Biography of Blessed Fr. Lucas of St. Joseph (Tristany), O.C.D.

Fr. Lucas of St. Joseph (José Tristany Pujol) was born on December 14, 1872. He was only six months old when his father died. It became such a hardship that his mother, Rosa, had to ask her older sons and daughter to live on their own. She took with her the two younger boys to live near a hermitage on the estate called Saint Justin.

They later moved to the town of Cardona where Rosa died shortly after.  Jose, as a child, was taken in by a neighboring farm family that hoped to eventually train him to be a sheep herder. This only lasted for a short time until his Uncle Antonio and Aunt Margarita brought José to their home in Tarragona after his older brother, Meliton, who became known as Ludovico of the Sacred Hearts, entered the Discalced Carmelite Order.

It was here that Jose spent his adolescent years and where he became interested in carpentry. He was frequently found helping at the local carpenter’s shop on Florencio Vives Street. As the boy grew older, his relatives thought he would marry. However the young man felt in his heart the vocation to be a priest. At fifteen years of age, he began his studies in Humanities at the seminary.

At age eighteen, Jose, along with his relatives, made a visit to the Carmelite Desert Monastery of Las Palmas—the same monastery where his brother had lived. He began his novitiate there in 1890 and made his first profession of vows the following year. He made his solemn vows in 1894 at the hands of his brother, Fr. Ludovico. After his ordination to the priesthood on May 27, 1899, Fr. Lucas was made superior and professor of Philosophy.

He became well known for his preaching and spiritual writings. His great intellectual capacity was coupled with a warm, generous heart that he placed at the service of God, the Order, and souls.

His conviction as a Carmelite friar inspired him to write these prophetic words in an article: “As long as God preserves my vocation, I will not lower my head in shame for anybody because I am a religious ... If we die for the truth, we will have triumphed.”

Fr. Lucas was sent to Mexico in 1902 where his apostolic work began in Mazatlan and Durango. His personality attracted many people and helped in the building up of the good name of the Carmelites. As a result, the bishop of Mazatlan requested more friars for ministry and handed over to them a parish in the city with Fr. Lucas being appointed its first pastor. However the situation was not as smooth in Durango, and both Frs. Pedro of St. Elijah and Lucas had difficulties making a Carmelite establishment in that city.

The issues that impeded them from establishing in the diocese were lifted upon the installation of a new bishop in Durango who granted them all the permissions necessary to minister to the people there and establish a monastery. It was soon after these negotiations that Fr. Lucas contracted typhoid that almost cost him his life were it not for the diligent care of a religious sister who was a nurse.

The religious persecution in Mexico brought the Discalced Carmelites to the Diocese of Tucson in the United States in 1912. The Catalonian Carmelites vigorously served twenty-two mission churches in the surrounding mining towns and camps. Bishop Henry Granjon, as a sign of his appreciation for the work done by the friars, assigned the newly-built Holy Family Church in the city of Tucson to the Carmelites and appointed Fr. Lucas as its first pastor in 1915.

He left the United States and returned to Barcelona when he was elected provincial of the Catalonian Province in 1924. A year later, Fr. Lucas was transferred to Rome to serve as general definitor. After completing his tenure there in 1933, he returned to Barcelona and served as prior. In 1936, he assumed the office of provincial and was stationed at the Carmelite monastery in Barcelona.

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