Blesseds Carmen, Rosa and Magdalena FraderaThe scene opens in Spain during the Spanish Civil War of 1931-1939. A wide-scale persecution of Catholics, referred to as the Red Terror, ran rampant across the entire country. Individual clergymen and entire religious communities were executed by leftists, which included communists and anarchists. In the course of the Red Terror, the death toll of the clergy alone included 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarians, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 victims. This does not include the thousands of lay faithful who were also executed because of their faith. The terror has been called the "most extensive and violent persecution of Catholicism in Western History, in some way even more intense than that of the French Revolution."
As convents were closed, the religious were told to go to the homes of their parents or other family members. They were not allowed to continue to wear their habits, but were ordered to dress in secular clothes. In July of 1936, three religious Sisters of the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sisters Carmen (age 41), Rosa (age 36) and Magdalena (age 34) Fradera, who were also blood sisters, returned to the home of their parents in Gerona. For two months the Sisters continued to follow their religious life best that they could, following their practices of piety, praying the Little Office, continuing to make their meditations and doing spiritual reading, while helping with the tasks at home.
On September 25, 1936 a few armed militants came to the family home to finalize a “registration” of the family and to get a donation for "a contribution to the war." For the Sisters, this was their first warning. They knew what had been happening all over Spain, and they were not naive to think that they would be left alone. They knew it was only a matter of time before they would be “arrested” like so many others. They prayed, preparing themselves for what lay ahead.
Right before dawn on September 27, 1936, the militia, armed, surrounded the home stating that they had come looking for "those" in the name of the Committee of Gerona, to interrogate them. The Sisters’ parents and siblings argued with the militants to intercede for them, but their efforts were in vain. The three Sisters told their family: "If they came for us, we embrace it; we are willing to die for Christ." They got themselves ready "to present ourselves before God,” then added: "We go contentedly to give our blood for our God."
The Sisters said goodbye to their family. Surrounded by the militia, they were put into taxi, driven to a location in an oak forest, and there after many humiliations and brutalities, but defending and preserving their fidelity to God and consecrated virginity, the three were cruelly and viciously murdered.On Sunday, October 28, 2007, by mandate of the Pope Benedict XVI, the 498 Martyrs of 20th Century Spain were beatified, including three Religious Sisters of the Daughters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary from Gerona.Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary, pray for us.Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.Blessed Carmen, Rosa and Magdalena, pray for us.
Prayer to Martyrs
The following are photos of the Sisters attending the Beatification ceremony in Rome:
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