BLESSED ISIDRO TARSÁ GIRIBETS
He was born on February 3, 1866 in Fontanet (Lleida) and baptized the next day. He was given the name Isidro José Miguel. At the age of twenty, he entered the Institute of Carmelite Tertiaries of Education (Brothers) in Tarragona in February 1886. In 1888, upon making his religious profession, Isidro was assigned to Vendrell, where he exercised his teaching profession with total dedication and efficiency.
When the principal of the school died in 1894, Blessed Isidro assumed the leadership of the school. Since there were many migrants in El Vendrell, who could not attend classes during the daytime, he applied for and obtained authorization to open a free night class for adult workers who wanted to improve their training, the work that he did in collaboration with the local parish. In the year 1895 he was sent to Tarragona, where he continued his teaching work in the Tarragona school, being at the same time superior of the Congregation and director of the school. Here he gave the same impetus to the school in Tarragona that he had given to the school in El Vendrell. He worked there up until his death.
When the Civil War broke out in July 1936, Isidro was imprisoned on July 25th together with other religious brothers who were hiding in the family home of Brother Buenaventura Toldro. They were taken to Pilate prison – which was the residence of the military men – and from there transferred to the boat Río Segre, which was used as a prison and which was anchored in the port of Tarragona. There they suffered ill-treatment, living overcrowded for four months in one of the ship’s cellars. There they prayed together and were dedicated to giving comfort and encouragement to those prisoners who were most in need.
On November 10, the ship’s commander went down to the hold looking for the priests, and all who were tonsures. Although the brothers were not included on the list, after having confessed their sins and being of one mind, they appeared before the commander saying, “We are Carmelites.” They were immediately transferred to the ship’s deck as they prayed the psalm “Miserere.” All were shot, along with other religious, on the walls of Torredembarra Cemetery, while crying out, “Long Live Christ the King”. The bodies of the martyrs were buried in a mass grave in the same cemetery.
After the war, the Discalced Carmelites moved their remains, along with those of other Carmelites who had been shot, and who have also been beatified. The remains were placed in the choir of the church of Carmen in Tarragona, with the exception of Blessed Buenaventura Toldro, who at the express wish of his family, was buried in a niche of the Carmelite Brothers, near another niche guarding the remains of Father Francisco Palau y Quer, founder of the Institute.
BLESSED BONAVENTURA TOLDRO RODÓN
He was born in Pla de Cabra (Tarragona), today Pla de Santa Maria, on March 31, 1896, and was baptized on the day of his birth with the name of Buenaventura Andrés Raimundo. Towards summer’s end in 1907 Buenaventura entered the seminary of Tarragona. He remained in the seminary for eight years, but had to leave because of his delicate state of health. As he wanted at all costs to be a religious brother, he entered the Institute of Carmelite Tertiaries of Education in July 1915 together with Blessed Isidro Tarso Giribets, at the age of nineteen. On the first day of 1917 he made his religious profession, staying for a year in the general house of the Institute.
Buenaventura was later transferred to the school of Vendrell where he stayed until 1921. He then returned to Tarragona where he continued his work as a teacher. He was a man trusted by Brother Goatas – who was the dean of the Carmelite Tertiaries. He was man loyal and faithful to the Institute, as evidenced by the fact that at only twenty-eight years of age, he was given charge of caring for the heritage of the Institute.
Buenaventura was in Tarragona when the Civil War broke out and on July 21, along with three other companions of his Congregation, he took refuge in the house of his parents had in the street of Our Lady of the Cloister. On the 25th an FAI platoon came looking for a brother of his who was a priest, and when the four brothers admitted that they were religious, they were arrested. As he said goodbye to his mother, he said:
“Mother, may all this be for love of our Lord. If we no longer see each other, we’ll see each other in heaven.” Like the rest of his comrades, he was imprisoned for four months on the prison boat Rio Segre, and he was also shot the same day next to the walls of the Torredembarra cemetery.
He is currently buried in the Monte Carmelo church next to the sarcophagus containing the remains of Blessed Francisco Palau, founder of the Institute.
BLESSED JULIO ALAMEDA CAMARERO
He was born in Castroceniza (Burgos) on May 28, 1911, the son of farming parents, and baptized two days later. On June 30, 1923 Julio received the Sacrament of Confirmation and three years later, he entered the novitiate of Tarragona in April 1926. He was accompanied by the parish priest of Covarrubias on this occasion. He made his religious profession in 1928. He exercised his apostolic ministry in Tarragona.
On July 21, 1936, Julio together with the other members of his community – except the Superior General Cosme Ocerín, who was very ill – took refuge in the house of Brother Buenaventura’s parents. They were arrested on July 25th, as recounted above, and imprisoned on the prison ship Río Segre. From there he left to be shot. During his incarceration, he felt special comfort and strength in the praying of the Holy Rosary daily.
When the ship’s commander went down to the ship’s cellar looking for those who were tonsured, Julio, although he could have been freed, said, “I am religious before God and before men.” Although this confession confirmed his death sentence, one of the military men, who was a friend of the Carmelites, managed not to include them in the list of those who were to be shot. When the four religious brothers realized that they were not included on that list, with one accord they said: “We are Carmelites.” And so they were included. Blessed Julio Alameda Camarero was sentenced to death along with his religious brothers and twenty other people, and shot against the walls of the Torredembarra cemetery. He is currently buried in the choir of the Church of Carmen in Tarragona.
BLESSED LUIS DOMINGO OLIVA
He was a native of Reus (Tarragona), where he was born on January 11, 1892, being the son of two farmworkers advanced in age. When he was baptized, the names of Luís Salvador Antonio were given him. In 1906, at the age of fourteen, Luis became a postulant at the Carmelite Tertiary Institute of Education. He reached the post of assistant professor in 1910 at just eighteen years of age.
Luis participated as a delegate in the General Chapter of Tarragona held on September 25, 1920, which means that his religious profession was carried out before 1910, since the Constitutions of the Institute required a minimum of ten years to be a member of the Chapter.
He remained in the school of Tarragona except for a short period of time spent in Vendrell. He stood out for his efficient teaching methods, for his austerity of life and for the good relations he maintained with the Discalced Carmelite Friars.
Luis was forty-four years old when he was arrested along with his companions and imprisoned for four months on the ship Río Segre, from which he left to be shot on September 11 against the Torredembarra Cemetery walls. On November 14, 1941, his remains were transferred to the church of the Discalced Carmelites of Tarragona, where they remain.
The Religious Institute to which these four blessed martyrs belonged no longer exists. The last Carmelite Tertiary of Education was Brother Francisco Navarro Bonilla, survivor of the 1936 massacre. Although he was not killed, he was imprisoned and tortured. He was eventually released through the intercession of his Godparents by religious profession. His serious injuries caused him to be admitted to the Hospital of San Pablo and Santa Tecla until the end of 1939. After the war ended and his health restored, he made every effort to rebuild the Institute, but everything proved useless due to “certain ecclesiastical interests”. In 1945, Brother Francis claimed the rights of his Institute before the Archbishop of Tarragona and even before the Holy See, but without success. He only obtained the right to be able to move the mortal remains of Blessed Francisco Palau – founder of the Institute – from the cemetery to the mother house of the Teresian Carmelite Missionaries, also founded by Father Palau.
At the age of sixty-two and worn out by such struggles, Brother Francis entered the Discalced Carmelites, where he professed perpetual vows as a Carmelite Friar on February 8, 1954. He died January 26, 1959 in Barcelona.