Salvador Montes de Oca: The Next Carthusian Saint?

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Even when the Carthusian Order does not promote the beatification or canonization of any of its members, there are Carthusian blessed and saints. In most cases, these saints were bishops (such as Saint Anthelm) or martyrs (like the English Carthusian martyrs). In those cases, the dioceses they belonged to (and not the Carthusian Order) promoted their causes.

In 2017, the cause of canonization of Salvador Montes de Oca was opened by the diocese of Valencia (Venezuela). If he is canonized, he will become the first Carthusian saint who was both a bishop and a martyr.

Monsignor Salvador Montes de Oca (Dom Bernard -in the religious life)

He was born in Carora (State of Lara, Venezuela) on 21 October 1895. He was ordained a priest on 22 September 1922. In 1927 he was appointed as the second Bishop of Valencia by Pope Pius XI.

The political situation of the time triggered the struggle of Bishop Montes de Oca in favor of Human Rights and the Doctrine of the Church. This led to his expulsion from Venezuela in 1929. He returned to the country in 1931.

The Carthusian charism caught his attention and he decided to take the monastic habit in the Charterhouse of Farneta (Italy) on 4 January 1943. He took the name of Bernard.

In the summer of 1944 he was involved in the Nazi massacre carried out against the monastic community of Farneta, guilty of having given hospitality to several partisans and Jewish refugees. Bernardo and Father Prior were killed by a machine gun in the night between the 6 and 7 September 1944 at Monte Magno di Camariore, Lucca, Italy. Father Bernard was 49 years old. Ten other Carthusian monks would be killed in the following days.

Although buried at the time in unmarked ditches, their bodies were finally exhumed and identified. All of them, except for Dom Bernard were buried in the cemetery of the monastery. The mortal remains of Monsignor Salvador Montes de Oca were transferred to Venezuela. He is now buried in the Cathedral at Valencia.

Tomb of the Servant of God in Valencia Cathedral (Venezuela)

Prayer to ask for a grace through the intercession of the servant of God Salvador Montes de Oca.

Father of infinite goodness: you have blessed the Church of Venezuela with the luminous life of your servant Monsignor Salvador Montes de Oca, second bishop of Valencia and monk of the Charterhouse of Farneta.

He sowed in your people a fervent Eucharistic spirit, love for the ministerial priesthood and a tender Marian devotion. Besides, he defended in an exemplary way the values of the family, freedom and human rights.

Driven by love for you and a yearning for perfection, he entered the Contemplative life at the Charterhouse. Grant us to live his spiritual legacy.

We beseech you to glorify him with the recognition of his virtues and his beatification. And if it is for our good, we ask you for the grace to…

(Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory)

Sources:

  • La strage di Farneta. Storia sconosciuta dei dodici Certosini fucilati dai tedeschi nel 1944 (Luigi Accattoli 2013)
  • Douze Chartreux de Farneta fusillés par les nazis en 1944 (by a Carthusian Monk 1996)
  • The Silent Summer of 1944. Carthusian monks in Italy opened their doors, saving many from death camps; their reward: martyrdom (Giuseppina Sciascia – L’Osservatore Romano, English Weekly Edition – February 2, 2005, p. 4-5)

To contact the Foundation Monsignor Montes de Oca:

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