"Underground" Friar Beatified April 25

biografiaThrough his Secretary of State, Card. Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father will beatify a Capuchin priest in Barcelona April 25 who did not wear his habit in public for most of his life. Not that he didn't want to. The civil government forbade it. — Joseph Tous y Soler (1811-1871) joined the Capuchins at the age of 15 and made first profession in 1827. He was ordained a priest in Barcelona on May 24, 1834, but two months later, in the midst of anticlerical violence in Catalonia, he was exiled from Spain. — He spent the next nine years ministering in France. He was able to return to Spain in 1843, but the government had outlawed religious orders, so he spent the rest in of his life in parish ministry, posing as a member of the secular clergy, but living according to his Capuchin Franciscan ideals. — In 1850 he began leading a small group of young women, including Blessed Maria Ana Mogas, which later developed into two separate congregations, the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (who consider him their founder) and the Franciscan Missionaries of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (who claim Blessed Maria Ana as their foundress) — Joseph died Feb. 27, 18721, while celebrating Mass, right after the consecration, in a Capuchin chapel in Barcelona.