The Martyrs of our century beatified by Pope John Paul II.
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The Martyrs of our century beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Splendid figures of bishops, priests, religious and lay people

Pope John Paul II has canonized Saint Maximilian Kolbe and beatified 266 martyrs of our century. 218 of them were martyrs of religious persecution in Spain, caused by Communism between 1934 and 1939; 25 were martyrs of persecution in Mexico carried out by the local government in the 1920s and 1930s; 10 were witnesses of the faith during the Nazi-Socialist regime in Germany and Europe. The remaining eleven, belonging to various countries on every continent, died under different circumstances but with one common denominator: they were killed "in odium fidei", "in odium Ecclesiae" or due to suffering inflicted either in prison or in concentration camps. Among them there are also three very young women martyrs like Saint Blessed Antonia Mesina.

Like Jesus they died at the hands of their executors, they died for their people, forgiving and asking God to hasten the hour of reconciliation. We are sure that even in the hour of their own glorification these martyrs cried out with the voice of their innocent blood to ask that peace and reconciliation may soon be a joyful reality among all peoples. Here is the list following the chronological order of the beatifications. Besides the year of death, also indicated is the manner of death and in brackets the date of beatification and, when celebrated outside the Vatican, where it took place.

1. Maximilian Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv., Polish (+ Auschwitz 1945) [Canonized il 10. October 1982]. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI.

2. Titus Brandsma, O.C.D., Dutch (+ Dachau 1942), killed with an injection of carbolic acid, and then cremated. [3. November 1985].

3. Three Discalsed Carmelites of Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Spagna 1936), shot in the city streets . [29. March 1985].

4. Edith Stein, Discalsed Carmelite, German (+ Auschwitz 1942), in the gas chamber gas. [1. May 1987 in Kolne].

5. Rupert Mayer, S.J., German (+ Munich 1945), died as a result of suffering during years of prison in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and internment in the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal. [3. May. 1987 in Munich].

6. Karolina Kozka, Lay woman, Polish (Wal Ruda, Poland, 1914), killed by a Russian soldier at the age of 17, while defending her virginity, . [10. June 1987 in Tarnow].

7. Michal Kozal, auxiliary Bishop of Wroclaw (Poland), (+ Dachau), killed with an injection of carbolic acid [4 May 1987 in Warsaw].

8. Michel Callo, young French worker, (+ Mauthausen 1945), died in Guessen II concentration camp, totally consumed by hardship and forced labour [4. October 1987].

9. Pierina Morosini, lay woman, (+ Fiobbo di Albino, Bergamo, 1957), aged 26. She was attacked by a man who stoned her to death for refusing to comply with his evil desires. She was unconscious and died two days later in hospital. [4. October 1987].

10. Antonia Mesina, lay woman (+ Orgosolo, Nuoro 1935). At the age of 16, while gathering wood, she was killed by a prowler who tried to rape her. [4. October 1987).

11. Miguel Agustín Pro, S.J. (+ Mexico, 1927), shot without a trial; the execution took place in front of many people purposely convoked by the government [25 September 1988].

12. 26 Passionists di Daimiel (Spain), almost all young students, shot in different groups and in different places (+ 1936). [1 October 1989].

13. 2 Sisters e 5 Catechists (1 man e 4 women) from Thailand, (+ 1940), killed in different places during persecution of Christians, Catholics in particular [22 October 1989].

14. 8 Brothers of Christian Schools and 1 Passionist (+ Turon, Asturias, Spain, 1934), shot in Turon. [29.4.1990].

15. Mercedes Prat y Prat, of the Society of Saint Teresa (+ Barcelona, Spain), shot, but although mortally wounded she survived for some hours in extreme pain, her cry attracted the attention of the militia, who were passing the same spot, they shot her again. She bled to death. [ 29.4.1990].

16. Manuel Barbal Cosan, F.S.C. (+ Tarragona, Spain, 1937), when a first and second firing missed the target he was shot with a pistol by the commander of the execution squad [29. April 1990].

17. 71 St John of God Hospital Brothers (+ Spain 1936), mostly very young, shot in different places [25 October 1992].

18. 51 Claretians from Barbastro (+ Spain 1936), very young seminarians who were all shot with their superiors. [25 October 1992].

19. Cristobal Magallanes and 24 companions (22 priests e 3 lay men), Martyrs of Mexico (+ 1926-1937), shot in different places on different dates. [22. November 1992].

20. Maurice Tornay, Swiss Canon Regular of Great St Bernard Missionary in Tibet (+ 1949), killed by Lamistic monks. [16 May 1993].

21. Bishop Diego Ventaja of Almeria and Bishop Manuel Medina of Guadix, and 7 Brothers of Christian Schools (+ Almeria, Spain 1936), all shot in Almeria, on different dates. [10 October 1993].

22. Pedro Proveda Castroverde, Founder of the Teresiana Institute (+ Madrid, 1936), shot. [10 October 1993].

23. Victoria Diez and Bustos de Molina, of the Teresiana Institute (+ Cordoba, 1936), shot with some other people. [10 October 1993].

24. Isidore Bakanja, lay Catechist (+ Busira, Zaire, 1909), killed by torture inflicted for religious motives by the European Over-seer who hated Catholics [24 April 1994].

25. Peter To Rot, married, with children, lay catechist (+ Vunaiara, Papua New Guinea, 1945), killed by Japanese soldiers. [17.1.1995].

26. Anselmo Polanco, Bishop of Teruel and his Vicar General, Felipe Ripoll (+ Spain, 1939), shot together a few days before the end of the Spanish civil war [1 October 1995].

27. Pedro Ruiz de los Panos e 8 Diocesan Worker Priests (+ 1936, Spain), shot in different places on different dates. [1 October 1995].

28. Dioniso Pamplona and 12 Scolopi Religious (+ Spagna, 1936), shot in different places. [1 October 1995].

29. 3 Marist Brothers of Ciudad Real (+ Spain, 1936), shot on different dates. [1 October 1995].

30. 17 Sisters of Christian Doctrine of Mislata (+ Paterna, Valencia, Spain. 1936), shot together; some of them were over eighty years of age. [1 October 1995].

31. Vicente Vilar David, layman, married, industrial engineer (Manises, Valencia, Spain. 1937), shot in the street a few yards from his home. [1 October 1995].

32. Bernhard Lichtenberg, Prevost of Berlin (+ Planegg, Germany, 1943). He died while being taken to a concentration camp. [23 June 1996 in Berlin].

33. Karl Leisner, German priest (+ 1945), six years in Dachau Camp where he was secretly ordained, but celebrated only one Mass, before he fell gravely ill. The war was over when he died in hospital, on 12 August 1945, as a result of the terrible suffering physical and moral inflicted by the SS; suffering which he heroically accepted as a solemn witness of his Christian faith. [23 June 1996 in Berlin].

34. Otto Neurerer, Austrian, Parish Priest in Tyrol (+ Buchenwald, near Weimar, 1940). He died in an extermination camp after a long agony having been hanged upside down. [24. November 1996].

35. Jakob Gapp, Austrian, Marist (+ Berlin, 1943), shot. [24 November 1996].