Visit to the places of martyrdom: Experience of grace

Apr 22, 2008 | 109 CMF, Causes of Saints, Fernan-Seguenza-Tarragona, Martyrs of Barbastro

Spain. We have completed the third week of the course for formators. This time it was more of an interior journey as we visited and reflected on the lives of the many martyrs of our congregation who were martyred 1936.

On the way to Barbastro we visited the erstwhile university of Cervera which hosted the congregation during the period of its initial growth. It reminded us of the vision and projects of Fr. Xifre. The grandiose building is now under a serious renovation. We imagined those days when young pious seminarians scurried along its corridors and the court yards with pious aspirations for the missions. Fr. Palacios explained how Fr. Xifre had to prevent the incessant knock of the volunteers at his door offering themselves to replace the missionaries who were fallen in Malarial attacks in E.Guinea.

Our visit to Mas Claret and the eucharist celebrated there were deeply touching. Fr. Vila narrated the story of the martyrs to the young generation of formators with the wisdom of an elder. The tombs of the martyres as well as the place of shooting of the martyr of chastity, Bro. Fernando Saperas, left us astounded. The worst times of history seem to bring out the best of the Church.

We stayed in Barbastro at the sactuary of Pueyo, but spending the days visiting those places soaked by the blood of our martyrs, their sepulcher and the museum. The formators identified themselves to the formators and the seminarians who gave their lives to defend their faith in Barbastro. We looked at the whole thing from a formative perspective, trying to make out the secrets of their fidelity and perseverance. At the sanctuary of their remains at barbastro, some of us could not contain our tears. (3 Fotos )

We also visited the cathedral and celebrated the eucharist with the Bishop of Barbastro at the chapel of the bishop martyr Florentino. We had a few sessions to discuss how the martyrial dimension of our charism can be imparted to our students in the formation houses. The hospitality of the Claretian community made us very much at home.
The interview with the aged, remnant eyewitness from the town of Barbastro who narrated the suffering of the martyrs helped us to understand the reality of martyrdom better.
While returning to Vic, we went through Zaragoza to greet Our Lady of Pilar and to visit our confreres especially those at the old age home. Those elderly Claretians impressed us much. They are living icons of our missionary life lived out in different parts of the world with joy and zeal!

As we returned, many deep feelings from the visit of martyrial places were lingering in all of us. The formators were constantly reminded that the emotional impact of this visit should lead to deeper convictions and credible commitment.

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