24 July: Blessed Maria Pilar of Saint Francis Borgia Martínez García, Blessed Maria Sagrario of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Moragas Cantarero and Companions

July 24
Virgins and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

In one single memorial we remember our sisters who were martyred in the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939. Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on Dec. 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5,1990), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936, and beatified by Saint John Paul II on March 29, 1987. Maria Sagrario was born at Lillo (Toledo) on 8th January 1881. A pharmacist by trade, she was one of the first women in Spain to be admitted to this qualification. Through her spirit of prayer and her love for the Eucharist, she was a perfect embodiment of the contemplative and ecclesial ideal of the Teresian Carmel. She was martyred on 15th August 1936, a grace for which she had longed; she was beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1998.

Those who wish to celebrate two specific commemorations today may observe the optional memorial of the three Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara, and on August 16, Blessed Maria Sagrario.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

Strophe 30,7-8

From the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross

The flowers of virginity and martyrdom

“We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.”

This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses Him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands, all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together form a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The loving garlands can refer to what we call aureoles; these are also woven by Christ and the Church and are of three kinds:

The first kind is made from the beautiful flowers of all the virgins. Each virgin possesses her own aureole of virginity, and all these aureoles together will be joined into one and placed on the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The second aureole contains the resplendent flowers of the holy doctors. All these aureoles will be entwined into one and set upon the head of Christ over that of the virgins.

The third is fashioned from the crimson carnations of the martyrs. Every martyr has an aureole of martyrdom, and these red aureoles woven together will add the final touch to the aureole of Christ the Bridegroom.

So beautiful and fair will Christ the Bridegroom be with these three garlands when He is seen in heaven.

Therefore, we shall weave these garlands, the soul says, flowering in your love.

The flower of these works and virtues is the grace and power they possess from the love of God. Without love these works will not only fail to flower, but they will all wither and become valueless in God’s sight, even though they may be perfect from a human standpoint. Yet, because God bestows His grace and love, they are works that have blossomed in His love.

“And bound with one hair of mine.” This hair is her will and the love she has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task of the thread in a garland. As the thread binds the flowers together, so love fastens and sustains the virtues in the soul. As St. Paul remarks: “Charity is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).


R/. Even if you should have to suffer for justice’s sake, happy will you be.
Do not be afraid and do not stand in awe of them, but adore the Lord Christ in your hearts * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
V/. It is better, if God so wills it, to suffer and do good deeds than to do evil, * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.


Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. This life, I live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God who has loved me and given himself for me.


Father, strength of the humble,
you sustained in martyrdom the virgins
Blessed Maria Pilar, (Maria Sagrario) and companions.
As they willingly shed their blood for Christ the King,
may we, through their intercession,
be faithful to You and to your Church until death.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.


Canticle of Mary

Ant. What joy when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Spanish Civil War - Arrests at Guadarrama
A sad reminder of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War
Francoist troops taking away Republican militiamen from a mountain, probably to take them to a firing block, in Somosierra, during the Battle of Guadarrama, July-August 1936. These men most likely were farmers or workers.
Source: Cassowary Colorizations

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