A Martyr's Letter to His Girlfriend
Bartolomé Blanco Márquez was born in Cordoba in 1914. He was arrested as a Catholic leader -- he was the secretary of Catholic Action and a delegate to the Catholic Syndicates -- on Aug. 18, 1936. He was executed on Oct. 2, 1936, at age 21, while he cried out, "Long live Christ the King!"
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Provincial prison of Jaen, Oct. 1, 1936
My dearest Maruja:
Your memory will remain with me to the grave and, as long as the slightest throb stirs my heart, it will beat for love of you. God has deemed fit to sublimate these worldly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in him. Though in my final days, God is my light and what I long for, this does not mean that the recollection of the one dearest to me will not accompany me until the hour of my death.
I am assisted by many priests who -- what a sweet comfort -- pour out the treasures of grace into my soul, strengthening it. I look death in the eye and, believe my words, it does not daunt me or make me afraid.
My sentence before the court of mankind will be my soundest defense before God's court; in their effort to revile me, they have ennobled me; in trying to sentence me, they have absolved me, and by attempting to lose me, they have saved me. Do you see what I mean? Why, of course! Because in killing me, they grant me true life and in condemning me for always upholding the highest ideals of religion, country and family, they swing open before me the doors of heaven.
My body will be buried in a grave in this cemetery of Jaen; while I am left with only a few hours before that definitive repose, allow me to ask but one thing of you: that in memory of the love we shared, which at this moment is enhanced, that you would take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul. In that way, we will procure our reuniting in heaven for all eternity, where nothing will separate us.
Goodbye, until that moment, then, dearest Maruja! Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven, and try to be a model Christian woman, since, in the end, worldly goods and delights are of no avail if we do not manage to save our souls.
My thoughts of gratitude to all your family and, for you, all my love, sublimated in the hours of death. Do not forget me, my Maruja, and let my memory always remind you there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.
Be strong and make a new life; you are young and kind, and you will have God's help, which I will implore upon you from his kingdom. Goodbye, until eternity, then, when we shall continue to love each other for life everlasting.
[Translation by ZENIT]
Heroic WitnessLove letter from prison proof of martyrdom of Spanish youth
Madrid, Oct 29, 2007 / 10:38 am (CNA).- Bartolome Blanco Marquez is one of the youngest of the group of 498 martyrs beatified by Pope Benedict XVI this past Sunday at the Vatican. A committed Catholic, the 22 year-old layman wrote a moving letter to his girlfriend Maruja just hours before his death.Blessed Bartolome Blanco Marquez
"Your memory will go with me to the tomb, and as long as my heart is beating, it will beat with love for you," he told Maruja. "God has desired to exalt these earthly affections, ennobling them when we love each other in Him."
Therefore, although in my last days God is my light and my longing, this does not keep the memory of the person I most love from accompanying me until the hour of my death," he wrote in his letter.
Bartolome was born in Pozoblanco on November 25, 1914. Orphaned as a child, he was raised by his aunt and uncle and worked as a chair maker. He was an outstanding student at the Salesian school of Pozoblanco and also helped out as a catechist. At the age of 18 he was elected secretary of a youth division of Catholic Action in Pozoblanco.
He was imprisoned in that city on August 18, 1936, when he was on leave from military service. On September 24 he was moved to a prison in Jaen, where he was held with fifteen priests and other laymen. There he was judged, condemned to death and shot on October 2, 1936.
During his trial, Bartolome remained true to his faith and his religious convictions. He did not protest his death sentence and told the court that if he lived he would continue being an active Catholic.
The letters he wrote on the eve of his death to his family and to his girlfriend Maruja show his profound faith.
"May this be my last will: forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness; but indulgence, which I wish to be accompanied by doing them as much good as possible. Therefore, I ask you to avenge me with the vengeance of a Christian: returning much good to those that have tried to do me evil," he wrote to his relatives.
On the day of his execution he left his cell barefoot, in order to be more conformed to Christ. He kissed his handcuffs, surprising the guards that cuffed him. He refused to be shot from behind. "Whoever dies for Christ should do so facing forward and standing straight. Long live Christ the King!" he shouted as he fell to ground under a shower of bullets.