In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Communist troops murdered three Carmelite nuns at Guadalajara, Spain. They were: Sr. Maria of the Angels of St. Joseph (born Marciana Valtierra Tordesillas), thirty-one years oId; Sr. Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (Jacoba Martinez Garcia), fifty-eight; Sr. Teresa of the Child Jesus (Eusebia Garcia y Garcia), twenty-seven.
On July 22, with soldiers roaming the city, the eighteen nuns of the Monastery of St. Joseph scattered through the streets disguised in secular clothes. Some found shelter with Catholic families, and Srs. Maria of the Angels, Maria Pilar, and Teresa, along with two other nuns, hid in the basement of the Hibernia Hotel. Two days later, the five left the hotel, two going to a nearby boarding house, the three martyrs making their way up a street. A soldier eating lunch in a parked jeep recognized them and shouted to her companions, “Shoot them! They are nuns!”
Sr. Maria of the Angels died instantly when a bullet struck her in the heart. Sr. Maria Pilar, also hit, cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey (Long live Christ the King)!” The soldiers, furious at the pious exclamation, shot her repeatedly and slashed her with a knife. She died, having lost most of her blood, saying, “My God, pardon them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
Sr. Teresa was not harmed, and a soldier, pretending concern, gathered some of his companions and led Teresa to a nearby cemetery, apparently intending to rape her. As they went, she spoke out fearlessly against them, and they angrily insisted she praise communism. To each of their commands she cried, “Viva Cristo Rey!” Told to walk a few steps ahead, she spread her arms in the form of a cross and was shot in the back.
Feast: July 24.
From The Saints from A to Z: An Inspirational Dictionary
(Servant Publications) by Cynthia Cavnar, copyright Cynthia Cavnar