Pilar Caballero, granddaughter of Teresa Cejudo, who was beatified last Sunday with hundreds of other martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, said her grandmother was remembered most for her spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Caballero, one of 2,500 family members of the 498 martyrs beatified this past Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, recalled that her grandmother was a Salesian cooperator in Pozoblanco and mother of a 10 year-old daughter at the time of her death.
“This experience has been very emotional and intense for my entire family,” says Caballero, “because since the 1970s, when the Salesian school began to push the cause of the beatifications, at home we always said that perhaps someday we would be lucky enough to see my grandmother beatified.” Therefore, “it has been a tremendous joy to be here, with my mother who is still living, thank God, and her eleven children.”
Caballero said Blessed Teresa Cejudo was very active at the Salesian school in her town and “helped distribute food to poor families and taught children unable to attend school to read and write.” She was put in prison for over a month in Pozoblanco and was shot at the cemetery together with seventeen others. “She was very strong at that time,” Caballero continued. “She said goodbye to her only daughter, my mother, and she was shot last because that was what she requested. She asked not to have her eyes covered, she wanted to die looking at death in the face, which she did not fear, because she was dying for God. She encouraged her seventeen companions not to deny God or their faith.”
“My mother always told us about the visits to the prison during that month. She said she never imagined something so traumatic was going to happen. When they told her to say goodbye to her mother, she thought they were going to move her somewhere else. In fact, they told my mother they were going to move her. The only thing she said, being a small girl of course, was that she wanted to go with her,” Caballero said.
“What I have learned most from my mother is that she has never held a grudge. I’ve never once heard her say any such thing. She never complained about anything. She always said she had the misfortune of being orphaned at the age of 10 and of her mother being shot, but she never conveyed spitefulness to her eleven children nor did she ever speak about the war in a political sense.”
“I have to thank her for that for the rest of my life. She never conveyed anger or ill-will to us, being in a town so small as Pozoblanco, where the war was very hard,” Caballero said.