The Bishop of Ciudad Real in Spain has opened the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification of Ismael Molinero Novillo, also known as Ismael Tomelloso, a heroic soldier who offered his life for the faith during the Spanish Civil War.
The official opening took place at the bishop’s residence in Ciudad Real.
On May 5, the 70th anniversary of the death of Ismael, Bishop Antonio Algora celebrated a thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.
According to the vice postulator for the cause, Blas Camacho Zancada, Ismael de Tomelloso was born on May 1, 1917. His father was an ironsmith and he was one of 11 brothers and sisters. He was known for his cheerful and friendly nature, and he often recited poetry and directed theatrical plays. He had a profound spiritual life and prayed for many hours before the Blessed Sacrament. He studied with the Daughters of St. Paul, where he developed an intense devotion for the Miraculous Medal. In 1933, he joined the Catholic Action youth group in Tomelloso. The Spanish Civil War had a great impact on him because of the murder of his spiritual director and the burning of churches.
In 1937 the Republican Army recruited him and forced him to participate in the war, but during the battle of Teruel he decided to lay down his weapon, holding his miraculous medal as he awaited death. He was detained by National troops and sent to a concentration camp.
While imprisoned he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized in Zaragoza. There he established a profound friendship with the chaplain of the concentration camp. While captive, he hid his membership with Catholic Action so that he would not be given privileged treatment.
“I want nothing of this world. I belong to God and I live for God. If I die I will be totally God’s in heaven, and if I don’t die, I want to be a priest. We need saints!” he said from his hospital bed. He died on May 5, 1938, at the age of 21.