Friday, 05 July 2019 16:02

Andrés Salgado, a Lay Martyr from the Religious Persecution

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Toledo, Spain – 1936

Andrés Salgado Ruiz-Tapiador was born in Orgaz (Toledo, Spain) on February 27, 1903. Married to Adelaida Ruiz-Tapiador Guadalupe, he was the father of five children and the local physician in Orgaz (Toledo). He was assassinated at age 33 on August 29, 1936, out of hatred for the Catholic faith.

It was the summer of 1936. Andrés was very sick and bedridden. A fellow physician visited him and warned him that his illness was serious and that he would need an operation. He tried to obtain a pass for his friend, in order to get him to Madrid. However, while the process was underway for the pass, Andrés’ wife received word from a confidential contact, concerning the exact date on which her husband would be assassinated. The terrible news broke Adela’s heart and Andrés imagined that something serious was underway and demanded that his wife tell him everything she knew. Andrés remained calm upon receiving the news. It was 6 o’clock in the afternoon. His wife would not leave his bedside. A dialogue ensued, marked by faith, fortitude, and affection. 

-Adela, your calmness gives me courage to meet my death. I have my conscience clear because I have fulfilled my duty…No, death doesn’t frighten me, I look it in the eye…it doesn’t frighten me…

Then comes his concern for the children:          

- Adela, the most important thing is that you raise them with a strong Christian faith (…)

Continue living with your gaze towards God and Heaven, as that is where we will be united once more. And there, nothing will be able to separate us.

- Now, he continued, I am going to ask you a favor before I die.

- Tell me, Adela says.

- Well, just this: that you sincerely forgive them, as I do.

- Yes, Andrés, I forgive them.

Andrés insisted once more, placing his entire heart in every word:

- You have to promise to do it sincerely, just as I do.

- You can go in peace, I sincerely forgive them.  

However, the noble soul of Andrés knows no half measures. He is not satisfied with mere forgiveness and wishes to repay this evil with good. He, therefore, continues insisting with his wife:

- I hope that, although someday you have a chance to do something against them, you won’t. Instead, do them every good you can. Look, dear. In order for there to be victims, there have to be executioners. In the end, the unfortunate one is he whose role is the latter.

After a few minutes, Andrés got up and knelt down. With his arms outstretched, he offered his life to God. 

- Lord, I offer you my life for the salvation of Spain and for the salvation of these miserable, unfortunate men! Lord, convert them! Lord, let them see you! Let them know you! Let them love you!

He had his five children enter the room. The intense emotion of the moment overtakes them all:

- My children: always be practical Christians, firm Catholics, so you may be of use to God and your Homeland. You do not yet realize this, as you are still little, but keep this in mind always. How I wish I could engrave it on your hearts, deep, deep down, so that it would never be erased!

Andres, The little ones apologize if they have done anything to displease their father and Andrés blesses them. His wife kneels down to beg his forgiveness. And without letting her finish, he tells her:

- Get up, my dear. What do I have to forgive you for, if you have done nothing more than make me happy at all times?

His yearning for heaven overtakes him and he feels that his executioners are taking too long to get to him. He exclaims:

- They’re taking so long! It’s 12:30. 12:30, and they still haven’t come. What are these men up to?

At 1, he asks for a change of clothes and his shoes. 

- No, wait. Maybe if they see you in bed they’ll leave you there. 

- No, dear. Under no circumstance do I wish to dress myself in their presence. Now, take me to where Mother and Balbina are. I want to bid them farewell.   

And embracing them, he says:

- Goodbye, until heaven unites us.

They start to cry, but without losing his calm, he consoles them:

- Do not cry. Soon we will be together in heaven, exclaims Andrés (this took place on August 29 and on September 16 the two of them would also be killed).

They then return to where the children are. And kneeling down before a painting of Christ (“El Cristo del Olvido”), they spend a moment in prayer. In the meantime, sounds of a car motor are heard from outside. There is no mistaking it. Men armed with shotguns and pistols storm the house, run upstairs and order Andrés to follow them. He obeys without a word. And it is only when he reaches the end of the stairs that he turns to the leader of the militia, saying:

- Would you kindly allow me to go and kiss my children goodbye?

The man responds coldly:

- No, you cannot say goodbye to your children. You’re not going to die. We’re taking you away so you can be treated for your illness.  

Andrés then turned to him with courage, and said:

- Yes, I know where you’re taking me, but I’m not worried.

He walked unaccompanied out of the house, where a pickup truck was waiting. In the threshold of the house, he hugs his wife and tells her:

- Adela, look towards heaven. Providence will always look after you all. Trust in God, you and the children will lack nothing. Until heaven unites us, Adela, until heaven unites us!

Adela accompanies her husband in faith and generosity and, with tears in her eyes, offers him words of encouragement:

- Andrés, go in peace. God will give us the strength we need. Continue being brave until the end, remain united to Christ. He will give you the strength you need to die professing His Name.

Andrés gets in the pickup truck and sees that, in addition to himself, another nine of his friends have also been taken prisoners, and are on their way to be martyred. Filled with faith, he shouts, “Long live Christ the King!” The other nine respond in unison: “Long live Christ the King!” The cheers continue, one after another, breaking the silence of the summer night.

Their murderers would later admit that the leader of the militia, upon hearing Andrés’ enthusiasm, said:

- This guy is half dead (as he was quite ill) and he’s still talking about Christ…! And Andrés energetically responded:

- And I will be with Him as long as I live.

They reached the town of Mora, near Toledo. The militia men tied Andrés to a telephone poll. One of them brutally shoved the barrel of the shotgun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger while angrily shouting: “Here’s Christ the King for you!” It was August 29, 1936. 

The murderers thought they were silencing the voice of this devote Catholic, Andrés, but his death for Christ and his forgiveness of his executioners is the most eloquent cry, one that will continue to echo down through the ages.        

By Sr. Elvira Garro, S.H.M.

Reprinted with permission from ©HM Magazine No.173 July-August 2013

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