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The beatification of 47 Marist Brothers martyrs in Spain

01/11/2007: General House

The preparations in Rome, in the General House, are finally concluded. The pilgrims have begun to arrive. The most punctual were those coming from far away: Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, USA, etc. The distances and the difficulties involved in travel needed great preparation in advance. Then the large group from Spain will arrive. It is though that there will be about a thousand people, counting the Brothers, family, co-workers and friends.

The pilgrims who visit the General House will see some new things as part of the event. In the first place, the facade of the house shows the Marist logo of the beatification surrounded by the faces of the 47 Marist Brothers martyred in Spain, on a massive panel that proclaims to the whole world the sanctity of the newly beatified. . In the vestibule of the house, the statue of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth welcomes the visitors beside Brothers Bernardo, Laurentino and Virgilio who are at the top of the lists of the causes for beatification. The main stairway giving access to the Council area has the words of Brother Diógenes who was Superior General when the newly beatified were martyred. They express the feelings that overwhelmed him at that time. The chapel of the superiors is a Marist reliquary where the altar used by Marcellin is preserved, as well as the original portrait made of him by Ravery a few hours after his death, the statue of our Good Mother and a finger of the right hand of Marcellin is kept in a gold reliquary. It will be possible to visit the Council room, where various Marist documents and childrens faces are exhibited which are present at the reflection, study and decisions of the General Council.

The corridor where the portraits of the Superior Generals are holds an exhibition highlighting five areas. The first one is the title, which brings together the content of the exhibition: The invitation of Jesus to take up his cross and follow him which has been taken up by 37.586 people who have made their religious profession as Marists from our origins until today.
The second is a tribute to the sanctity of the congregation which points out Marcellin, the martyrs and the confessors whose causes have been introduced.
The third shows some Brothers Martyrs grouped according to common characteristics. For example the Brothers who were in the infirmary in Les Avellanes together with those from Lleida who worked as male nurses when the school was turned into a hospital to receive the wounded coming from the battle front. Or the tribute to the mothers of all the martyrs, since two of the martyrs were brothers, there is another who said that he owed his vocation to his mothers prayers and a room where he wrote beautiful letters to his mother, etc.
The Marist Brothers Martyrs from Spain lived and died in community. This is the fourth area. Using the metaphor of team sport, eleven Brothers Martyrs highlight the virtues that they practiced in community. The master of novices and the director of the scholasticate, who also died, accompany them as trainers in the spiritual life. And finally, the fifth alludes to the Brothers who, with our Marist pedagogy fought on behalf of Christian education. The journey through the exhibition ends at the church where the names of the forty seven Brothers Martyrs form a crown around a great cross and the paschal candle.

These are the material preparations. Behind all of them is the joy of our brotherhood and our open heart so that everyone who visits the house may be happy and take part in the beautiful celebration of the beatification.

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