On Oct. 10, the worldwide Lasallian community celebrated the feast day of the Blessed Martyrs of Almeria.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the rebels ordered all enemies of the revolution to be arrested, which included all people of religious affiliation with the Catholic Church. Seven brothers, Brother Edmigio, Brother Amalio, Brother Valerio Bernardo, Brother Teodimirio Joaquin, Brother Evincio Ricardo, Brother Aurelio Maria, and Brother Jose Cecilio, were arrested at the St. Joseph College in Almeria. They were sentenced to a makeshift prison camp along with other prisoners.
Brother Amalio said of the punishment, “What happiness for us if we could shed our blood for the lofty ideal of Christian education. Let us double our fervor so to become worthy of such an honor.”
In a span of a little over a week, the brothers were executed one-by-one with a bullet to the head without trial under the crime of professing and teaching the Catholic Faith.
On Oct. 10, 1993, Pope John Paul II proclaimed all martyrs of Almeria blessed.
“When it comes to pain, I’m a coward. To make the ultimate sacrifice for their Catholic faith and Lasallian vocation, I am deeply humbled. They inspire me,” said Brother Raymond Bulliard, F.S.C., President/Principal of St. Paul’s School.
The De La Salle Christian Brothers of the St. Paul’s School community celebrated the feast day with a prayer service and thanks. They also read stories of the tragedy of the event.
The Christian Brothers of St. Paul’s are part of a worldwide organization based in Rome. The order was started by St. John Baptist De La Salle with humble beginnings in Reims, France. Today, there are 5,300 Brothers who are assisted by 77,000 lay-workers referred to as Lasallian Partners. Lasallian educational institutions are in over 80 countries with over 875,000 students in total. Through persecution and many struggles, the Lasallian vision of education has endured on for over three hundred years and will continue on for many more.