1936 – 1939
The Spanish Civil War was a military revolt against the government, it was an armed conflict between Nationalists and Loyalists. 500,000 people lost their lives; Christians and especially Catholic clergy were targeted, 6,832 of them were tortured and murdered.
Any practicing Catholics were subject to violence and death, holy places such as churches were often burnt to the ground. Knowing exactly what kind of danger they were in, the clergy decided to stay in their cities where they were most needed.
The torture didn’t end with death and burial. The people actually began going to the cemeteries to raid tombs, they dug up graves of saints, priests, and nuns in various Spanish cities. Crowds would gather around the exhibited corpses and they’d desecrate the remains; they’d laugh, jeer, and physically torture these people even in death.
Now, about Sister Josefina Sauleda Paulis of Barcelona. The militia found and arrested the 33 year old Sister; as she was being led away, she bravely stated, ” If you are going to kill me, why don’t you do it right here?”.
The Sister was lead away to a prison where she was interrogated for 12 hours. Her kidnappers had mistakenly believed Sister Josefina to be the Prioress of the monastery, and demanded she tell them where her Catholic sisters and their wealth had been hidden.
Though she was tortured, Sister Josefina refused to give her sisters up. When her captors realized this, they put a bullet in her head. After Sister Josefina was dead they displayed her corpse in the Hippodrome for all to see; it’s said that the woman was totally unrecognizableable, her face had been torn to shreds. A note had been left hanging from her neck which said she was Prioress of Mount Zion Monastery.
Eventually one of the men who had tortured the Sister, a lawyer and activist named Eduardo Barriobero, was caught. He wrote, “It is easier to commit a crime than forget about it. I will not forget the memory and remorse of the night when the nun Josefina Sauleda was slowly and cruelly tortured. I can see her, and hear her at down when she was about to expire, praying for Spain and for the ones that were killing her.”. In 1939, the same year the war ended, Eduardo was sentenced to death for his crime.
This war claimed the lives of 7000 clergymen and 3000 religious people. Josefina and 731 others are now martyrs.
*I wanted to cover this important piece of gruesome history without sparking a political debate. That is not my intent, not ever; we can’t get away from politics online, anyone who knows me will tell you that my groups/pages etc. as politic free zones. This article is purposely vague for that reason, and I chose to zero in on what happened with the Christians instead. There’s so much more to this story, and it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in this sort of thing.
Disclaimer, I do not own any images on this site. Only the words are my own.