Blessed Eduardo of Child Jesus (Farre)
April 3, 1897 Torms, Lerida, Spain-July 25, 1936 Montcada, Spain
Parish priest of Santa Cruz Parish and Holy Family Parish Tucson, AZ, USA
Fr. Eduardo of the Child Jesus (Eduardo Farre Masip y Soler) was born April 20, 1897, in Torms in the Province of Lerida. The last-born of three, his mother died upon giving birth to him. He was known to be a very serious child and was not as playful as other children his age. It seemed that growing up without a mother’s love had affected him. This could have contributed to his introverted personality and character. His intelligence made him apt for studies.
Eduardo served as an altar boy for two years at the chapel of the Dominican nuns with Fr. Coll, OP. At the age of ten, he entered the minor seminary to begin his studies in the Humanities in which he excelled. When he was twelve years old, he was taken by a priest friend of the family, Fr. Deogracias, to the Carmelite monastery in Tarragona to continue his studies.
He entered the novitiate in Tarragona at the age of fifteen and made his first profession on August 10, 1913, and solemn vows in 1916. As a student, Eduardo demonstrated an exceptional aptitude for literature. His poems were recognized by the Academia Mariana of Lerida and won prizes at Juegos Florales of San Andres-Barcelona.
Completing his studies in 1919, Eduardo was eight months away from the required age to he ordained. He was dispensed from this requirement, was ordained by Bishop Jose Miralles Shert in Lerida on June 13, 1920, and celebrated his first Mass at the Carmelite nuns’ monastery in Lerida.
That same year, he was assigned to Durango and remained there for three years.At this time, religious persecution in Mexico had targeted Fr. Eduardo; and he had to find refuge urgently. Friends of his were able to help him flee the country to the United States by disguising him as a newspaper reporter mounted on horseback.
Through donations that he received for his preaching and ministry, he was able to pay for his journey to Tucson.The Province assigned
Fr. Eduardo prior of the monastery in Washington, DC, which had been inaugurated and blessed by Bishop Thomas Shanahan in the presence of Fr. José Maria Isasi and Fr. Pascasio on the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila on October 15, 1916. As prior in 1927, he faced critical issues regarding the running and operation of some properties there, which he was able to solve with the help of God.
After spending nine years in the Americas, Fr. Eduardo returned to Spain for the Provincial Chapter in 1930 where he was elected to the General Chapter as an associate.
Although he was elected superior of the Carmelite monastery in Washington, DC, for a third term, he declined to take the position offered him and instead went to Guatemala to investigate the possibilities of establishing a Carmelite presence there. By the next Provincial Chapter in May 1936, he was elected prior of the monastery in Tarragona.
Martyrdom of Fr. Eduardo
Fr. Eduardo, who was prior of the community in Tarragona at that time, was preaching a novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the Carmelite nuns in Tiana, for it was a custom at that monastery to begin the novena on the 16th. On the feast day of St. Elijah (July 20), Fr. Eduardo received news of the war and urged the nuns to be ready to leave the cloister.
By midmorning, they saw their neighboring church on fire and rapidly changed into civilian clothes and left the cloister safely. Outside, before they parted to take refuge at family homes, the nuns knelt for a blessing from Fr. Eduardo who told them that this could be their last meeting—“until we meet again in heaven. ”Frs. Gabriel and Eduardo took refuge at the home of the Noruega family.
The fathers found a welcoming and loving home where they could feel protected. Perhaps such notion of safety and optimism made the priests less cautious and fearless of their surroundings. The priests would secretly go to the nuns to celebrate Mass for them until it became too dangerous. At 6 o’clock in the evening of July 25, as the priests and family were at home, they saw about thirty militia men running in formation past the house with more riding in privately-owned vehicles.
Some of them surrounded the Noruega’s house and entered through the door demanding to register and inspect the household. Mr. Noruega, realizing that the inspection might cost the lives of the priests, asked them what to do. Fr. Gabriel suggested that he tell them they were just friends of the family.
However Fr. Eduardo with great fervor and courage strongly disagreed and said that they should know who they were. As the militia interrogated the family and turned to the priests, these words were heard: “Yes sir! We are two Discalced Carmelite friars!” They seized them immediately and took them to headquarters. The friars were transferred to a large truck where a woman armed with a rifle directed them on board.
That was the last time they were seen. It is speculated that their bodies were buried in common graves perhaps near the town of Montcada. Fr. Eduardo died at the age of 39.
Source: Tucson Priests