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11/12/2011

Dehonian memory

Dehonian Martyrs

In the encyclical prepared for the Great Jubilee 2000, The Advent of the third Millennium, Pope John Paul II introduced the idea of preserving the memory of Christians who died for their faith during the 20th Century. 

In our own century the martyrs have returned, many of them nameless, "unknown soldiers," as it were, of God's great cause. As far as possible, their witness should not be lost to the Church. (TM 37) 

In response to this appeal a commission was established at the Vatican which has gathered and catalogued the stories of more than twelve thousand Christians world wide who died for the faith during the 20th Century. It does not deal with the process of beatification or canonization, but recalls the accounts of Christians who were killed because they were Christian.

“The history of their murders is the story of their weakness and their defeat. Nevertheless these Christians in spite of their weaknesses displayed a special moral and spiritual strength of character: They did not renounce their faith, their convictions, their service to others, or the Church in order to save their lives or assure their survival.

In extreme weakness and at great risk they demonstrated tremendous strength. This is in reality the history of Christianity. On this Christians of the 21st century are called to reflect in order to emulate their strength of faith. Such a reflection will also force us to a clearer understanding of the history of the past century (Andrea Riccardi, Il secolo dei martiri, p. 12). 

The SCJ Family is a part of this reality. March 11, 2001, was the beatification of Fr. Juan Maria de la Cruz García Méndez, SCJ (1891-1936), a joyous occasion and one that should fill SCJs with gratitude. However, Fr. Méndez is not the only SCJ martyr of the XXth century. In the following chapters we will recount the stories of various dehonians who gave witness to the power of weakness in their Christianity. Thus, we try to respond to the invitation of our general superior, Fr. Virginio Bressanelli : 

"to draw up, as some Provinces have already done, a biographical memorial of those more outstanding figures amongst our brothers and sisters who can serve as models and encouragement for us in living out more sincerely the vocation and mission which is ours in the Church and world of our day (Prot. N. 286/2000)."

 

 

Download the Letter of the SCJ Memorial Day

Spain 1936

Blessed Juan María de la Cruz

Germany 1941…

Fr. Franz Loh

Austria 1942
Fr. Wampach
e P. Stoffels

Italy 1944…

Fr. Martino Capelli

Germany 1944…

Fr. Kristiaan Hubertus Muermans

Indonesia 1944-45…

11 Dutch SCJs

Cameroon 1959…

Fr. Musslin,
Fr. Héberlé
e Br. Sarron

Congo 1964…
28 SCJs Martyrs

Brazil 1975
Fr. Paulo Punt