Among the five families Pope Benedict XVI has chosen as role models for the upcoming Sixth World Meeting of Families is the family of Maria Teresa Ferragud Roig, who suffered martyrdom along with her four daughters during the Spanish Civil War.
According to the AVAN news agency, Maria Teresa, who was born in Algemesi, was 83 years old when on October 25, 1936, the feast of Christ the King, she asked to accompany her four daughters, all cloistered nuns, to their executions. She also asked their captors to be executed last in order to encourage each one her daughters to die courageously for the faith. The five women died that day in Alzira (Valencia) and were beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, together with 229 other martyrs of the religious persecution of 1936.
Ramon Fita, an official from the diocesan commission for the causes of the saints, told the AVAN agency that the selection of the Ferragud family as a model of the Christian family by Benedict XVI is “a joy for our diocese and for the universal Church.”
The four daughters of Maria Teresa Ferragud had taken refuge at home once the Spanish Civil War broke out. Militants arrested the nuns, but the mother “wanted to follow them and not leave them abandoned,” telling the executors: ‘Wherever my daughters are going, I’m going too,’ Fita said.
Three of the nuns, Maria Jesus, Maria Felicidad and Maria Veronica were Poor Clares, while the fourth, Josefa, was a Discalced Augustinian.
The other four families selected to be role models for the World Meeting of Families include the Basilio and Emilia family, who lived in 4th century Turkey and had nine children, four of whom became saints; Senator Gordiano and his wife Silvia, the parents of Pope Gregory the Great, who lived in the 6th century; Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quaatrochi of the 20th century, the first married couple to be raised to the altar; and Blesseds Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin, who lived during the 19th century and were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.
The Sixth World Meeting of Families will be celebrated January 14-18 in Mexico City.