Blessed Fidel de Puzól

Capuchin martyr (1856-1936)

BLESSED FIDEL DE PUZÓLMariano Climent Sanchís was born in Puzól in the diocese of Valencia, on 8 January 1856. He grew up within a devout family. His parents were Mariano Climent and Mariana Sanchís.  He was orphaned while quite young and was entrusted to his mother’s sister, Josefa Sanchís, who gave him a Christian education. He did military service, participating in the Third Carlist War (1872-1876). When the war ended, he entered the Capuchins, and received the habit as a lay friar. He took temporary vows on 14 June 1881 and final vows 17 June 1884.

The Franciscan figure of Br. Fidel evokes that of the holy Capuchin brothers. Having entered the Order at later age, their vocation is not the result of youthful impulse. Tireless workers, they have committed themselves over many years as porters, questors, gardeners, sacristans, cooks – works which all require a robust physical makeup. Then they were men of faith, profound prayer, devoted to Our Lady, obedient and submissive in everything, silent, penitent, austere … During his religious life Br. Fidel served in the friaries of Barcelona, Totana, Orihuela, Massamagrell and Valencia. He worked as porter, cook, assistant in the Seraphic Seminary and socium of the minister provincial. Here is a small portrait from how his confreres remember him. “He had a quite and meek temperament. Nothing ever disturbed him, and he was always smiling. He was held in great esteem and enjoyed a good reputation both among his confreres and among the faithful. He fulfilled his duties in the best possible way, as well as the Rule and Constitutions. He was totally a man of God.  He was always applied to prayer. He always had the rosary in his hand and was very devoted to the Virgin. He had a holy reputation.”

When the friary was closed in Valencia Br. Fidel sought refuge at Puzól in the home of some relatives. He never left the house, given his advanced age of eighty two years and that his eyesight was rather poor. There he stayed, serene, busy at prayer. In the evening of 27 September some members of the local Committee arrested him, with the pretext of taking him to the sanatorium of “Hermanitas de los Pobres” in Sagunto. Instead they took him along the main road of Barcelona as far as the municipal district of Sagunto.  They entered “Laval de Jesús” farm and he was killed there. A resident on the farm found the body at the entrance of the farm. It had been there two days without burial. It was discovered to be the body of Br. Fidel. He was buried in the cemetery of Sagunto together with others and it has not been possible to identify his remains.

Translation based on  (6 May 2009)