Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 95 Spaniards who were killed for their Christian faith during Spain's civil war of 1936-1939. It opens the way for Vatican officials to eventually declare them worthy of being called saints. It was during the fractious civil war in Spain that 6,832 priests and religious were murdered, mostly by Spaniards siding with the Republic. Of these, thirteen were Catholic bishops. Thousands of others, civilians and military, were killed in the conflict in which Soviet Russia sided with communists fighting on the side of the Republic, while Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy provided air power, man power, and materiel to the ultimately victorious forces arrayed by Generalisimo Francisco Franco.
The martyrs are as follows:
- Servants of God Mauro (born Abel Angelo Palazuelos Maruri) and 17 Companions from the Order of St. Benedict, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.
- Servants of God Joan of Jesus (born Joan Vilaregut Ferre) and 3 Companions from the Order of Discalced Carmelites along with diocesan priest Pau Segala Sole, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.
- Servants of God Crisanto (born Casimiro Gonzalez Garcia), Aquilino (born Baldomer Baro Riera), Cipriano Jose (born Julian Iglesias Banuelos), and 63 Companions from the Marist Brothers of the Schools (Little Brothers of Mary), along with 2 laymen, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1939.
- Servants of God Aurelia (born Clementina Arambarri Fuente) and 3 Companions from the Servants of Mary, Ministers of the Sick, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.
In addition to opening up the canonization process for the Spanish martyrs, Pope Francis also recognized four founders of religious orders or associations worthy of the title of "venerable." They are the Portuguese Bishop Joao de Oliveira Matos Ferreira, 20th-century founder of a Catholic association; Italian Fr. Nicola Mazza, 19th-century founder of educational institutes for poor children; Italian Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa, the 18th-century founder of the monastic Order of the Most Holy Redeemer, also known as the Redemptoristine Nuns; and the Spanish Sister Teresa Toda Juncosa, the 19th-century founder of the Teresian Carmelite Sisters of Saint Joseph.
In October 2013, some 400 Christian martyrs of the Spanish Civil War will be beatified together at a ceremony to be held in Madrid.
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