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St Pedro Poveda Castroverde
Priest and Martyr, Founder of the Teresian Association (entered heaven this day in 1936, when he was shot by a firing squad in Madrid, Spain)
There’s no need to second-guess yourself. Sure, your friends who took jobs on Wall Street and Madison Avenue are busy buying power clothes and getting into the swing of Big City living, but the tinsel will soon tarnish. You chose teaching after a long period of prayerful discernment and reflection, and you chose it for the right reason. Being a six-figure lawyer has its perks, but do you really think the world needs another lawyer more than it needs more great teachers? Today’s saint didn’t think so.
He lived in Spain before and during the bloody Civil War that yielded so many martyrs (including himself) there during the 1930s. It was a Spain being infiltrated by communism and secularism, and as he began his work as a young priest he quickly realized that the Catholic laity was in no condition to resist the destructive ideological onslaught. He thought about what he could do to meet the urgent need. He prayed about it. And he felt God calling him to train teachers, to form institutes and centers that would give a whole new generation of teachers formation in the most modern and effective pedagogical systems while at the same time shoring up their superficial understanding of the Christian faith. Only well-formed, Christian teachers, he saw, would be able to stem the tide of corrosive philosophies that were spreading like cancer among the “educated” classes. So that’s what he did.
A gifted teacher himself, he worked in his diocesan seminary while founding the Teresian Association, dedicated to teacher training. He started the first college residence for girls in Madrid. He wrote, he published, he spoke, he rallied other priests – he did everything he could think of to stir up the laity, to stimulate them to take responsibility for their living out and defending their faith. His motto, which I recommend you to adopt, was: “To believe firmly and to keep silent is not possible.” How true it is! And it stays true even if it means winning the martyr’s crown, which he did after answering the communist interrogators who were questioning his identity by telling them, “I am a priest of Jesus Christ!” That proclamation confirmed a quick appointment with a laconic firing squad.
Here’s one of the Church’s modern saints who saw the most urgent task of evangelization in the realm of education. You saw the same thing, which, if you will only remember, is the only reason you preferred Main Street to Wall Street. Stick to your guns, my courageous young nephew, and let the bullets fly where they will.
Your devoted uncle,