CAUSA Ovidius Bertrandus et IV Socii, necnon Joseph Maria Cánovas Martínez

The Cause concerns 6 “presumed Martyrs”: 5 De La Salle Brothers and 1 priest

At Lorca, a village in La Mancha, the Brothers of the Christian Schools ran the San José primary school. Five Brothers formed the community:

  1. Hno. Ovidio Bertrán (Esteban Anunciaby Letona) 44 years old
  2. Hno. Estanislao Victor (Augusto Cordero Fernández) 28 years old
  3. Hno. Hermenegildo Lorenzo (Modesto Sáez Manzanares) 33 years old
  4. Hno. Lorenzo Santiago (Emilio Martínez De La Pera y Alava) 23 years old
  5. Hno. Luciano Pablo (Germán García García) 33 years old                                     

On July 30, 1936, a group of people showed up at the San José School claiming to be “Workers of Education” and demanding that they had to leave the building in the name of the “Popular Front”. The Brothers realised they were dealing with militiamen from the C.N.T. (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) who invaded the house, searched everywhere for weapons and money (which they did not find) and ended up taking them in and arresting them, tying them together. Then they locked them up in the basement of the building where the C.N.T. was based.

On 1 August, they transferred the Brothers to a prison where other priests, religious and Catholics known for their faith were already imprisoned. They spent most of their time praying, praying the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross together, reading aloud a few pious books and even writing letters, most of which never reached their destination because the militia destroyed them.

On 30 September, judge Don Lino Martín Camicero decided to set them free because the charges against them did not constitute a crime. But on 2 October, a decree from the Lorca Popular Front Committee ordered the sentence to be ignored, because the prisoners were to be considered dangerous.

On Wednesday, 18 November 1936, a militia leader at 5am ordered the two priests and the five Brothers to be taken and tied up. They put them on a truck and told them they were being taken to another place for interrogation. Instead they took them to the outskirts of the village, to a hill where there was a sulphur mine. The leader ordered them to sit down, tied up as they were. A platoon of militiamen stood behind them and the leader ordered them to shoot. Then with his pistol he gave each one the coup de grace by shooting them in the head. They then cut the ropes and taking them by the feet dragged them to a sulphur pit where they threw them. “It is deep enough so that no one will notice they are here, and if the Catholics triumph they will not come here to venerate their remains,” said one of the militiamen. Today the well is known as “Pozo de los Mártires”.

Iter of the Cause
27/10/1958: Beginning of the Diocesan Process super martyrio.
18/03/1959: The diocesan documentation is sent to Roma.
29/05/1992: Decree of Validity of the Diocesan Process.
16/12/2006: Decree super martyrio.
28/10/2007: Beatification (together with others for a total of 498 Martyrs)
Liturgical memorial: November 6