Jose Reixach Reguer

Reixach Reguer, Josep

Born June 13, 1865 in Vilanova de Sau (Barcelona)

Professed November 10, 1891

Ordained a priest April 6, 1889

Shot June 25, 1936 in Sabadell

 

He was born on June 13, 1865, in Vilanova de Sau, Barcelona. He was baptized on the day of his birth by the parish priest. He would receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on August 6, 1865 by Don Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Trajanopolis, in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Vic.

His parents were Juan Reixach, a laborer and Mrs. Felipa Reguer a homemaker. He was educated in the Christian faith according to the custom of the time. Almost all of the responsibility fell on his mother because his father died in 1878. In the family home his religious vocation would begin.

In 1878, he began the studies of Latin, Rhetoric, etc., in the Seminary of the Claretian Missionaries in Barbastro. He really seemed to excel in school. He entered in the Congregation on September 7, 1880. The Novitiate would take place in Vic. His First Profession was on November 10, 1881. In Vic, he would continue in the studies of Philosophy, Logic, Metaphysics and Ethics. In the summer of 1884, he moved to the house of Gracia (Barcelona) to study Theology. The following year, 1885-1886, he was off to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the former Franciscan convent, in order to continue his Theological studies. It was in Santo Domingo del la Calzada that he received the Minor Orders on April 17, 1887 and on September 18th, he was ordained to the Subdiaconate from the hands of the Bishop Calafate. This same Bishop would conferred the Diaconate on May 13, 1888.

In August 1888, it was decided that he would go to Cervera. But in October, 1888, he was transferred to work in the school of Gracia. On April 6, 1889, he was ordained a Priest by the Bishop of Barcelona. At the end of the year, he was sent to Solsona, as a sacristan, where the local Superior was Father Domingo Fabregas Coma, co-founder of the Congregation. In early June 1891, he returned to Santo Domingo de la Calzada and on November 28th, of that year, he would be in Bilbao. His assignment was to be a preacher like the other young missionaries. In the middle of 1899, he would go to Lerida as House Minister and in October of the same year to Olesa as Superior. Later it was decided he would move to Alagon (Zaragoza) with title of the Consultant. Here developed great apostolic activities and at that time was able to get the people involved in these new programs. In 1907, he was living in Barbastro as House Minister and in 1908, he was assigned to the Main College of Aranda de Duero, with the title of Consultant and then as House Minister. Then he would move to the residence of the Superior General, Fr Martin Alsina and live in a large and active community.

At the beginning of 1919, he returned to Olesa as Superior. Then they built the railway from Martorell to Manresa, whose new route ran through the farm property of the house and spring baths of Puda. Then someone was interested in buying the farm and sent to an expert architect to make an evaluation of the property which included the house for a possible sale. The value of the house was minimal due to its status as a sanatorium. Given that this purpose was fulfilled by other means, the Government decided to abolish the plan in 1924.

From that year, he would move to the house of Sabadell as Consultant and Minister. He devoted his energies to the Apostolic Ministry. And then there was the outbreak of the Marxist Revolution.

 

Virtues

One report says he had no special qualities. But in another it states that he was qualified for any job. Fr. Reixach oozed in his simplicity and sweetness of character. He didn’t know refuse to anybody and everything could be corrected. He was a humble man, very patient and prudent.

He was an exemplary religious and observant, ensuring that others came first. He was scrupulous in his office as administrator of the goods of the Community with great neatness and accuracy. He was a godly man, an devotee of the Heart of Mary and the Rosary. His death left an impression of his heroic exercise of these virtues.

 

Martyrdom

Father Reixach, like the other members of the community was ready to shed his blood for Christ. On July 19, 1936, in the afternoon, he took refuge in the house of Don José Tana Camps, who was living on the Calle Pérez Galdós of Sabadell. He was a relative and neighbor of Don Francisco Despla where he also found refuge. The following day, he returned to the convent to celebrate Mass and receive Communion. Toward midday, all returned to their respective shelter, with the exception of Fr. Reixach who didn’t want to abandon the convent. Finally, the Superior had to give an order. So he asked if he could stay until dusk in order not to compromise the family that would give him refuge. By obedience, he did go to eat where he took refuge, but in the evening he returned to the convent, as he was the bursar and considered it a duty to take care of the property of the community.

He was in the house when at midnight the mobs stormed the house and soon came upon the priest. Then he was forced to guide them in the registration of the rooms of the house. When he reach the entrance to the Church, it was painful witnessing the first of many sacrileges which they did with the sacred images. The leaders gave order to stacked the pews in the center of the Church and make a fire and everything was burning while they shouted Satanic blasphemies.

The Priest, in spite of everything, took the opportunity to disappear and went out to the street. Even in this circumstance he was recognized by some arsonists, who devoted their efforts to accompany him to his shelter. How could he refused this offer. At the end, he went to the house where he took refuge. By now it was one in the morning. Given the situation, he realized the door was securely locked and the owners were asleep so that they didn’t hear him. He was forced to call repeatedly with heavy blows. This might have raise the suspicion of a neighbor that night, which later might have been the reason to give his whereabouts away.

During his four days with his friends Tana and the family Despla, they had devised a means of communication between both houses. They were edified with his fervent way of life, his strength of mind and serenity in making himself available to the Lord. It seems that he sensed his future. Several times he would say to his friends:

If they come for me, I don’t want to deny that I am here. I want to die for Christ and I want to be a martyr in heaven, if it is that I deserve to go.

God accepted his offer and was the first martyr of Sabadell, not only from the community of the Claretian Missionaries.

 

The arrest:

At two in the morning of July 25th, a Communist patrol presented themselves at the home of Mr. Tana, threatening with these words:

Turn over the man you have to us or you will have to follow us.

But Fr. Reixach was sleeping in the house of Mr. Despla. And while some were looking for the priest, another patrolmen had a gun on Mr and Mrs Tana. That was until they discovered the communication with the other housing from the rear. With pleas from Mr. Tana, they went to the house of Despla by the front door. The mother-in-law opened the door since she slept on the ground floor. The militia went up the floor and to find the priest and exclaimed: we have him.

Immediately, they grabbed him and push him from one side to the other.

Shortly after two in the morning, in the middle of the street, they fired a few shots, leaving the priest severely wounded with a perforated intestine. They dragged him down the street leaving a trail of blood to get to the Charity Hospital. They pounded on the door of the hospital. When they saw the priest so disfigured, he looked like a beast. His thumb was torn and hanging.

A Sister and two Red nurses atended to him. The nurses repeatedly asked him about the reason for his state and he replied that he wanted to run away and was shot. And then the Sister’s said not to ask anything else because in no way was he going to say where he had been. The nurses initially were unaware of who he was until they found on his clothes some religious objects. Then they were convince that he was a priest.

They atended to his immediate needs but due to his serious condition, they decided to transfer him to Our Lady of Good Health Clinic for surgery. They called the Red Cross and the Authorities. It was five in the morning. Soon employees of the Red Cross arrived along with the Mayor, Judge and armed patrols. As they entered Fr. Reixach room, he said:

If it was you that did the shooting. I forgave you because I want to die like Jesus who forgave those who crucified him.

He spoke these words calmly. These words produced a deep impression on those henchmen, who appeared troubled and lowered their weapons as if they didn’t have the strength to carry them and it significantly reflected in their faces. But quickly so as to distract the injured, they took him to the clinic.

He was attended by Sister Julia because she knew he had just arrived. The Father asked: Are you a Sister or nurse? Hearing that she was a religious made him very happy and added: I’m going to heaven. From there I will pray for you.

With all the hemorrhages, the danger of death was imminent. About 8 o’clock in the morning Dr. Sixto Perez operated on him while the Sister took charge of the chloroform. Everything proved useless because there was no remedy. The Father endured all  this with admirable patience with frequent called upon the Blessed Virgin. This seemed to edifiy those around him. Then he lost consciousness and died around two in the afternoon.

The next day Don Francisco Tortajada performed an autopsy. The priest died because of the mortal wounds of firearms. On the 27th, he was buried in the grave n. 119 of the cemetery of Sabadell. In September 1939, his remains were moved to a niche belonging  to the Congregation in the same cemetery.