+ María was born in Alzira, Spain, Single throughout her life, she was a dedicated lay person in the archdiocese of Valencia.
+ Serving as a tutor and an active member of Catholic Action, she was devoted to teaching young people of the working classes and to caring for the sick.
+ María was among those faith-filled Catholics—bishops, priests, religious, and laity—who were murdered during the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War.
+ Blessed María Purificación was executed along a highway near Corbera, Spain, on September 22, 1936. She was beatified with other martyrs in 2001.
For prayer and reflection
“Dear brothers and sisters, on various occasions I have recalled the need to preserve the memory of the martyrs. Their witness must not be forgotten. They are the most eloquent proof of the truth of the faith, which can give a human face even to the most violent death and show its beauty even in the midst of atrocious sufferings. The particular Churches must do everything possible not to forget those who suffered martyrdom.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed María Purificación and other Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
On this day, we also remember a group of martyrs honored as “Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion.” While traveling to Gaul to suppress an uprising there, the Christian soldiers were ordered to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods for the success of their mission. Refusing to obey, the Christian soldiers were massacred by their fellow soldiers in 286. Devotion to Saint Maurice and his soldier-companions dates back to the fourth century and their supposed relics are enshrined in various places in Europe. Saint Maurice is honored as the patron saint of the Swiss Guard and the United States Army Infantry, as well as being celebrated as one of the patrons of Austria and Sardinia.
O God, who gladden us today with the annual commemoration of blessed María Purificación, graciously grant that we may be helped by her merits, just as our lives are lit up by the splendor of her example of chastity and fortitude. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Virgin Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.