St. Jaime Hilario Barbal
January 18, Saint


Roman martyrology:  In Tarragona, Spain, St. Jaime Hilario Barbal, religious and martyr, condemned to death by hatred of the Church in a persecution (1936) .

Canonization date: 21 November 1999 by Pope John Paul II


Born January 2, 1898 at Enviny, Lerida, diocese of La Seu d'Urgell, northern Spain as Manuel Barbal Cosan. He was aised in a pious and hardworking family near the Pyrenees mountains. Entered the seminary at age 12, but when his hearing began to fail in his teens, he was sent home. Joined the Brothers of the Christian Schools at age 19, entering the noviate on 24 February 1917 at Irun, Spain, taking the name Jaime Hilario. Exceptional teacher and catechist, he believed strongly in the value of universal education, especially for the poor. However, his hearing problems grew worse, and in the early 1930s, he was forced to retire from teaching, and began work in the garden at the LaSalle house at San Jose, Tarragona, Spain.

Imprisoned in July 1936 at Mollerosa, Spain when the Spanish Civil War broke out and religious were swept from the street. Transferred to Tarragona in December, then confined on a prison ship with some other religious. Convicted on 15 January 1937 of being a Christian Brother. Two rounds of volley fire from a firing squad did not kill him, possibly because some of soldiers intentionally shot wide; their commander then murdered Jaime with five shots at close range. First of the 97 LaSalle Brothers killed in Catalunia, Spain during the Spanish Civil War to be recognized as a martyr.

He was shot to death on 18 January 1937 at the Mount of Olives cemetery near Tarragona, Spain.

“The day you learn to surrender yourself totally to God, you will discover a new world, just as I am experiencing. You will enjoy a peace and a calm unknown, surpassing even the happiest days of your life.” – Saint Jaime Hilario


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