Priest who survived execution attempt during Spanish Civil War dies

.- Father Eugenio Laguarda, known as "the resurrected priest" for having survived an attempted execution during the religious persecution in Spain, died this week at the age of 94 in Valencia, where he was laid to rest.

According to the AVAN news agency, Father Eugenio Laguarda died at his home in Bonrepos, where he had been residing after "retiring from all activities" and after working for 28 years as a pastor in the town of Villar and as chaplain at the Arau de Vilalona Hospital.

Father Laguarda was known as "the resurrected priest" for having survived torture and a gunshot wound to the head during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1936, while traveling to Valencia disguised as a mechanic, he was detained after identifying himself as a priest.

According to the Archdiocese of Valencia’s newspaper Paraula, the witnesses present at his torture and interrogation said that Father Laguarda was repeated knocked to the ground and "when he could no longer stand, they fired at his head and used a stethoscope to assure that he was dead, and then they threw his body into a ravine."

In an interview granted by Father Laguarda in 1999, he told how "the bullet entered under the left eye and became lodged in a lung, where it remained for many years until it was removed."

During the torture, "I commended myself to the Virgin Mary and I prayed to her out loud," he said.

When his torturers abandoned him, he "rose up on his own" and climbed back up to the road, where he was picked up by a bus.

Paraula reported that those responsible for the crime were condemned to death, but the sentence was abolished after Laguarda sent a letter to the judge asking for their life to be spared.

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July 29, 2014

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