Spanish girl killed resisting sexual assault could be raised to the altars


The Archdiocese of Burgos has spent the last year gathering information to promote the cause of beatification of Marta Obregon, a Spanish girl killed during a sexual assault in 1992.

That year on the night of January 21, the feast of St. Agnes, Marta was returning home from the Arlanza night club. Although her home was less than a quarter of mile from the club, she never arrived. She was kidnapped by Pedro Luis Gallego, who had been accused of various rapes and homicides.

According to the Spanish daily El Mundo, Gallego took her in his car a few miles outside Burgos where he tried to rape her in a field.  Marta did everything she could to resist the assault. The so-called “elevator rapist” beat her severely and stabbed her fourteen times in the chest. Her naked body was found near a highway.

Marta Obregón Rodríguez was born on March 1, 1969 in La Coruna in northern Spain.  She was the second of four attractive and energetic sisters.  Her mother is a supernumerary in the Opus Dei, but Marta decided to join the Neocatechumenal Way after leaving behind a rebellious adolescence.  She believed she found the love of her life in her boyfriend Francisco Javier Hernando.

“Marta attracted you like a magnet.  Whatever place she went to she immediately made friends. She triumphed wherever she went. Everyone wanted to be with her, talk to her and know about her,” Hernando recalled.

Marta studied journalism at the Compultense University of Madrid, where she lived at a house run by the Augustinian Missionaries. In 1990 she went to Taize in France, where every summer thousands of young people meet for prayer and fellowship.  While there she wrote to a friend: “God is the most important thing in my life, He is my love. Life is awesome, but it is shorter than we think.”

In December of 2006 her case was presented before the Presbyteral Council of Burgos, presided over by Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin.

Father Saturnino Lopez Santidrian said he was studying Marta’s case and that there could be reason to open her cause of beatification. He was named postulator for the diocesan phase of the process.

Archbishop Gil Hellin sent her cause to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and in April of last year the Vatican granted the “Nihil Obstat,” declaring that there is no obstacle to beginning her process.

In July of 2007, the archbishop of Burgos published a decree encouraging all priests, religious and faithful of the archdiocese to provide any information they have that could be useful in Marta’s cause of beatification.

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