Martyrdom of Fr. Eduardo

Fr. Eduardo, who was prior of the community in Tarragona at that time, was preaching a novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the Carmelite nuns in Tiana, for it was a custom at that monastery to begin the novena on the 16th. On the feast day of St. Elijah (July 20), Fr. Eduardo received news of the war and urged the nuns to be ready to leave the cloister.

By mid-morning, they saw their neighbouring church on fire and rapidly changed into civilian clothes and left the cloister safely. Outside, before they parted to take refuge at family homes, the nuns knelt for a blessing from Fr. Eduardo who told them that this could be their last meeting—“until we meet again in heaven.” Frs. Gabriel and Eduardo took refuge at the home of the Noruega family.

The fathers found a welcoming and loving home where they could feel protected. Perhaps such notion of safety and optimism made the priests less cautious and fearless of their surroundings. The priests would secretly go to the nuns to celebrate Mass for them until it became too dangerous. At 6 o’clock in the evening of July 25, as the priests and family were at home, they saw about thirty militia men running in formation past the house with more riding in privately-owned vehicles.

Some of them surrounded the Noruega’s house and entered through the door demanding to register and inspect the household. Mr. Noruega, realizing that the inspection might cost the lives of the priests, asked them what to do. Fr. Gabriel suggested that he tell them they were just friends of the family.

However Fr. Eduardo with great fervour and courage strongly disagreed and said that they should know who they were. As the militia interrogated the family and turned to the priests, these words were heard: “Yes sir! We are two Discalced Carmelite friars!” They seized them immediately and took them to headquarters. The friars were transferred to a large truck where a woman armed with a rifle directed them on board.

That was the last time they were seen. It is speculated that their bodies were buried in common graves perhaps near the town of Montcada. Fr. Eduardo died at the age of 39.

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