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Digital Commons at St. Mary's University



LCSH Subject

Garay, Miguel Léibar; Cejudo, Florencio Arnáiz; Herrasti, Sabino Ayastuy; Salazar, Joaquin Ochoa; Marianists; Martyrs; Saints

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


173274901 (OCLC)


This publication was published by the Pecan Grove Press and written by Brother Robert D. Wood who was in charge of the archives and special collections located in Louis J. Blume Library. A print copy of this book is available in the library as well (Here)

Table of Contents

pt.1 Miguel Leibar - Marianist, Priest, Martyr -- 1. The early years: 1885-1898 -- 2. Early assignments: 1898 - 1912 -- 3. A stint in the South: 1915 - 1922 -- 4. And then in the North: 1923 - 1930 -- 5. The troubles begin: 1930 - 1934 -- 6. The storm clouds gather: 1935 -1936 -- 7. The road to martyrdom: July 7-28, 1936 -- pt. 2 Florencio Arnaiz, Sabino Ayastuy, Joaquin Ochoa -- 8. Three in Escoriaza -- 9. The formation years -- 10. The activity of three educators -- 11. Madrid: September 1935 - September 1936

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64 pages

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Because I felt that English-speaking Marianists and the Marianist family might like to know something about the four Spaniards of the Society of Mary who will be beatified on October 28 of this year, I have culled all of the information for this book from the recently published book of Fr. José María Salaverri, S.M.1, with his permission. This is not a translation, though at times I have followed his text fairly closely, and in some cases used his wording. The present work is considerably shorter than the original book. The reason is that I have a) eliminated many of the historical allusions except the few that directly affected the lives of the subjects of this work, and b) omitted most of the lengthy correspondence, reports, allusions to the Marianist Rule of Life (formerly Constitutions) and detailed descriptions of activities, especially in Part 2. I have also taken the liberty most of the time to drop the titles “Father” and “Brother” (which isn’t used in Spain anyway). I am presenting simply the more pertinent facts about the lives of these men, very different in character but with the same ideal: to follow Christ, consecrated to Mary, by helping children and young men through teaching and Christian education. When the Church honors those who have given their lives for the faith, it calls us to sanctity, fidelity and love. In the case of Miguel, Florencio, Joaquín and Sabino what the Church especially underlines is their fidelity. They were four Christians who one day felt themselves called to consecrate their lives to God. They were faithful to their religious vocation even though they knew it might lead to martyrdom. This is especially true of the three young men who made perpetual vows in circumstances which could easily have led them to renounce their religious vocation. But they all fulfilled the desire that Sabino expressed several times: “I want to live and die at the feet of my most holy Lady and Mother.”

Fr. Salaverri’s book begins with a somewhat lengthy Prologue by Fr. Enrique Torres, S.M., who was the Postulator for the Society of Mary for twenty years and whose indefatigable work led to the beatification of the Founder and four other Marianist martyrs.2 He was also much involved with the processes of the men in this book. They began in 1961 and the next forty years resulted in two volumes of information from witnesses and on the circumstances of the martyrdom which was declared “authentic” by a group of nine theologians on May 25, 2004. At a meeting of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on January 17, 2006, this decision was approved, and on June 26, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a Decree of Martyrdom for forty-two Spaniards, four Marianists among them.

Fr. Torres’ essay on “Christian Martyrdom Today” has a number of thoughts which are worth recalling here. He notes first of all that martyrdom is always a voluntary surrender of life, based on a conviction of faith, and is consequently a public witness to the risen Christ. While studying the whole life of a martyr is important because it shows how the grace of martyrdom is the culmination of a life of faithfulness, it is the subjective and objective study of the moment of death which determines true martyrdom. At the same time, in the case of modern martyrs, there is an added difficulty of separating the civil from the religious, of determining why the person was killed. In other words, a study of martyrdom must begin by excluding other possibilities so that there is a moral certainty that the presumed martyr was not killed for obviously political motives, nor personal enmity, but simply for being a Christian (or religious or priest). Given the fact that Spain was in the midst of a bitter civil war, the real motive for obliterating the enemy can easily be misunderstood. An attempt must be made to reconstruct the last moments of life which in the case of the Spaniards is especially difficult because the “executions” were mostly at night and in semi-deserted places without any non-involved witnesses. Small details, however, can have great significance. To find a crucifix, a rosary or a medal among the remains of the martyr clearly signifies a manifestation of faith, given the risk involved in having such objects on one’s person. The attitudes of the persecutors are also important, such as their comments either before or after the execution, or the deliberate destruction of sacred objects which obviously reflects a “hatred of the faith” which is the basic reason for believing in martyrdom. In detailing the deaths of the new Marianist Blesseds, many of these things will be clearly seen.

Finally, I am personally grateful to Dr. H. Palmer Hall for the formatting and preparing of this work for publication, and to the Marianist Trust and the Provincial Administration for making its publication and distribution possible. We are all grateful to Fr. José Antonio Romeo and Fr. Enrique Torres for their wonderful work which has led to these beatifications, and to Fr. Salaverri for making known the lives of these dedicated Marianists who join the ranks of the Blesseds in heaven where they can continue interceding for the Society of Mary, not only in Spain, but throughout the world.

R.D.W., S.M.