Born María Cinta Asunción in Tortosa, Tarragona, in 1874, Mother María Patrocinio Giner was for many years charged with the formation of younger Claretian sisters, while also teaching in the Claretian school in Carcagente, Valencia. She died a martyr in Portichol de Valldigna, Valencia, on November 13, 1936, and with 232 martyrs of the Archdiocese of Valencia and was beatified on March 11, 2001.
Mother María came from a deeply devout family. Of seven children who lived to adulthood, one was a Franciscan priest and two were religious sisters. An uncle was a diocesan priest. A student of the Claretian Missionary Sisters in Carcagente, María entered the congregation and in 1893, made her Profession of Vows as María Patrocinio de San Juan. Distinguished for her manner of dealing with people and her ability to govern, she was for many years charged with the formation of younger sisters.
In 1926, Mother María founded the house in Puerto de Sagunto, Valencia, laying ground for the establishment of a school for daughters of the furnace workers of Vizcaya. The same year, however, she was assigned Superior of Carcagente, where immediately she began to experience the strain of growing political unrest throughout Spain.
In 1931, a mob threw rocks at the convent of Puerto de Sagunto. Mother María managed to get the girls out, then returned to remove the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle. Subject to search because of a suspicious bulge in her clothing, Mother María declared: “I am carrying our Lord Jesus Christ and will die a thousand deaths before giving him up.”
Indeed, five years later she would sacrifice her life. In the meantime, she endured searches threats and insults, until finally having to abandon the convent in May, 1936, because of threats from revolutionary groups in Alcira, Vallencia.
Along with other sisters, Mother María found refuge in Huerto del Mirador. That September, however to protect her family, she was forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
Finally, when on November 13, while praying the rosary, Mother María was
Arrested. She embraced her fate serenely and courageously. That night, sixty-two years of age and forty-two years a religious, she was executed. Also executed were her sister Carlota, a Hermit of St. Augustine, and Blessed María del Olvido Noguera, a graduate of the School of Mary Immaculate and a beloved student of Mother María Patrocinio Giner.
Before her death, she wrote: “The darkest of clouds cover us, but our trust is in Him who said:…I will triumph over my enemies and reign over Spain […] in the midst of persecution, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are purged and we are ready to suffer all that the Lord allows, May all be for our good “(2, p. 17).
To her executioners she said: “You do not realize what you are doing, but someday you will understand. I forgive you from my heart and accept with joy what God allows, since you open the gates of heaven to me. From heaven I will pray for you! “(2, p. 22).
Venerable Antonia María Paris, co-founder with St. Anthony Mary Claret of the Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries, wrote: “I wish we had the good fortunate of sealing our lives shedding our blood in confirmation of the holy Law of the Lord.” Blessed María Patrocinio Giner exemplified par excellence the mission and lifestyle of her congregation.
- ÁLVAREZ, J., Blessed Mother Mary Sponsorship Giner, Claretian martyr, song of faith, hope and charity, Rome 2001.
- CLARETIAN MISSIONARY SISTERS. To love is to be given, Mother Sponsorship Giner, Claretian martyr, Rome 2001.
- POSITIO of Mother Mary Patrocinio Giner de San Juan, Rome 1996.
- CLARETIAN MISSIONARY SISTERS. Give your life for Christ, Rome 2001.