Feast of the day

Saint Jaime Hilario Martyr (1898-1937)

1/18/2021 12:00:00 AM

Saint Jaime Hilario

        St. Jaime Hilario was a member of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. He was baptized Manuel Barbal Cosan on January 2, 1898 in Enviny, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Catalonia, northern Spain. Known for his serious nature, he was only twelve when he entered the minor seminary of the diocese of La Seu de Urgel with the blessing of his devout and hardworking parents. He soon developed an ear infection and he was forced to abandon his studies for the priesthood.

        In 1917, convinced that God was calling him, he joined the noviciate of the La Salle Brothers in Irún. He took the name Jaime Hilario. After sixteen years in various teaching assignments, his increasing deafness forced him to abandon teaching. He moved to Cambrils, near Tarragona and worked in the garden of the Order's training house.

        On the outbreak of the Spanish civil war on July 18, 1936, he took refuge in nearby Mollerosa on his way to visit his family. But he was arrested as a religious and jailed. In December, he was transferred to Tarragona for trial. He was held on board a prison ship with several other brothers. On January 15, 1937, he was given a summary trial. Though he could have been freed by claiming to be only a gardener, he insisted on his identity as a religious. He was condemned to death on no grounds beyond his religious status.

        He was shot in a wood known as the Mount of Olives next to Tarragona cemetery on January 18, 1937. His last words to his executioners were "My friends, to die for Christ is to reign." When two volleys failed to meet their mark, the soldiers dropped their rifles and fled in panic. The commander, shouting a furious oath, fired five shots to the temple and the victim fell at his feet.

        He was the first of 97 Christian Brothers killed in Catalonia during the Spanish civil war. He was beatified on April 29, 1990 and canonized on November 21, 1999 by Pope John Paul II.