Today’s Saint of the Day is St. Jaime Hilario Barbal, born Manuel Barbal Cosan, a martyr from Spain who was a religious brother.
Manuel Barbal was born on January 2, 1898, in Enviny in northern Spain. With the consent of his pious and diligent parents, he attended the minor seminary of the diocese of Urgel at the age of 12. He experienced hearing issues and was sent home. Convinced that the Almighty was calling him, he was thrilled in 1917 to be accepted into the Brothers’ novitiate at Irun, Spain. Later, his hearing troubles caused him to leave the classroom after sixteen years of teaching to work as a gardener for San José house of formation in Tarragona.
In July 1936, he was traveling to Enviny to see his relatives when the civil war began. As a brother, Manuel Barbal was arrested and imprisoned. In December, he was sent to Tarragona and put aboard a prison ship alongside his siblings. In 1937, he was tried in absentia. He might have escaped by pretending to be a gardener, but he insisted on being a religious person, thereby sealing his fate. On January 18, he was taken to the Mount of Olives for execution. “To die for Christ, my young friends, is to live.” When two volleys missed their target, the troops panicked and dropped their weapons. The commander, yelling an obscenity, fired five close-range rounds, and Jaime Hilario fell at his feet.
- The beatification process began in Tarragona in 1944 and ended in 1945, with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints validating it decades later on June 7, 1985, in Rome.
- He taught for more than two decades at the schools he ran until he got caught up in the chaos of the Spanish Civil War and was killed by soldiers from the Second Spanish Republic.
- In 1999, Pope John Paul II made him a saint. He became a saint after his beatification was confirmed on April 29, 1990, and a miracle attributed to him was also confirmed.
- He taught Latin and believed that everyone should be able to go to school, with a special focus on the poor, until 1933, when he was offered a lot of teaching positions and was known as an exceptional teacher and catechist.
- When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he was the first of 97 brothers of his order to be slain in Catalonia.