Capuchin Martyrs of Valencia
Sulle orme dei santi. Il santorale cappuccino: santi, beati, venerabili, servi di Dio, edited by Costanzo Cargnoni is the almost exclusive source for the English translations for the lives of the Capuchin Saints and Blesseds offered on capdox.
At the time of the publication of this book, the Capuchin Martyrs of Valencia were classified as Servants of God. Consequently their biographies are found in the back section of the book. Because there 17 martyrs are described in the one article from Sulle orme dei santi , the biographical sketches needed to be somewhat cursory.
Therefore, I have used that article from the Sulle orme dei santi as the Summary for the memorial of these martyrs. The longer sketches are translations of the biographies listed and linked on http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/91706 (as of 20 June 2009), which links to all two hundred and thirty three (233) martyrs of Valencia. In all cases, except the last of the two Capuchin Poor Clare sisters martyred with their mother, the editor of www.santiebeati.it cites his source as “Santa Sede”.
To download the story of each of these martyrs: click on his or her name in the summary.
José Ample Alcaide was born on 3 February 1896. He received the Capuchin habit in the Capuchin province of Valencia on 7 August 1912, and the name Aurelio de Valencia. He took vows in the same month the following year and was ordained to the priesthood on 26 March 1921. From 1923 he was professor and director of the theological students of the province, as well as teacher in the diocesan seminary of Orihuela and provincial definitor.
After 18 July 1936 he was compelled to abandon the friary at Orihuela. The Marxist militia stopped him at his family home on 28 August and led him, together with thirteen other Catholics of the area, to a ravine near Foyos. He encourage the others, heard their confessions and absolved them. He was then gunned down with the others to the cry of 'Long live Christ the King!'
He is the head of the group of eleven other Capuchin friars, plus 5 Capuchin nuns, sacrificed in various places in the archdiocese of Valencia. Most religious, hunted from their friaries and convents, found refuge with their relatives, in the hope of greater safety and protection on the part of the citizens. However, many of them met with the same martyrdom, because they religious, at the hands of the local revolutionary committees or with their complicity.
Ambrosio de Benaguacil (Luis Valls Matamales) was born on 3 May 1870 and ordained to the priesthood on 22 December 1894. He was an apostle of the confessional and the pen. He was assassinated among the poor of Masagrell in the dead of night on 24 August 1936 near Algemesi, on the Valencia-Barcelona road.
Pedro de Benisa (Alejandro Mas Ginestar) was born on 13 December 1876 and ordained priest on 22 December 1900. He was the preacher in the friary at Masamagrell. After taking refuge with one of his sisters, the militia took him away on the night of 16 august 1936. He was shot on a lonely road, after offering forgiveness to his murderers.
Joaquín de Albocácer (José Ferrer Adell) was born 23 April 1879 and ordained to the priesthood on 19 December 1903. He had been a missionary for a long time in Colombia, and an apostle of the Eucharist and of the devotion of the Three Hail Marys. He was director of the Seraphic Seminary at Masamagrell. Militia men discovered him in his refuge in Rafelbufiol on 30 August 1936. He was taken to his home town and shortly after killed near Villafamés.
Modesto de Albocácer (Modesto Garda Marti) was born on 17 January 1880 and ordained 19 December 1903. He was guardian at the friary in Olleria. He was known for his great charity towards the sick and the poor. He had been a missionary in Colombia for fourteen years. After taking refuge in his home town with his brother, a preist, they were both shot together on 13 August 1936.
Germán de Carcagente (José Maria Garrigues Hernández) was born on 12 February 1895 and ordained priest on 9 February 1919. He was already professor and vice-novice master in the friary of Valencia. The revolutionaries found him in his home town and he was killed on the night of 10 August 1936.
Buenaventura da Puzól (Julio Esteve Flors), born on 9 October 1897, he was ordained 26 March 1921. He was professor of philosophy. He was assassinated on 25 September 1936 near Gilet together with his father, a brother and other Catholics of the town. They all received sacramental absolution from Buenaventura.
Santiago de Rafelbuñol(Santiago Mestre Iborra) was born on 10 April 1909 and ordained 26 March 1932. He was professor of theology in the friary at Masamagrell. He was in hiding in his home town when he learned that twenty two person, including eight of his brothers, had been imprisoned on 26 September 1936. He presented himself to the revolutionary committee in the hope to offer himself in exchange for at least some of his brothers. The offer was rejected, and he was added to the group of prisoners. They were shot in the cemetery on the night of 28 September, just for being Catholics. In this group was also the deacon Enrique de Almazona (Enrique Garcia Beltran). He was born 16 March 1913. He was imprisoned on 4 August 1936 and after a calm, even joyful wait, he was killed on 16 August in a stone quarry neat Castellón.
Three non-cleric brothers were also among the martyrs. Fidel de Puzól (Mariano Climent Sanchis) was born on 8 January 1856, and was a venerable religious of eighty years of age and from the friary of Valencia. Brutally dragged from the house of family members, he was killed near Sagunto on 28 September 1936.
Berard de Lugar Nuevo de Fenollet (José Bleda Grau) was born 23 July 1867. Tailor and questor of the friary at Orihuela, he had a great devotion to the holy names of Jesus and Mary. Dragged from his sister’s house, he was assassinated with twelve other detainees in Puerto de Benigamin on 30 August 1936.
Pacífico de Valencia (Pedro Slacedo Puchades) was born 23 February 1874. He was in the friary of Masamagrell where for many years he had carried out the office of questor to the great edification of everyone. The militia took from the home of one of his brothers, a farmer in Castellar near Valencia. His body, showing signs of torture, was later found in an irrigation canal.
Inquiries about these martyrs began in the Archdiocesan Curia of Valencia on 17 December 1956 and were open with the Congregation of Rites on 8 July 1959.
On 11 March 2001 John Paul II beatified two hundred and three martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, including this group of Capuchin Friars and Nuns.