Novena – Day 5

LOVE FOR THE CONGREGATION

INTRODUCTION

Spanish Civil War of 1936 is a horrible memory especially for the church and the religion. So many religious or priests, nuns and lay people who gave shelter to the priests were mercilessly killed only because they were priests and nuns. They destroyed churches,  convents, burnt all the holy articles and books, desecrated holy places, etc. They said we must put an end to this race of people. In Vic one of the armed man said “How many times have I wanted to put an end to this bad weed, and haven’t been able!  But this time, we will make sure.”

The martyrs who will be beatified in October come from the communities of Barcelona (8), Castro Urdiales (3), Cervera-Mas Claret (60), Lérida (11), Sabadell (8), Vic-Sallent (15) and Valencia (4). Heading this numerous group of martyrs appear three names: Mateu Casals (Priest), Teófilo Casajús (Student) and Fernando Saperas (Brother). They symbolise the diversity of vocations in our Congregation (cf. CC7). In the group there are 49 priests, 31 brothers and 29 students, with an average age of 39. Catalans, Navarros, Aragoneses, Castillians, all sharing a common religious profession and a great love of our Congregation. Except for two, who died in 1937, all were martyred in the latter months of 1936.

There are so many aspects of martyrs life which are not included here, for example the life of virtues, obedience, poverty, fidelity to their vocation,  precaution and prudence applied in their life, Spirit of humility, different ministries, lay people who died just because they gave shelter to our martyrs etc. It is not possible to include all these aspects in 9 days of novena prayers. Only some important aspects of their life are taken for our reflection.

PREPARATORY PRAYER

Lord our God in the designs of your adorable kindness you predestined 109 Claretians to be martyrs for your sake and bestowed them with special gifts of graces, so that they may become the model of sanctity in those different states of the Christian life. We praise you and we give you thanks mainly for the treasures of virtues that you deposited in their souls, above all with a strong faith to give up their life for your sake. Grant us the grace to follow their examples and to imitate their virtues, and especially we (I) request you during this Novena meditation to grant us your protection through the powerful intercession of those 109 Claretian martyrs.  We (I) also pray through the Immaculate Heart Mary of whose glory and mercy made them strong in their faith. Amen.

BIBLICAL TEXT FOR REFLECTION

John 13:32-35

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.  Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Or

Psalm 133: 1-3

The Excellency of Brotherly Unity

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.

 

MEDITATION

Fr. Jaime Girón Puigmitja (49) was different than other formatters in his method of guiding the members of the community. As a formator because of his special love for the congregation in his conferences he frequently invited and exposed the students to the spirit and history of the Congregation and the reality of life.

Bro. Evaristo Bueria Biosca (23) in his letters he manifested great love to the religious life and missionary vocation and always asked for prayers to persevere and be a good missionary. Also showed his apostolic zeal by encouraging vocations to the congregation.

Members of our congregation lived a life of simplicity and humility. Through its life witness attracted many to the congregation. Fr.Juan Maria Buxo Font (56) wanted to join contemplative order but when the spiritual director advised him to join some active congregation and presented various Institutes, Dr. Buxo decided on the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary because of the humility and simplicity of the Institute.

When there was danger to life and even when some were advised to escape or change the life style they remained faithful and were ready to give their life for the congregation. Fr.Enrique Cortadellas Segura (26) when his mother told him that she felt regret for having allowed him to be religious, he immediately countered telling, if he could live a hundred times, he would enter in the same Congregation at risk of losing his life. He told her to remain calm, if they kill me, I would go to heaven and pray for all of you.

Fr. Heraclius Matute Tobias (69) When he was Provincial Superior, he demonstrated his great love for the Congregation as evidenced by the canonical visitations and the provisions taken highlighting the observance of religious discipline, piety, prayer and the foundation of pastoral activities.

Though Father Matute was nearly blind, he would always be before the Blessed Sacrament. He wanted to be prepared for martyrdom and called on others to give their blood generously for Christ, but the younger members he encouraged to escape for the sake of the Congregation.

All of them had great eagerness to go back to the community and lead a community life together with their brothers. And had great hope that the war will end. Bro. Ramon Roca Buscalla (48) hoped that that the state of things would return to order and he would be able to go back to community life with his brothers.

Seminarian Miguel Oscoz Arteta (24) He loved his vocation and in all the letters asked for prayers to persevere in the Congregation.

Bro. Antonio Casany Vilarassa (41) when he was taking shelter in a family he was longing to return to Mas Claret, but the family discouraged him from going due to the danger. He would say that if he couldn’t return to the congregation, then why to live. For him congregation was the life.

July 19, 1936, when the Marxist Revolution took control and the community had to disperse, Bro. Juan Capdevila Costa (53) went to the administration office, located on Calle Buenavista to monitor and safeguard the interests of the Congregation.

Fr. Michael Salavedra, offered him shelter and accommodation in the house of a family friend but the Brother did not accept. This decision was due to his great sense of responsibility for the property of the Congregation. Therefore he would not abandon the local administration office. He was very conscious of his responsibility, in spite of danger to his life.

All of them had great love for the congregation, this was very clearly expressed in their letters  and their life. Many of them requested to pray so that they persevere in the congregation. When they were dispersed they hoped that the civil war will end soon and they can come back to lead their community life together with the community members. Sense of community life and belonging to the congregation was very strong in them. They were ready to sacrifice their life in order to protect the property and inheritance of the congregation.

What is my attitude towards my congregation and the community life? How do I express the love for the congregation? Do I attract the vocation towards my congregation through my simple, and humble life? Do I feel sense of belonging to the congregation?

INVOCATIONS FOR EVERY DAY

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs, faithful servants of the church: help us to come closer, to the holy Catholic Church and to an unshakable fidelity to all its teachings and precepts.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs, Apostles of the Holy Virgin: help us to come closer to the devotion of Immaculate Heart, and by means of her the salvation of our souls.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

  1. Glorious Claretian martyrs who were faithful to St. Anthony Mary Claret and the charism of Claretian Congregation: help us to have a burning love towards Jesus, to follow his steps until the summit of the Christian perfection.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the father…….

FINAL PRAYER

  1. Pray for us, Claretian martyrs.
  2. So that we may become worthy of those promises of Jesus Christ.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your 109 Claretian holy martyrs triumphed over suffering and were faithful unto death: strengthen us with your grace, that we may endure reproach and persecution and faithfully bear witness to the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.