Before the war broke out they provided pastoral services in parishes in a Madrid suburb of about 82,000. The young Oblate scholastics (theology students), taught catechism, and the Oblate choir sang during liturgies in those parishes.
When the three-year civil war broke out the Oblate shared the fate of many Spanish Catholics being persecuted for their faith. Local revolutionary groups couldn’t stand that the Oblates made themselves so visible in their black cassocks and distinctive Oblate missionary crucifixes tucked into the front of their habits. Refusing to let the revolutionaries intimidate them, the Oblates calmly avoided responding to any provocations. They never participated in political activities but confined their efforts to their pastoral work day after day.
On July 22, 1936, the Oblate residence was attacked, 38 priests and scholastics were placed under guard while soldiers searched the premises. Finding a variety of religious items, including crucifixes, rosaries and vestments, they threw these items into a heap to be destroyed.
In the suffering that led up to their execution before the death squads, they professed their faith in Jesus Christ, their love for the Catholic Church and for their missionary vocation. One of the martyrs, Publio RODRIGUEZ MOSLARES, 24 years old, had given his mother a small crucifix and told her: “Kiss it frequently, and whatever happens, remember that everything we suffer for Christ, no matter how great it seems, would be small compared to how much Christ loves us and suffered for us.” As they were executed they cried out their profession of faith: “Long live Christ the King!”
“It is believed that they died professing their faith and forgiving their executioners. We do know that none of the 22 Oblates, despite the psychological torture during their cruel captivity, was an apostate, nor denied his faith, nor denied having embraced his religious vocation. For this reason their families, their brother Oblates and the Christian people, knowing their faithfulness until death, have unanimously held them to be martyrs from the first instance.”
Postulation of the Cause