Rome (Italy). September 6, 2021 marks the 85th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Blesseds Sr. Carmen Moreno Benitez and Sr. Amparo Carbonell Muñoz, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, which occured during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
At dawn on 6 September 1936, in the Barcelona hippodrome, the two FMAs were shot. A few days earlier, they had been arrested along with a third Sister, sick and just out of the hospital, who was released.
Sr. Carmen, 51, and Sister Amparo, 43, had the possibility of saving their lives. There was room for them on the Princess Giovanna, the Italian ship that on 7 August 1936, at the beginning of the civil war, sailed from Barcelona directed to the port of Genoa. Instead, they decided to stay with Sr. Carmen Xammar, who had just been operated on and was not in a condition to travel.
Sr. Sylwia Ciężkowska, engaged in the Postulation of the Causes of Saints for the FMA Institute, observes:
“It is difficult to know the details of decisions taken at times like this. They are heroic acts for which grace gives strength to adhere and faith supports to carry out. Natural predispositions and community relationships play a role. The office of Provincial Vicar, linked to the responsibility to protect the sisters, probably prompted Sr. Carmen to say her own ‘Yes’. Sr. Amparo, a generous woman and a ‘handy person’, must have felt called to help on the practical side by making her gifts available. Thus, she offers herself to stay, adding her sisterly ‘Yes’ to that of the superior. “
The key to understanding the generous self-giving of the proto-martyrs, who died together not far from their religious house, is fraternal charity. Sr. Carmen, with 28 years of religious life, and Sr. Amparo, with 13, in times of need knew how to combine the concrete need for service and the evangelical imitation of Jesus Christ in the gift of life for others. To support them in this attitude, in addition to faith, there was the good relational understanding between them, which made them strong and courageous in the trial lived and offered.
Sr. Carmen Moreno Benitez and Sr. Amparo Carbonell Muñoz were beatified by John Paul II with the other 231 Martyrs of Spain, on 11 March 2001. Giuseppe Calasanz Marqués and 31 companions, martyrs are part of the Salesian group.
In the Salesian Calendar, the liturgical Memory occurs on 22 September, while the Roman Martyrology remembers them on 1 September, the date of their arrest.
It is significant to remember the day of their Dies natalis to Heaven, which took place on 6 September 85 years ago, asking for their intercession for the situations of war and violence that afflict various peoples of the world in these times.
In addition to the intentions of the universal Church, local and personal ones can also be entrusted to the mediation of Sr. Carmen and Sr. Amparo, to promote their Cause of Canonization. A documented miracle can open the path for both to the glory of the Saints, officially approved by the Church.
Father of infinite tenderness, we thank you for having sustained
up to the supreme witness of faith and fraternal charity
Sr. Carmen Moreno and Sr. Amparo Carbonell,
who sacrificed their lives for love.
Grant us too that following their example,
we may respond generously to Your call
with coherent faith in the trials of life
and with the gift of ourselves with love and joy.
If it is Your will,
grant us through their intercession
the grace we ask of You ………….
Through Christ Your Son and our Lord,