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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 ENRIC CANADELL

BLESSED MARTYR ENRIC CANADELL

(1890-1936)

 

On July 18, 1936, Fr. Enric was in the Community of Nostra Senyora of the Pious Schools, on the Diputacion Street, Barcelona, Spain. He was Vice Rector of the house and the night 19-29, was one of the five who spent the night at school. It was around the

24 when he and the other four had to abandon the house, looking for some refuge in the friend families of the same street.

 

Fr. Enric remained only few days in the house that accepted him. He was afraid for the danger of the owners and he wanted to avoid anything. He left the house and went to Olot city, his native place, where he thought of taking refuge in the house of his sister Cecilia.

After he got a pass as a teacher of the State, he took the train going to Sant Joan de les Abadesses, from where he took a bus to Olot. During the trip he heard from some passengers that on arriving, all of them would be under a strict control, and that is the reason why he got out two stops before Olot and he went to a house of his relatives. These received him and helped him to recuperate the strength, but they were afraid of taking him at home, because they were going to be annoyed by the militiamen. They sent a messenger to his sister in order to receive him. She arrived in the afternoon, accompanied by her cousin, and walking through not so concurred streets, she took Fr. Enric to her house in Olot.

 

Fr. Canadell remained in the house of his sister until the same day he was arrested, occurred on August 17. There, he manifested a great piety spirit and an admirable strength of spirit. He spent the days praying, reading, and trying to be up to the day of the happenings. Every afternoon went to the room upstairs and prayed the rosary with his sister, the maid of the house and the ladies who lived in the third floor. In his conversations was always in good spirit, repeating frequently this sentence: “Only what the Lord wants, will happen”.

 

In spite of taking all the precautions, the house where he was, was an object of special attentions by the revolutionary committee of Olot, since besides Fr. Enric, two more priests have been of that family: the eldest brother. Msgr. Esteve, Dean of the Cathedral and Vice General of the Diocesis of Girona, and the Piarist Fr. Ramon, who had died just four months before.

 

On the night between August 17 and 18, after they had prayed the Rosary, when he was going to bed, a great tumult was heard, together with the noise of cars. Strong knocks at the door made them understand that the militiamen were looking for him. Her sister, following the advice of the ladies from the upper floor, tried to save him hiding him in a corner on the third floor. The militiamen, after a diligent searching, put down the door where Fr. Enric was.

 

He led him first to the first floor and there started to question him.

-         Who are you?, they asked him.

-         I am a teacher, Fr. Enric answered.

-         What are you doing here then? they continued.

-         I come every year for some vacations with the family, he answered them.

-         You must be something more than a teacher, the chief of the militiamen continued.

-         Fr. Enric, then, with serenity and firmness, knowing that his confession would mean a death penalty, answered: Yes, I don’t hide it. Besides a teacher, I am a Piarist Religious.

 

With this confession, the chief of the militiamen added: We don’t need any more. There are enough declarations. You must follow us and present yourself to the committee to declare.

 

He was taken out of the house. Before leaving, he gave his watch to his sister, who was crying, while he said: Goodbye. Until heaven, if we don’t see again. That same day, the sister remembered him saying several times: Don’t worry for what might happen. They could kill the body, but our soul will never kill it.  

 

The car went in a great speed towards Cadtellfollit de la Roca. During the trip, they asked the addresses of his two priest brothers, but he did not say anything. For that reason, they hit him many times with the butt-end of the rifle, in such a way that when they arrived to the place of the martyrdom, he was almost dead. After they passed Casgtellfollit, on the road to Oix, in a place called “Clot del Paretaire”, was gunned down.

 

The militiamen, wanting the bodies to disappear, spread them with gasoline and set them  afire. But since they only got the burning of the clothes, they ordered the farmers of the house Can Budancia to open a tomb and to bury in it the body of Fr. Canadell. This circumstance allowed to recuperate the body, after the war was finished, and he was buried with dignity in the familiar tomb, in the cemetery of Olot City.

 

Fr. Enric Canadell was born and grew in a deep Christian environment, in the City of Olot, on June 29, 1890. He was the youngest of a family of five, whose parents were Francesc and Margarida. From the family, besides Fr. Eric, the eldest Ramon was also a Piarist, while the other male brother became a secular priest, being the Dean of the Cathedral of Gerona city and Vice General of the Diocesis. His father, a mason official, a few days before dying, had called to his bed his children to say goodbye. Clutching a crucifix in his hands, after a few minutes of silence, he exhorted them to be good Christians and to obey their mother. The mother, educated in the school of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, was known by her piety and her strong spirit. Her Christian virtues were known, in a special way, after she became a widower, since she had to take care of feeding and educating the children. The eldest had 14 years and the youngest, Fr. Enric, only four.

 

At eight, he took part in the Parish choir, directed by a priest who taught him how to read music. The Parish Priest, watching him very diligent in the service of the altar, did not wait in naming him his altar boy, making some distinction among the others. By the testimony of the Vicar, we know that Enric was docile, obedient, of good spirit, that he fulfilled with much care the errands that were given to him and that he was very attentive during the religious functions. The same priest says also, that he never saw him fighting with his companions and he was never punished.

 

Being the altar boy of the Parish Priest, sometimes he could not attend classes. His schooling records were not too good. His mother, an energetic woman, stopped him being an altar boy and put him in the Piarist Schools. In this environment of silence and order, he made big progress. While he was advancing in the studies, he started to appreciate the Religious Life, made life in their teachers.

 

At 14, and with the permit of his mother, he asked to be admitted to the Postulancy, that at that time was in Moia City. In this way, he followed the step of his older brothers. The mother remained with the two daughters, without paying any attention to the critics because she had allowed to go the three male children, because they should had been the ones who had to help the family when she was a widower. He took the Piarist habit on October 22, 1905 and emitted the first Profession on August 18, 1907. Later on ,he studied Philosophy in Irache, Navarra Province, and Theology, in Terrasa city, Barcelona Province, where he emitted his solemn Pro9fession on June 29, 1912. He was ordained a priest in Lleida City, on December 20, 1913.

 

After his formation was finished,  he practiced his Piarist ministry in class as in pastoral activities in the schools of Mataro (1912- 1925), Balaguer (1925-1928), Barcelona (Nostra Senyora, 1928-1930 and 1932-19360 and Sant Antoni (1930-1932).

 

 He was happy when he was among his students. His brother Esteve, he left many news about him, says:

 

“I never heard that he had a complaint and that he would complain about the difficulties and sacrifies that carried his vocation of educating priest. I always saw him satisfied being a Piarist teacher and always with a good spirit in trying and cooperating for the prosperity to the school he was assigned. He was of temperate and peaceful character, but he did not lack energy, temper and authority to impose oneself and be respected by the students… I could also observe that his students appreciated and remembered him with affection”.

 

He was a man of deep piety, living in plenitude his consecration to God in fidelity to his religious promises and in the dedication to the sacred ministry, finding in the Eucharist the help for his interior life and for his apostolate. This his love for the Eucharist was manifested, in a special way, in the “Eucharistic Turns” he was in charge. He was proud of that, because they gave him the possibility of promoting the devotion to the Eucharist, and specially the frequent communion. Thanks to his zeal, the Mataro School  was excellent for the organization of the “Eucharistic Turns”. He himself confessed that it took from him a little work, but in compensation, he received many satisfactions.

 

“I am very happy because God, our Lord, might use this poor instrument so that the children love Him a little more”.

 

He was convinced, too, of the necessity of the permanent formation, which he considered essential for those who have the mission of teaching and taking care of the education of the youth. In a letter to his brother Esteve manifests his love for the studying and to try to update the knowledge:

 

“The free time, without leaving the daily stroll, I dedicate myself to oratory, after getting those works you recommended of Fr. Tivista and Fr. Das. I try to read good books of oratory, I review the Moral and Dogmatic Theology, dedicating to it long periods. I have got, too, a book of Patralogy and Patristic of Esteban Monegal, the one that is studied in the Barcelona Seminary. It cost me 3,50 pesetas. I have already covered myself a little and I like it very much. I went to Subirana Book Store and I bought an Ecclesiastical History, the same you sent for Fr. Ramon, that is to say, the one of Marx. I was lucky, was not? Everything because I have desires to form myself and be able to be useful in fulfilling better the mission of a priest and Piarist or teacher”.

 

To the school work, he knew how to dedicate himself to the preaching. He was a preacher of easy words, full of zeal. He preached in many places and he never refused his collaboration when he was asked. Among other things, he collaborated, with great interest, in the general mission of Barcelona, celebrated with the occasion with the XIX Century of the Redemption of the Humanity. With the Piarist Fr. Jeronimo Pujadas, he preached from the 11 to 19 of March, 1934, in Santa Madrona Parish, in the morning and in the afternoon, with much profit for the faithful. To preach, was not for him a work, but a necessity of his spirit and therefore it was not hard for him. His vice was good, manly, agreeable. In exposing the truths, he knew how to interest the people, and specially, he knew how to grasp their affection. He not tired. But agreeable for the faithful. His method was a simple one, instructive, practical, full of zeal and apostolic fervor. In a letter written to his sister, he affirms to feel like a missionary:

 

“Let us give thanks to God because He uses this poor instrument to make good to the souls, since this is my primordial aim, to sanctify myself doing good as much as I can”.

 

Fr. Canadell lived as a good Piarist Religious in the dedication to his work, in the fidelity to the Evangelical counsels, with the only aim of serving God and the souls.He foloowed with paqin the happenings of his cuntry, specially when he saw how the Treligion was attecked, but he never lsot the confidence on God and in his Providence, ready to give his own.

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