September 8th: S.G. Emmanuel Gonzalez; S.G. Joseph Sanchez and 2 Companions

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  • September 8th: S.G. Emmanuel Gonzalez; S.G. Joseph Sanchez and 2 Companions

Servant of God Emmanuel Gonzalez; Joseph Sanchez and 2 Companions

Born: Oct 17, 1889
Died: Sep 8, 1936

Born: Nov 10, 1891
Died: Sep 8, 1936

Fr Emmanuel Gonzalez Hernandez, Fr Joseph Sanchez Oliva, Bros Dominic Ibarlucea Oregui and Anthony Sanchiz Martinez were four Jesuits who lived in the Jesuit residence in Ciudad Real when the Spanish Civil War broke out in July 1936. But because their residence was a centre of intense apostolic work, the atheistic revolutionary party tried to silence the Jesuits by imprisoning them. Two of these Jesuits had been together as friends and students for most of their lives and had been staying in the same religious house.

Fr Gonzalez was by nature serious but patient and understanding, whereas Fr Sanchez was always cheerful with a ready smile and was filled with enthusiasm.

Thus they complemented each other very well and worked with great success with the younger Jesuit brothers and seminarians.

Fr Gonzalez was born at Banos de Montemayor, in the province of Cacares. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Granada on Dec 27, 1903 when he was fourteen. He remained in Granada for his studies in the humanities and philosophy. He then taught grammar at the Jesuit school at the Ciudad Real from 1913 to 1917 before doing his theology at Sarria, near Barcelona. He was ordained on July 26, 1920. He returned to Ciudad Real in 1924 to teach geography and history at the minor seminary. From 1925 to 1927 he was assistant to the novice master at Aranjuez before returning to Ciudad Real as spiritual director of young seminarians.

Fr Sanchez was born at Molina de Segura in Murcia province also fourteen when he entered the Granada novitiate on Dec 7, 1905. He left Granada in 1913 for Ona to study philosophy and taught at Ciudad Real in 1916. In 1920 he went to Sarria for theology and was ordained on July 30, 1922. After studies he spent two years in 1925 to 1927 at the minor seminary in Puerto de Santa Maria. In 1927 he moved to Ciudad Real to become rector of the Jesuit community and of the minor seminary in that city.

Bro Ibarlucea was born in Marquina in the province of Vizcaya on Oct 6, 1906 and entered the Society at Aranjuez on Jan 8, 1925.

Bro Sanchiz was born on Dec 13, 1906 in Villar de Canas in Cuenca province and entered the Society on July 2, 1926, also at Aranjuez.

When the Society was suppressed in Spain in 1932, the Jesuits abandoned their large residence at Ciudad Real and although some left the city, these four Jesuits moved into a small residence and quietly continued their apostolic work.

When civil war broke out on July 18, 1936, Fr Sanchez was giving a retreat to a group of sisters in the city and Fr Gonzalez was making his own retreat at Daimiel. Because of the turmoil dividing the nation, Fr Sanchez interrupted the retreat he was conducting on July 22 and returned to the residence, where both brothers were waiting.

On August 18 two policemen came to ask Fr Sanchez to accompany them to City Hall, where they questioned him on the whereabouts of Fr Gonzalez, what name he was using and where the arms were hidden. When Fr Sanchez could not give them any answers, the police, dissatisfied with his performance, placed him in the city jail and went to arrest the two brothers.

Fr Gonzalez sensed that the revolutionaries were looking for him and when he concluded his retreat he remained in Daimiel, changing his residence with friends every few days. He was however tracked down by the police on August 19 while counseling a young seminarian and was taken to Ciudad Real that night where he joined his three Jesuit brethren.

The two priests were brought before a tribunal of judges and were charged as belonging to the nationalist movement fighting the communists. To all the charges of conspiracy, Fr Sanchez merely replied that their apostolate was among the working class people and their task was to preach Christ and His gospel. Unsuccessful in implicating the two Jesuits, the judges turned to insults and ridicule and finally accused the priests of inciting the people against the government.

Fr Sanchez calmly responded: “Just take a look at the crime you are about to commit. I am not saying this just to save myself; no, my greatest desire is to die a martyr for Christ, but do not commit this sin. Nevertheless, I am happy that the workers for whom I have labored so long will now open the gates of heaven for me. Long live Christ the King!”

On September 5, Frs Gonzalez and Sanchez were taken from the city jail to the provincial prison, where they found the two brothers who were taken there earlier.

On September 7, Fr Gonzalez, Bro Ibarlucea and seven others were moved late at night. At about 1.30 in the morning they arrived by truck at the Las Casas cemetery, where they were lined up and shot one by one. The execution took forty-five minutes and not a single cry or murmur was heard from the victims. Their bodies were buried in a common grave the next morning. The next day, the scene was repeated, but this time eighteen prisoners were moved among whom were Fr Sanchez and Bro Sanchiz.

As they were leaving Fr Sanchez encouraged Bro Sanchiz, saying: “Come, let us go. Christ is calling us.”

When the truck arrived at the Carrion cemetery, it was the morning of September 9 and the moon was shining overhead. The victims were lined up and each shot one by one. All the bodies were recovered and it was discovered that Fr Gonzalez’ head had been severed and Fr Sanchez had a medal of our Lady and the crucifix, which he wore about his neck, between his lips.