Mother of Capuchin Poor Clare Martyrs (1853-1936)
During the religious persecution of the Church in Spain in 1936, the Capuchin Poor Clare sisters Mary of Jesus, Mary Veronica and Mary Felicity Masiá Ferragut, from the Monastery of Agullent; Elizabeth Calduch Rabira from the Monastery of Castellon, and Milagro Ortells Gimeno from the Monastery of Valencia, faithful to their religious consecration, offered their lives in witness to the faith, thereby joining the crown of martyrdom to that of virginity. They were beatiﬁed by St John Paul II in March 2001.
Maria Teresa Ferragud Roig was born 14 January 1853 in Algemesi, Spain. She married Vicente Silverio Masià, a man of deep faith and constant prayer, on 23 November 1872. They had nine children, three of whom became Capuchin Poor Clare Nuns (Maria Jesus, Maria Veronica, Maria Felicidad) and a fourth became a discalced Augustinian nun (Josefa de la Purificación). Maria Teresa went to Mass every day and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She promoted charitable works especially through the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, of which she was also president. At the outbreak of the civil war and the religious persecution that spread throughout Spain in 1930’s, Maria Teresa had her four daughter religious at home. These were discovered and their mother was imprisoned with them because she refused to leave them on their own. On 25 October 1936 they were all slain near Cruz Cubierta. Maria Teresa asked to be shot last so as to be able to encourage her daughters in their faithfulness to the Lord. They all cried, “Long live Christ the King!” and forgave their slayers.
Maria Jesus (Maria Vincenta Masià Ferragud) was born 12 January 1882.
Maria Veronica (Maria Joaquina Masià Ferragud) was born 15 June 1884.
Maria Felicidad Masià Ferragud was born 29 August 1890.
Josefa de la Purificación (Josefa Ramona Masià Ferragud) was born 10 June 1897.
Translation based on http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/93050 (06 July 2009)
From a homily of St. Augustine, Bishop
Whoever loses his life for my sake will ﬁnd it
“Whoever loves his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life for my sake will ﬁnd it.” These words of the Lord, like a trumpet sounding the gospel message, enﬂamed the martyrs with zeal for combat, and they were victorious because they trusted not in themselves but in the Lord. “Whoever loves his life will lose it” can be understood in two ways: if you love it, you will lose it; or: do not love it, lest you lose it. The ﬁrst way means: If you love it, lose it, therefore, if you love your life, lose it. Sow it here below, and you will reap its harvest in heaven. Unless the farmer loses the seed in the sowing, there will be nothing for him to love when harvest time comes. The other way of understanding these words means: Do not love your life, lest you lose it. Those who are afraid to die give the impression of loving their lives. If the martyrs had loved their lives in this way, they would, without any doubt, have lost them altogether. What would be the use of living this present life, only to lose the life that is to come? What good would it be to live life on earth and lose life in heaven? The martyrs, as we see, were in possession of their lives, but how could they be martyrs if they had possessed them for ever? And supposing they had preserved their lives, would they still be alive today? If by denying Christ they had preserved their lives in this world, would they not already have abandoned this life, and most certainly have lost their souls? But since they did not deny Christ they passed from this world to the Father. By confessing Christ, they sought Him, and by dying they found Him. So it was that the loss of their lives was a great gain: what they lost was straw compared to the crown they gained. I repeat: they deserved a crown and obtained life without end.
In addition, the Lord goes on to add words which actually come true, or rather, they came true for the martyrs: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Anyone who loses it, He says, “for my sake” this is the whole point. “Whoever loses his life” not just in any way at all but “for my sake”. This is the whole point. “Whoever loses his life”, not just in any way at all, or for any reason, but “for my sake”. Already, through the mouth of the prophet, the martyrs had said to the Lord: “For your sake we are daily consigned to death”, and this is why it is not the suffering that makes the martyr, but the cause for which he or she suffers. In the Lord’s passion, the cause distinguished three crosses: He was cruciﬁed between two thieves. From the viewpoint of the suffering involved, Christ was similar to the thieves, but if you ask the cross “Why was Christ cruciﬁed?” it will reply: “For you”. So, the martyrs too can say to Him: “We too have died for you”. He died for us and we died for Him. But He died for our beneﬁt, whereas when we die for Him it is not in order to give Him any favour. Therefore, in either case we are the beneﬁciaries: that which issues from Him ﬂows to us, and what we do for Him comes back to us. In fact, He is the one whom the soul refers to in the psalm: “You are my God; you have no need of my goods”. What else can “you have no need of my goods” mean, except “of your own gifts”? For how can the giver of all that is good be in need of any goods?
He gave us our birth so that we would exist; He gave us a soul so that we would be alive; He gave us intelligence by which to understand, and different foods to sustain our mortal life; He gave us light in the sky and fountains on the earth. But all these gifts are common to good and bad alike. If He has given all this to those who are bad, has He kept nothing special for those who are good? Yes, indeed He has. And what could it be? “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor man’s heart suspects”. No eye has seen it, because it has no colour; no ear has heard it, because it makes no sound; neither does the human heart suspect it, because it is not an earthly thought at all. Think of it this way: “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor does the human heart suspect what God has prepared for those who love Him”.
You may still ask me what all this means. Ask the one who has begun to live in you. You wish to know what special gift God has in store for those who are good, since He has already given so many good things to good and bad alike. When I say: “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor does the human heart suspect”, some people are bound to ask “And what do you think it is?” Here is what God has reserved specially for those who are good (even though He himself made them good) ‐ this is what the gift consists of: the prophet has already given us, in a few words, a description of what our prize will be: “I will be their God and they will be my people”. “I will be their God”: God has promised us Himself as our prize. Search, and see if you ﬁnd anything better. If you had said “He promised us gold”, you would have been happy. So how can you be sad, when He promises us Himself? Where is the rich man’s wealth, if he does not have God? Ask for nothing else from God, except God Himself. Love Him freely, and expect nothing from Him except Himself: Do not fear poverty, because He gives Himself and that is all we need. Let Him give Himself to us and we shall ask for nothing more. Listen to the apostle Philip, speaking in the gospel: “Lord, let us see the Father, and that will be enough for us”.
Why then, brothers and sisters, are you surprised that the martyrs, who loved God, endured so much in order to come to Him? Let the martyrs say to Christ: “For your sake we are daily consigned to death”, and let Christ reply to His martyrs: “If you die for my sake, you’ will ﬁnd yourselves and you will ﬁnd me”. Let us then celebrate the feasts of the martyrs by loving them and imitating them. Not by loving them in vain, but by loving them and striving to be like them. In this way we will draw comfort in our toil from the joys they now experience. If we love them faithfully, and not in vain, we will reign with them for ever.
you gave to Blessed María Jesús and her companions
the double crown of virginity and martyrdom.
Grant that through their intercession
we may preserve in genuine charity
and experience the power of the resurrection of Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one Go, for ever and ever. Amen.