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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Six Redemptorist martyrs beatified Oct. 13

More than 500 martyrs of the bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39) are being beatified today in Tarragona, Spain. And among them are the six Redemptorist martyrs of Cuenca: Fathers Javier Gorosterratzu Jaunarena, Ciriaco Olarte Pérez de Mendiguren, Miguel Goñi Áriz, Julián Pozo Ruiz de Samaniego, and Pedro Romero Espejo as well as Brother Victoriano Calvo Lozano.

Approximately 270,000 people died during the strife—from warfare, reprisals, disease, and starvation. About 6,850 of these died as a direct result of religious persecution.

Most were priests and religious; 13 were bishops. Amost 1,000 of the dead have already been canonised or beatified, and another 2,000 cases are in process, including those of 14 additional Redemptorists.

In July 1936, as signs of persecution increased in Cuenca, in central Spain, Father Pozo began to sense that martyrdom might be a possibility, saying, "We [the Redemptorists] don’t have martyrs; do you want to see that we will be the first martyrs?"

For the first 200 years of the Redemptorists’ history, no missionary had been killed and recognized by the Church as a martyr. 

Since 2001 the Church has recognized 11 such martyrs—in Ukraine, Slovakia, and Spain.

View a video (in Spanish) about the lives and witness of the six Redemptorist martyrs of Cuenca: