.- The vice postulator of the causes of Franciscan saints in Valencia, Spain, Father Benjamin Agullo, said this week the martyrdom of Brother Pascual Nadal, a Franciscan missionary who interrogated by Mao Tse Tung and beheaded during the Chinese civil war of 1935, is under consideration as a cause for canonization.
According to the AVAN news agency, Father Agullo said the investigation is taking place despite “the great difficulties we are encountering in collecting new oral and written testimonies in China” due to government opposition. He added that while it has been many years since the events took place, Brother Pascual continues to be revered in the region where he worked.
Brother Pascual Nadal Oltra was born in Pego, Spain in 1884. He entered the Franciscan order at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Gilet. After caring for his mother who had leprosy, Brother Pascual asked his superiors for permission to go to China to work at a home for lepers at Mosimien, where he arrived in 1930.
In May of 1935, his local superior allowed him to leave the leper home before the arrival of Communist soldiers loyal to Mao Tse Tung, who were fleeing from the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-Shek. Nevertheless, Brother Pascual and six other Franciscan religious decided to stay.
“If the Communists are my brothers, why should I flee from them? I love them also and, if they kill me, they will be doing me the greatest of services. I will be a martyr and will fly to heaven!” Brother Pascual said.
The Franciscans were brought before Mao Tse Tung, who interrogated them and freed everyone except Brother Pascual and Italian-born Brother Epifanio Pegoraro. On December 4, 1935, the two were decapitated by their Communist guards.