Saturday, July 08, 2006

Maria Teresa Ferragud Roig and her daughters

During the height of the Spanish civil war, four nuns from the Masia-Ferragud family, sought refuge in the shelter of their mother, Maria Teresa Ferragud Roig, in Algemesi, Valencia. Maria Teresa, an elderly woman of 84, was a member of the Catholic Action and the widow of Silverio Masia. Of their nine children, five became nuns and their only son entered priesthood. Maria’s four daughters, who lived in different convents, continued to live according to the rules of the congregations in which they belonged, the Poor Clares and the Discalced Augustinians. Their mother, who raised them up as good Christians, joined them in their life of prayer and, together, they prepared themselves for their future martyrdom.
At that time, every prominent Catholic in Algemesi was killed by the anti-Catholic militia. However, the Masia-Ferragud sisters lived in safety in the shelter of their mother until they were betrayed by some neighbors. At four o’clock in the afternoon, on October 19, 1936, the militia came to arrest the four sisters. Maria Teresa did not want to leave her daughters, and so she followed them. The five women were imprisoned in Fons Salutis, formerly a convent of the Cistercian nuns. There, they remained peaceful and resigned to the will of God. Some of the militia men offered the four nuns freedom in exchange of marriage, but they refused.
At ten o’clock in the evening, October 25, the militia brought the four sisters on a car. Maria Teresa begged not to be separated from her daughters and joined them. The car went to the neighboring village of Alcira. During the trip, the five women prayed and encouraged each other. The women were taken to a place called “Cruz Abierto,” where they would be killed. The executioners wanted to kill the mother first, but she told the militia, “I want to know what you are going to do to my daughters, and if you are going to kill them, shoot them first with me being the last one.” Then she said to her daughters, “My daughters, be faithful to your celestial Husband and do not believe in the flatteries of these men.” She also told them, “My daughters, do not be afraid. Death is only a question of time.” One by one, her daughters were killed.
When the executioners came to her, they asked her, “Old woman, are you not afraid to die?” Maria Teresa told them, “All my life I wanted to do something for Jesus, and now I’m going to be left behind? Kill me for the same reason you killed my daughters. I am a Christian.” After killing her, the executioners said among themselves, “This is a true saint.”


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