September 22 – Blessed Josefa de la Purificación Masià Ferragut

Blessed Josefa, the Augustinian nun whom we remember today, was one of a family of four daughters – all religious – who together with their aged mother, were martyred for the faith in 1936 during the civil strife in Spain. They were united not only by blood and by faith but also by their steadfast commitment to Christ and the Church even to the sacrifice of their lives.

 Blessed Josefa was born in Algemesí (Valencia), Spain on June 10, 1887. She made her profession in the monastery of the Discalced Augustinians of Benigánim on February 3, 1906, where she later served as prioress and mistress of novices. During the religious persecutions of the time, the Archdiocese of Valencia paid a great price in the lives of priests, men and women of Catholic Action of various ages, and several hundred religious from many religious institutes.

When finally forced to abandon her convent, Josefa, together with her sisters, Vicenta, Joaquina, and Maria Felicidad who were Capuchin Nuns, took refuge in the home of their eighty-three year old mother, Maria Teresa Farragut. Here all five sought to live an authentic monastic life of prayer, recollection and silence over a period of several months until they were taken to the prison of Fons Salutis, a former Cistercian Monastery which had been converted into a jail. They were executed on October 25, 1936.

On March 11, 2001 they were among 233 religious men and women, priests and lay persons whom Pope John Paul II beatified in Saint Peter’s Square. The remains of these five members of a single family are venerated in the parish church of Saint Pius X in Algemesí. 

The capacity to offer the supreme sacrifice of one’s life through martyrdom flows from the complete consecration of self in baptism and religious profession, when these are embraced with total dedication and sincerity. Josefa, her sisters and their mother, united not only by the bond of blood but also by their common witness to the faith in the face of persecution, give striking evidence of the depth of their conviction and their commitment to Christ.