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THE ORDER OF THE PIOUS SCHOOLS THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

The Life Of St. Joseph Calasanz
Saints, Martys, & Venerables
Calasanzian Family

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BLESSED DAVID CARLOS MARANON

BLESSED MARTYR BRO. DAVID CARLOS MARANON

(1907-1936)

 

On July 23, 1936, arrived to Peralta de la Sal the radical group from Binefar town with the intention of setting fire to the School. Bro. David, together with the other Religious, novices and postulants went to the chapel of the Novitiate for receiving the absolution and preparing for the martyrdom.

 

“After finishing the prayers – one of the novices wrote – Bro. David, who was with us, went down to the entrance and looking through the hole of the key, he saw that in the plaza there were many children playing. He opened the door and asked them if they knew where those men were, those who had come in a truck, with arms, to set fire to the school. They told him that they had gone…”

 

Bro. David told the news to Fr. Rector and Community and they had a moment of tranquility. He immediately went to the kitchen to prepare supper. At 20:30 P.M., nevertheless, the Religious, together with novices and postulants, were forced to leave the school and they were put in Llari’s house. Bro. David arrived few minutes later, together with Fr. Rector, Fr.Dionisio Pamplona, guarded by armed men.

 

Inside Llari’s house, a religious and prayerful climate was kept, among an authentic martyrdom atmosphere. The Religious, three Fathers and two Brothers, were completely conscious that they were prisoners, especially after the shooting of Fr. Dionisio Pamplona. They were expecting to be killed any time. On the morning of July 28, people from another place arrived to Peralta with the intention of killing the Religious that were there. Bro. David and Fr. Manuel Segura were the chosen victims. The 25th., feast of St. James the Apostle, after they were strengthened with the Eucharist, having the spirit of giving testimony of their faith, they embraced  with affection Fr.Faustino Oteiza and Bro. Florentino Felipe. After that, they went to the car that was waiting at the door of Llari’s house. They went through the plaza before the school and were impressed seeing the images and the vestments of the church spread on the floor. The stature of St. Joseph Calasanz was torn down on the floor. He was very devout of the Founder of the Pious Schools, and that vision was for him a cause a great pain. In the same plaza, he received, too, the same as Fr. Manuel Segura, the slap of a young man, who had got into the car. He accepted it without saying anything of resentment. While leaving Peralta, where he had spent five happy years of his Religious Life, at the humble work in the kitchen and the vegetable orchard, he was giving thanks to the Lord because He had given him the grace of “doing something for Him”. In the martyrdom he saw, too, a new occasion of giving Him thanks.

 

According to the testimony of Fr. Hilario Fernandez, a novice during that year in Peralta, it seemed that Bro. David was not destined to die, since he was not a priest, and known as a hard and exemplary worker. That is why he was told that if he wanted to save his life, it was enough to take off his Religious Habit. This gesture would had been enough to repair his past “errors”. But Bro. David did not accept that proposition. Since for him it meant to renounce his own faith and his identity as Religious. He answered with simplicity that they could kill him.

 

And it happened like that. As soon as the car arrived to a place in the road going to Gabasa town, from where we can see Purroy de la Solana town, he was obliged to go out of the car, together with Fr. Manuel Segura. After that, they were led to a holly-oak place, about 50 meters from the road.

 

What happened during those moments, nobody knows for sure, except the shooting and the burning of the bodies. Some say that Bro. David knelt down and waited for the death in that position. One thing is sure: his face was looking to heaven and his arms were crossed upon his chest.

 

His body, the same as the body of Fr. Manuel Segura, was burned, after it was spread with gasoline several times. Of his remains, very few things were left: some ashes and some small pieces of his bones, now kept in the Piarist House of Peralta de la Sal. The sky was their only tomb, as the inscription in their small monument says, built in the place where they were killed.   

 

 

The biography of the Piarist Bro. David Carlos is very scarce in news, since he remained in the Order very few years, all of them spent in Peralta de la Sal. But his characteristic personal features of this humble Religious, have not been forgotten. The Lord led him through the humble road to the martyrdom glory. The main news about him is known thanks to his sister, a Piarist Sister, Sr. Paula Carlos.

 

His family had a good social position in Asarta, a small town in Navarra Province. They had 12 children and the house was filled with piety: Rosary every afternoon, led by the father. Prayers in the morning and at night. Prayers before meals. Going to Church frequently. Charity to the poor. A simple and full life.    

 

Bro. David was born on December 29, 1907. From his family he received many good examples to imitate and he made it with fruit. From childhood, he showed a special piety, manifested in the way he followed the catechism classes and becoming an altar boy. Among his meaningful gestures, we can find the act that he used to accompany to her house an old lady, after the religious practices at the church.           

 

His sister Paula remembers him as a playful and a little naughty boy, really pure, and “he always remained a child”. He did not like the school. He enjoyed the farming life, especially the watering of the farm. When he came back home from the fields, especially after watering the farm, he used to say to our mother: “Mother, soon I am going to bring you very nice lettuces…! Tomatoes are starting to get red…! This year, we are going to have delicious eating thistles...! There are already small peppers and onions!”.

 

After he grew up, he used to accompany his mother an eldest brother to the fields, and he worked with enthusiasm to improve the property of the house. During summer time, he used to get early in the morning to bring things home, and later on he remained in the fields watering the fields until late in the evening.  

When David became 17 years old, his sister Paula left the family and became a Religious Sister. Remembering her last goodbye in the family, she writes:

 

“During the last goodbye in our house, I saw him very sad. At last, he came to me and told me: ‘Why do you become a Religious? Whenever there is any revolution, the first thing they do is to kill the Religious Fathers and  Sisters”.

 

At 21 years old, he had to go to the military service. He was during three months in Huesca and later on he was sent to the Captain General in Zaragoza, as a helper of the Captain. The only occupation was to accompany a child to school and to carry out some errands. Since he had plenty of free time, he frequently went to visit his sister Paula, who during those years was at the School de las Delicias, in Zaragoza city. He exchanged with her news regarding the family and talked about his life at he military quarters. In this way, Paula learned that her brother used to share with his poor companions the money he received from the family. Frequently they prayed together the Rosary, walking through the garden or in the vegetable orchard, and before leaving the School, he used to go to the chapel to visit the Holy Sacrament.

 

“I, sometimes – Sister Paula remembers – when he said goodbye to me in Delicias, I asked myself, or better, I used to reflect myself: it is said that the family keeps you away a little from God, but to me it happens on the contrary. I am a short time with my brother David, and  I have more anxiety and  hungry of God…And… it is that he had… I don’t know what he had…something from God. And it seemed that he transmitted that to you and would lead you closer to Him…”   

 

The simplicity of his youth, with simple virtues, and not because of that less important, would prepare his soul to receive special graces from the Lord. First of all was his Religious Vocation. How happened in him the idea of becoming a Piarist Religious, is again narrated by his sister Paula, a confident of that special soldier:

 

“One day, he visited me in Delicias and told me: ‘Look, I am already 21 old  and still I have done nothing for God. Therefore, I have thought of becoming a Religious, and for me, to become a Redemptorist is the best. I like very much his austere spirit. (He knew different Congregations because we had the Parish priest in our house, and therefore, when somebody went for preaching or to give missions, always stayed at our house). For me, I would have desired him to become a Piarist, but I did not say anything, or better, I told him: ‘If it is your vocation, follow it”. After a short time, he came to visit me again  and told me with much simplicity everything that had happened to him. When he was walking through Zaragoza City, a Priest approached him asking alms. He put his hand in his pocket, put out a ten-cent coin and gave it to him. But the priest interrupted him: ’Won’t you like to become a Piarist?’ On hearing this, my whole body became cold and asked him: “How was the Priest cassock?’. ‘It was black’ he answered me. What an strange thing! – I told him - because the Piarist do not ask for alms. Thinking that it was a special grace form the Lord, I did not insist asking him any more, fearing that he would be proud of himself. Every time I was with him, I thought of asking him many questions about that, but the fear kept me away from asking any. The reality is that from that day, he did not think but becoming a Piarist, and the love he always had for our Holy Founder and the Pious Schools, makes me believe that the one who asked for the alms was not other one but the same St. Joseph Calasanz. Later on, whenever I heard him talk about our Holy Founder and the marvelous thing of the Pious Schools and each one of the members, I thought of hearing not  a lay Brother, but rather a learned person. Such was his fire, ardor and enthusiasm he put in his words that he left us with open mouths”.

 

The day arrived when David had to communicate his decision at home. His father embraced him and exclaimed: “What do you miss at home that you want to leave us? His answer was the same he expressed to his sister Paula: “I am already 21 years old and I have done nothing for God”. His mother did not like his departure. After his return from the military service, he had brought happiness at home.

 

Even feeling the weight of leaving the family and the property, Bro. David was happy facing the possibility of becoming a Religious. He was happy because above any other thing, he had the opportunity of “doing something for God”. His father accompanied him to the Estella Piarist School, Navarra Province, where Fr. Manuel Pazos met him with his open arms.

 

During the testing period in Estella, he was entrusted with the work at the vegetable orchard and he dedicated himself with the enthusiasm he had at home. When some people from his town told him: “Have you leave your house to make rich the Religious?“, he answered: “How foolish are those who do not see that the profit is for me and not for them!”.

 

After he finished his testing period, on April 9, 1931, he went to Peralta de la Sal; novitiate place, where he received the Piarist habit on June 4, of the same year. He had as Master of Novices Fr. Faustino Oteiza, who soon learned how to value the many virtues of the worker from Navarra Province, now a novice and cook of the Community. In his free time, he worked at the vegetable orchard, always clever and diligent. He did not have anything to learn.

 

His life passed in the simplicity and humility, with a very good conduct and a great prayer spirit. During his novitiate, he knew how to take advantage of the virtues offered by  two special religious as Fr. Faustino Oteiza and Fr.Manuel Segura. 

 

After the first Profession, made on June 12, 1932, he remained in Peralta de la Sal, as a cook and gardener. One of the first things he did was to avoid that persons from outside would enter the kitchen. He used to say: “This measure would oblige us to a stricter observance of silence and a better use of our time”.

 

As a Religious, he was completely happy.  He wrote to his sister Paula:

 

“I, every day that passes, am happier”.

 

And in another letter to his relatives

 

“…how happy I am in this house; therefore, do not feel sadness because of me, since if you would see my heart, sometimes it seems that goes out of his place, because of the happiness and satisfaction”.

 

“If I would summarize with his words – wrote Fr. Valentin Aisa – his ideal, illusion of living, the motor and stimulus of his works during the whole time he was in Peralta, I would say like this: “Let’s go, let’s be Saints!”.

 

He made his Solemn Profession on July 12, 1935. His short life in the Pious Schools, just a little more than 5 years, is worthy to be remembered, not only because of his martyrdom, but also because of his simplicity and exemplary life.

 

When the time arrived to be a witness of his faith and his Religious Life option, he did not lose his serenity: following the example of Fr. Segura, he knelt at the feet of Fr. Faustino Oteiza, who was his confessor, and he prepared himself for the martyrdom.

 

Without any doubt, while he was going down the stairs of Llori’s house and was going up to the car that would take him to his last trip on this earth, he was happy in dying for Christ, of “doing something for God”. His heart was like “going out of his place”, of happiness.

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