Life of Emilia Fernandez is nothing short of heroic. She was a gypsy woman who lost her life in her desperate attempt to cling to her Christian faith during Spanish civil war which lasted from 1936-1939.
Emilia lived a peaceful life as an Andalusian Gypsy woman, devoting herself to her family. She earned her living making baskets. An honest and hard working woman, Emilia lived a virtuous life in her own way.
When the Spanish civil war broke out, men were forced to serve as soldiers in the war. Her husband Juan Cortes conscripted into the war. But, she prevented him and the enraged authorities imprisoned both of them.
Emilia was pregnant when she was imprisoned. In the prison, notorious for inhuman practices, Emilia received no care for her pregnancy. Officials assigned her the same insufficient food ration as the rest of the female prisoners.
“Emilia carried her pregnancy in the prison under terrible conditions, and suffered a lot from hunger,” Historian Martin Ibarra writes about her miserable plight.
Emilia discovered her Christian faith in the prison. Even though she had been baptized, she never set foot in a church.
Emilia, who was an illiterate woman, learned her Christian prayers from Dolores del Olmo, a catechist who was also an inmate. She wanted to learn more about the faith. From the personal discourses of Doloures, she realized that she belonged to the Church, and she learned the ‘Our Father,’ the ‘Hail Mary’ and the ‘Glory Be.’It was especially through the rosary taught by Dolores that she practiced her faith. She trusted in God and prayed for long time, and transformed her life in the prison.
Prayer was forbidden in the prison. But, the female prisoners prayed every afternoon. The warden for the women’s prison, Dolores Salmerón, knew that Emilia and the other prisoners were praying. She offered the woman more food and offered to release her and her husband on one condition: she must reveal the name of whoever taught her to pray.
Emilia refused to betray her catechist and so she was punished with solitary confinement.
A few months later, Emilia gave birth. While she was in acute pain of labor, her catechist said prayers, which Emilia struggled to repeat. Her new born daughter was named Angeles. 10 days after the birth of her child, Emilia died.
Her historian Ibarra named her book: “Emilia, the Basket Maker, Martyr of the Rosary.” The book narrates the story of her life and death. He said that Emilia’s devotion to the rosary led her to love Jesus Christ more.
“She fulfilled her maternity, risking her life and in fact she died for lack of medical attention. She died from her sufferings, for being faithful to her faith, for bringing a life into the world and did not give in to her jailer’s desire that she apostatize” the word of her historian gives testimony of her heroic life and the reason for her beatification.
She was beatified by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect for the Causes of Saints along with a group of martyrs from Almeria, Spain. Emilia is the first Romani woman to be beatified.
മരിയന് ടൈംസില് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കുന്ന വാര്ത്തകളും ലേഖനങ്ങളും വീഡിയോകളും മരിയന് ടൈംസിന്റെ മൊബൈല് ആപ്പിലൂടെ നിങ്ങള്ക്ക് നേരിട്ട് ലഭിക്കും.