Blessed Martyrs of Turón (Asturias, Spain)

The martyrs of Turón were a group of eight De La Salle Christian Brothers  and a Passionist priest who were executed by revolutionaries in Spain  in October 1934. They were canonized in 1999 by Pope John Paul II.

Turón, a coal-mining town in the Asturias Province in Northwestern Spain, was the center of anti-government and anticlerical hostility in the years prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The Brothers’ school was an irritant to the radicals in charge of the town because of the religious influence it exerted on the young. The Brothers were known to defy the ban on teaching religion and they openly escorted their students to Sunday Mass.

In October 1934 following the calling of a general strike, the miners of Asturias began to arm and organize themselves, occupying several towns and setting up revolutionary committees. On Friday 5 October they occupied Turón, forcing their way into the school and arresting the Brothers there. Also present was a Passionist priest, who was visiting to hear confessions. He was also arrested.

Over the next few days they were tried by a revolutionary court and sentenced to death. On October 9 1934, in the middle of the night were marched out to the cemetery where they were summarily shot and were then buried in a common grave.

The nine martyrs of Turón were venerated on 7 September 1989, and beatified on 29 April 1990. They were canonized on 21 November 1999. Their memorial day is 9 October.

The nine are regarded by the Catholic church as Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War. Although their deaths occurred two years prior to the outbreak of the war, it was part and parcel of the communal violence that was a feature of the conflict, and the times before and after. Of the 6,000 religious killed during the Spanish Civil War about 1,000 have had their causes advanced for beatification, though the Martyrs of Turón are the first to be canonized.



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