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Beatification process continues for three martyred Red Cross nurses

2012-12-18

Their names are Olga, 23, Pilar, 25, and Octavia, 41. All three were from Astorga, in Leon province. When the war began, they volunteered to help care for the wounded. While they were not the first volunteers killed in the war, they were the first executed because of their faith. The person leading the beatification process is hoping to present their case to the Vatican in the coming week.

FR. JOSE JAIME BROSEL GAVILA
Postulator

 "One of those direct witnesses says they hear how one of the guards asks, 'Where are the nuns?' The other answers, 'There, praying.? They could have fled, but they didn't. And they didn't because they wanted to remain next to the wounded soldiers, from both sides of the fighting. For them, there was no other option than the humanitarian one.”

Their biographers say that since they were young, all three were a prime example of service to others. They worked on the catechesis, collected clothing for the poor, and volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul societies to visit the sick. They say they were examples of the Christian commitment to society.

FR. JOSE JAIME BROSEL GAVILA
Postulator

 "There is a very clear motivation in faith for them. We have a letter written by Pilar Gullán to her family, it says, 'Each time I hear the bells for Mass, I run out the door.' They're simple phrases, but they show what their motivation was, in their personal lives.”

Their motivation led the three, young nurses, with their commitment and service to others, to the ultimate sacrifice, their deaths.

FR. JOSE JAIME BROSEL GAVILA
Postulator

 "We're not talking about the victims of the war, we're talking about the martyrs. People that died because of religious persecution. We're not addressing political parties, no political overtones. What we want to do is recognize the men and women that gave their life in situations  contrary to their faith.”

After getting raped, the three were killed. The next day, their bodies were thrown into a mass grave. Only after peace returned to the region, were they able to identify their bodies, and send them to the cathedral of St. John of Astorga, their hometown.


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