Blessed Oblate Martyrs of Spain
On 17th December 2011, Pope Benedict XVI beatified 22 Spanish Oblates and 1 Spanish layman who were martyred in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The anti-religious tensions in Franco's Spain saw the persecution of many priests and religious. The Oblate seminary in Pozuelo, near Madrid, became a target of this. On three separate occasions, the revolutionaries came to the seminary, took groups of young seminarians and shot them dead. They also killed some of their professors, the provincial of the Spanish Province and a layman working there.
"The genuine event was that these martyrs were killed as a community. The young men preparing for priesthood, were gathered before they were killed. They were a community. They were living together. They were exchanging their faith. They were preparing themselves for priesthood. They were preparing themselves to be Missionaries. They never became priests and they never became missionaries. But today they are witnesses. They are witnesses of genuine faith and of the Christian life. Giving faith for others; that is the nucleus of what we are aiming at as Oblates...So as we commemorate the young martyrs we think as well of the leadership of our Congregation today and the lay people associated with us, who are our partners in mission." - Fr Thomas Klosterkamp OMI
Blessed Oblate Martyrs of Laos
Over a period of 9 years from 1960 to 1969, six Oblates and one lay catechist were killed in Laos during the anti-religious Pathet Lao regime. Five French Oblates (Louis Leroy, Michel Coquelet, Vincent L'Hénoret, Jean Wauthier and Joseph Boissel) and one Italian Oblate (Mario Borzaga) were among eighteen martyrs killed during that time. Many of their deaths were mysterious and the facts of their disappearances were not known for a long time. Eventually, enough evidence was gathered to put forward their cause for canonization. The testimonies were that these men were targeted because they were Catholic priests and seen as Western spies by the Pathet Lao. Each of them died witnessing to their faith and their witness has made an impact on many Catholics in Laos and around the world. The martyrs were beatified by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo OMI on behalf of Pope Francis in Vientiane, Laos on 11 December, 2016.