BLESSED NICEFORO DIEZ TEJERINA AND THE PASSIONIST MARTYRS OF DAMIEL
Blessed Niceforo of Jesus and Mary (Diez Tejerina) and his 25 martyr companions were all members of the Passionist Community of Daimiel.
Their martyrdom took place against the background of the strong anti-clerical climate which was sweeping Spain after the proclamation of the Republic in 1931. The majority were young religious aged between 18 and 21 years of age studying for the Priesthood and the possibility of working one day in South America. Towards midnight of the 21/22nd July anticipating the possibility of being attacked, the members of the Community, led by the Provincial Fr. Niceforo Diez gathered in the Chapel of the Monastery. They made their last Confession, received Holy Communion and heard the Provincial say ‘Inhabitants of Calvary, this is our Gethsemane. Human nature frightened at the prospect of the Steps of the Passion, the same as that of Jesus, grows weak and is intimidated. But Jesus is with us. He comforts us and sustains us. In a few moments we will be with Christ. Inhabitants of Calvary – Courage! Let us die for Christ.’
About 200 men arrived and drove them into the night. Divided into small groups they were martyred at various places over the next three months. Six were martyred on 23rd July at Manganares and on the same day nine at Carabanchel. Two days later three more were killed at Erda. Two months later two were martyred at Carrion de Calatrava on 25th September. In the following month the final group of six were martyred on 23rd October.
Not one abandoned the group to avoid participation in their fate. The moment of supreme sacrifice had come and all of them faced death with unflinching fortitude and patience for the love of God and Jesus. In actual fact even the soldiers admitted that some of them died with the crucifix in their hands and crying out ‘May Christ the King Live!’
Their Memorial is observed 24th July, the available date nearest to the date on which the first group, under the leadership of their Provincial, Blessed Niceforo Tejerina, was martyred. They are the first Beatified Martyrs of the Congregation of the Passion. Pope John Paul II beatified them on 1st October 1989.
Martyred in Manganares 23rd July
Fr. Niceforo Diez (aged 43 Yrs.), Jose Estalayo, student (aged 21 yrs.); Epilanio Sierra, student (aged 20 yrs.); Abilio Ramos, student (aged 20 yrs.); Zacarios Fernandez, student (aged 19 yrs.); Fulgencio Calvo, student (aged 19 yrs.);
Martyred in Carabanchel 23rd July
Fr. German Perez, (aged 30 yrs.); Fr. Felipe Valcabado (aged 62 yrs.); Maurilio Macho, student (aged 21 yrs.); Jose Oses, student (aged 21 yrs.); Julio Mediavilla, student (aged 21 yrs.); Jose M. Ruiz, student (aged 21 yrs.); Laurino Proano, student (aged 20 yrs.); Bro. Anacario Benito,(aged 30 yrs.); Bro. Felipe Ruiz, (aged 21 yrs.)
Martyred in Erda 25th July
Fr. Pedro Largo, (aged 29 yrs.); Felix Ulgade, student (aged 21 yrs.); Bro. Benito Solana,(aged 38 yrs.)
Martyred in Carrion de Calatrava 25th September
Fr. John Pedro Bengoa, (aged 46 yrs.); Bro. Pablo M. Leoz, (aged 54 yrs.)
Martyred in Manzanares 23rd October
Fr. Ildephonso Garcia, (aged 38 yrs.); Fr. Justiniano Cuesta (aged 26 yrs.); Eufrasio de Celes, student, (aged 21 yrs.); Honorino Carracedo, student (aged 19 yrs.); Tomas Cuartero, student, (aged 21 yrs.) and his brother, Jose M. Cuartero, student (aged 19 yrs.)
Read more about the Passionist Spanish Martyrs here