.- The Colombian daily El Tiempo reports that the Order of the Hospital of St. John hopes to publish the memoirs of Brother Marcos Vergara, a Colombian religious who escaped death during the Spanish Civil War.
According to El Tiempo, the order sent eight Colombian religious “to continue their religious formation and help the sick” in Spain. “In 1936 anti-Catholic militias of the Spanish Civil War, during the government of Manuel Azana, trapped Brother Marcos Vergara. Knowing that they were going to kill him, he came up with an idea and gave a pen he had in his shirt to his captor,” the newspaper recounted. “Moved by the gesture, the soldier let him escape and kept the fancy pen for himself.”
Brother Vergara “began to flee and upon returning to Colombia, he learned that his seven companions, who were between the ages of 23 and 29, had been massacred in the name of Christ.”
“He did not fall with them because he was in another city, in Malaga, working with victims of the Christian persecution. The others were carrying out their labors in the Ciempozuelos Mental Hospital, near Madrid, where they were finally surrounded,” the newspaper reported.
“As a survivor of a war that left more than 7,000 bishops, priests and religious dead, years later he became the head of his community and the director of the San Rafael Clinic. He died 19 years ago and his testimony—until now unknown—has reappeared in a book that Brother Clemente Lopez of the same order is seeking to publish,” the story notes.
The other seven brothers, in addition to dozens of sisters from the same order, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in October of 1992.