May 5 – Vincent Soler and Companions

Priest and Martyr

Today we commemorate the death of seven Augustinians who suffered martyrdom during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. In every age and in every place, there have been men and women who have lived their Christian vocation to the full extent of shedding their blood for love.

There still are those who do so today. Their fidelity and courage, made possible only through the power of God’s grace, calls each of us to consider well the precious gift of faith – and its consequences.

 During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) many friars of the Order of Saint Augustine and of the Augustinian Recollects shed their blood for their fidelity to Christ and the Church. Between July 25 and August 15, 1936, seven Recollect religious from the Monastery of Motril in Granada, were executed, having decided to remain together in their city despite the dangers involved. Among them was Vincent Soler, former Prior General of the Recollects, five other priests and a 27 year-old brother who had entered the Order just two years earlier.

The six priests had given many years of service to the missions in the Philippines, Brazil and Venezuela. They were beatified by John Paul II on March 7, 1999. In his homily at the Mass that day the pope offered the reminder that “they did not die for some ideology, rather they gave their lives freely for Someone who had already died previously for them. Thus they returned to Christ the gift which they had received from him.”

The Order of Augustinian Recollects began as a contemplative movement within the Order in Spain in the 16th Century, and while it obtained its independence in the 20th Century, we continue to share very many elements of a common spirituality and centuries of common history. We also share the same Liturgical Calendar as a sign of our heritage and spiritual communion.