in Thuir (France) to make the Novitiate, where he would make his Perpetual Profession on January 6, 1880. From 1880-1885, he would study Dogmatic and Moral Theology at Gracia (Barcelona).
In September 1881, he received Tonsure and the four Minor Orders from the Bishop of Barcelona. On March 10, 1883, he received the Subdiaconate and two weeks later received the Diaconate. He was ordained to the Priesthood by the Bishop of Vic. But as for this date, he had not complied with the canonical age of 24 years required to receive the priesthood. They had to ask the Sacred Congregation for a dispensation from the canonical impediment of the defect.
Assigned to Mexico
In mid 1884, he was sent to Mexico. He arrived in August with Brother Agapito Gomez. They went to the house of Toluca founded in 1884. He was made House Minister and a teacher in the School. He also dedicated himself to preaching. In 1892, he was assigned to the capital, where the missionaries were asked to take charge of the Church of St. Hipolito. In principle, he was part of the community of Jesus Mary, but the Father General on a visit to that country, judged it better to form a distinct community. In this new community, Fr. Puig would be the first Superior.
The situation of this house was problematic: “There were no contract with the Archbishop or anything other than the Church. There was a small house next door and a few letters of recommendation for them to ask for alms.
We had to build a house for the community as well as repair and decorate the Church. This involved an expenditure of 200,000 pesetas. The missionaries installed the Apostleship of Prayer, with great acceptance from the faithful.
Father Puig was very observant and saw that in the houses of Mexico, there wasn’t room for any visitor or delegate. So he wrote to Father José Xifré, Superior General asking for assistance.
Father Puig was falsely accused concerning the needs of the new community. He suffered with patience and humility. In March 1898, Fr. Puig was transferred to Puebla de los Angeles as Superior. On July 9, 1900, a new community was founded in Orizaba and the first Superior is Fr Puig. “In this house he faced many contradictions and disappointments.”
Return to Spain
In 1903, he was assigned to the house of Vic. In 1906, he would find himself at La Selva and the following year, he was assigned to the Generalitat in Barcelona. Here he would devote his work into putting in order the affairs of the Iris of peace magazine. Another point was to promote the increase sale of books, edited by the Claretians. An issues which arose in his workings dealt with the economic of the Company. This was corrected with Mr Roca who was the printer and administrator. Father Puig came to the following conclusion: “it is seen that we are not good in commercial endeavors.” He really cared that the editions of the books be as favorable as possible for the Congregation.
In 1913, he was sent back to La Selva del Campo as a Consultant and shortly after he was appointed Chaplain of the Catholic Youth. In 1914, he instituted the Kindergarten Association of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 1920, he went to Sallent to serve as a preacher. In August 5, 1925, he arrives at Solsona as House Minister. The following year, he returned to Barcelona and in 1928, to Sallent as a Consultant and House Minister. Here he continued his ministry of preaching and catechesis. In March 1933, he would be assigned to Sabadell. By this time he was already sickly but this didn’t stop him from preaching.
He was a good religious with a great spirit of observance. Very compliant with his obligations. He would be defined as humble, helpful, earnest, pious and zeal for the salvation of souls. Prided himself as a missionary preacher, catechesis and as a compassionate confessor.
On October 6, 1934, there was the semblance of a revolutionary uprising. The priest said that if there wasn’t any resistance, everyone would have been martired. This feeling of martyrdom was expressed numerous times with all the members of the community of Sabadell.
On July 19, 1936, he took refuge at the Solar House (store) on the Calle San Juan. The next day, he returned to the convent to celebrate Mass. At midday, all the Claretians in the house went back to their shelters. After the afternoon, he and Brother Claveria asked for asylum with the Little Sisters of the Poor. He found refuge with the Sisters until his arrest on August 4th. During this time, he lived a pious life with patience and calm preparing for martyrdom.
On August 4th, an individual of questionable status arrived at the Convent of the Sister’s named Romans. He was a spy and the Priest and Brother were arrested. They wanted to know in which other homes the religious sought refuge. Then the patrol members said cynically:
Now we will take you to a better place than here.
They were taken to the jail of which they saw other members of the community. Fr. Puig remained there for a month. During this time, he was devoted to pious exercises, the recitation of the Rosary and the Spiritual Exercises. It was known in Sabadell that in prison these religious were living community life. In communication with some of his friends he hinted: We are well, and it seems as if we were at home.
He was violently taken from prison on September 4, 1936, at 11:45 and placed in the same car with Brother’s Claveria, Rafi and Sole. They were shot in the road to Castellar a Municipality of Terassa, in the early hours of September 5th. According to the Civil authorities, he died of a brain hemorrhage. Of course, it was due to the shooting. He was buried in the cemetery of that city.