Las 14 mártires concepcionistas/The 14 Conceptionist Martyrs

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Atrocities against unarmed civilians

Submitted: November 06, 2018

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Submitted: November 06, 2018



Las catorce mártires concepcionistas/The Fourteen Conceptionist Martyrs

The Franciscan Conceptionist martyrs, 14 victims of communist hatred of Catholicism, Christianity and western values.

The religious persecution in the zone controlled by the Popular Front during the Spanish Civil War ("Red Terror") reaches its maximum cruelty against the weakest elements of what communists, socialists and anarchists considered the enemy. That's what they thought of the 14 Conceptionist nuns (Ordo Inmaculatae Conceptionis) even though they never picked up a weapon, or attacked anyone and their only work was charity and prayer.  They were persecuted, tortured and killed in the first months of the Civil War. Fourteen martyrs who are being martyred a second time, so to speak, for the City Council of Madrid wants to change the name of the street (Calle de las Mártires Concepcionistas, 28006 Madrid) that recalls the murders.

Although the number of laymen killed was much higher than that of religious, the death toll among the members of the Catholic Church is 6,832: 282 nuns, 13 bishops, 4,172 parish priests and priests of different rank, 2,364 monks and friars, among them 259 Claretians (formal name Congregation of Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary C.M.F., 226 Franciscans (they include the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Saint Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis O.F.M.), 204 Piarists (formal name The Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools Sch. P. S. P.), 176 Marists (Society of Mary or Marist Fathers F.M.S.), 165 Christian Brothers (formal name Congregation of Christian Brothers Fratres Scholarum Christianarum F.S.C.), 155 Augustinians (friars and Canons Regular), 132 Dominicans (formal name the Order of Preachers Ordo Praedicatorum O.P.) and 114 Jesuits (formal name the Society of Jesus Societas Iesu S.J.). The distribution of the victims was very unequal; in some dioceses under the control of the republic there were hardly any victims among the clergy, while in others, like Barbastro, up to 88% was killed. The degrees of cruelty towards the victims also varied greatly; while some were shot outright, others were tortured before dying.

At no time in the history of Europe, and possibly the world, has humanity witnessed such a passionate hatred against religion and everything associated with it.

The Catholic Church has always considered the religious killed during the conflict as martyrs for the faith (in odium fidei), except for the priests shot in the Basque Country because of their support for Basque nationalism; as of 2018 none of them has been beatified yet, under the argument that they did not die for being priests, but for being nationalists. Of the rest of the deceased religious, many have been beatified since the end of the war: 233 in the year 2001, and another 498 in 2007. This was the most numerous beatification ceremony carried out by the Church up to that time.

The crime against these 14 women, the Conceptionist Martyrs, was committed in three phases between July and November of 1936. The tortures and the fury of the milicianos (militiamen, irregular Republican cadres) that ended their lives makes clear the moral baseness that did not stop even before a paralyzed old woman who was in wheelchair, as was the case of Sr. Asunción Monedero.

The first ten Conceptionists murdered lived in their Order’s convent in las Rozas, Calle de las Mártires Concepcionistas, 12, 28231 Las Rozas, 28006 Madrid. Then local revolutionary committee seized the building and threw them all out in the street. A married couple, benefactors of the Order, took them in to their apartment on Calle de Francisco Silvela.  The milicianos found them owing to an informant---the portero of the building next door. From that moment on, they were threatened every day with death unless they renounced their faith.

Their threats ignored, the milicianos, mostly communists and anarquists, began to beat them during their daily visits to the apartment. As the beatings failed to have the desired effect, the torturing began.  During July and August, in the oppressive Madrid heat, they were denied water for two days.  In October and November they took their winter clothes away from them. Martyrdom occurred 8 November when the ten nuns were shot somewhere outside Madrid.  Their bodies have never been found.

Another two nuns from the same Order, who lived in El Convento de Nuestra Señor de los Ángeles (popularly known as the Convento del Cristo de El Pardo, Pista del Cristo de El Pardo nº 11, Distrito Fuencarral-El Pardo, El Pardo Madrid), formed the second group of Conceptionist Martyrs. On 21 July the building was seized and they took refuge with various neighbors until they were hunted down and thrown out of the municipio. Once in Madrid an elderly couple gave them refuge until finally six milicianos found them on 23 August. The two nuns were sent to a checá (en ruso: ????/Cheká, ?? = ???????a???? ????????, ChK - Chrezvycháinaya Komíssiya, 'Comisión Extraordinaria'/’Extraordinary Commission’---of which there were more than 226 in Madrid alone.  Apart from those which answered directly to the Government of the Republic—like those checás subordinate to the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid; Calle del General Díaz Porlier, 28006 Madrid; y el Palacio de Fomento, Ministerio de Agricultura, Paseo de la Castellana 67, 28071 Madrid---every political party under the Popular Front/Frente Popular umbrella sponsored its own.

The two nuns were shot in Vicálvaro two days later.

The fate of the elderly couple is unknown.

The third phase fell on the nuns who made up the Escalona community in Toledo. The sad situation was repeated: seizure of the convent, nuns expelled, sent to the Dirección General de Seguridad in Madrid where they were compelled to renounce their faith. To frighten the younger nuns, the older ones were separated from the group and sent to a checá.  They were tortured and finally shot late October 1936.

The 14 Conceptionist Martyrs murdered in Madrid by Communists, socialists, Soviet agents, and anarchists were the following:

Sor Clotilde Campos Urdiales (María del Pilar) born 6 June 1897 in Valdealcón, León, Castilla y León.

Sor Basilia Díaz Recio (María de Jesús) born 5 June 1889 en Moradillo del Castillo, Sargentes de la Lora, Burgos, Castilla y León.

Sor Narcisa García Villa (María Beatriz de Santa Teresa) born 18 March 1908 in Navas de los Caballeros, Gradafes, León, Castilla y León.

Sor Madre María Isabel Lacaba Andía (María Isabel de Carmel) born 3 noviembre 1882 en Borja, Campo de Borja, Zaragoza, Aragón.

Sor Asunción Monedero or Eustaquia Monedero (María de la Asunción) born 20 August 1864 in Anaya, Segovia, Castilla y León.

Sor Juana Josefa Ochotorena Arniz (María Juana de San Miguel) born 27 December 1870 in Arraiza, Comarca de Pamplona, Zabalza, Pamplona, Cuenca de Pamplona, Pamplona, Navarra.

Sor Asunción Pascual Nieto born 14 August 1887 in Villorobe, Uzquiza, Herramel, Burgos, Castilla y León now Villasur de Herreros, Montes de Oca, Burgos, Castilla y León.

Sor Petra Peirós Benito (María Petra Pilar de los desamparados) born 29 April 1863 in Pamplona (Iruña in Basque), Cuenca de Pamplona, Navarra.

Sor Manuela Prensa Cano (María del Santo Sacramento) born 25 June 1887 in El Toboso, Quintanar de la Orden, El Toboso, Mancha Alta de Toledo, Toledo, Castile-La Mancha.

Sor María de la Concepción Rodríguez Fernández (María Carmen de la Inmaculada Concepción) born 29 September 1895 en Puebla de Sanabria, Sanabria, Zamora, Castilla y León martyred 22 August 1936 en Vicálvaro, Madrid.

Sor Inés Rodriguez Fernández, (María Inés de Saint Joseph) born 2 November 1889 Puebla de Sanabria, Sanabria, Zamora, Castilla y León martyred 22 August 1936.

Sor María de la Nieves Rodríguez Higuera (María Guadalupe de la Asunción) born 5 August 1882 in Madrid.

Sor Balbina Rodríguez Higuera (María de San José) born 10 March 1886 in Madrid.

Sor María de San José Ytoiz born 3 March 1871 in Pamplona (Iruña in Basque), Cuenca de Pamplona, Navarra martyred October 1936.

© Copyright 2019 Ralph Monclar. All rights reserved.

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