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Father of 11 martyred during Spanish Civil War to be beatified

Pope Francis waves to the crowd during the weekly general audience on April 10, 2024 at St Peter's square in The Vatican.

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 04/14/24

Also the foundress of an order known as the Sisters of St. Zita will be canonized after a miracle was attributed to her intercession.

Pope Francis has authorized the recognition of the martyrdom of a priest and a layman killed “in hatred of the faith” in 1936 in the context of the Spanish War.

Father Gaetano Clausella Ballvé, born in 1863 in Sabadell, was chaplain to a retirement home. He was shot in the back by militiamen in the early hours of August 15, 1936, 10 days after his 73rd birthday.

Layman and father of 11, Antonio Tort Reixachs, born in Barcelona in 1895, was attacked by armed men for harboring religious in his home. On the night of December 3 to 4, 1936, his house was ransacked and sacred images destroyed. He was tortured in a convent converted into a prison, then shot dead near the Montcada cemetery.

An apostle of the Holy Spirit

The Pope also advanced the causes of two Italian nuns.

A miracle was recognized, attributed to Blessed Elena Guerra (1835-1914), founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Holy Spirit, known as the “Sisters of St. Zita,” paving the way for her canonization.

Beatified in 1959 by John XXIII, who called her “the apostle of the Holy Spirit,” this Italian woman entered religious life after attending a session of the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Finally, the heroic virtue of Servant of God Teresa Lanfranco (born Annunziata Addolorata) was recognized. Born in 1920, she helped found the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Leuca in 1941. A miracle is still required for the beatification of this nun, who sought to help preserve the unity of her community despite internal dissidence in the 1950s-60s. She died in 1989.

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