30 Apr

Blessed Jose Tous y Soler, beatified on 25th April 2010, “was born in 1811 in Igualada, in the province of Barcelona, Spain. He was born the ninth of twelve children into a deeply Catholic family.

The role of his family turns out to be fundamental in the formation of Blessed Jose. It was the place where he first received the seeds of faith, and a place where he was taught to love God.

In 1820 Blessed Jose’s family moved to Barcelona to look for better employment. It was there that Blessed Jose met the Capuchin Friars, who followed the Rule of St Francis. Blessed Jose asked to join these Friars at the age of 16, and so on 18th February 1827 he donned the Capuchin habit in the novitiate.

From the very beginning of his formation years Blessed Jose proved to be a religious of great virtue. The testimonies of his fellow-friars tell of his exemplary recollection, his solid piety, his ready obedience, his humility and purity, and of his complete fidelity to Franciscan poverty. In 1834 Blessed Jose was ordained a priest.

A short time later Spain went through a period of great social unrest and for a short time Blessed Jose was arrested and imprisoned due to the suppression of religious houses. Eventually Blessed Jose had to go into exile, which brought him first to France and then to Northern Italy. In 1836 he travelled to Grenoble, in the Diocese of Toulouse, France, where he completed his studies.

Although unable to live with his fellow friars in his community, Blessed Jose never gave in to resentment or bitterness, continuing his work for God and the Church in a simple and poor Franciscan manner.

In 1843 Blessed Jose was able to return to Spain, exercising his priestly ministry in the parish of St Francisco de Paola in Barcelona. In this parish he became aware of the needs of the children and young people in spiritual formation and set about to form them in the Christian life.

In 1859 Blessed Jose founded the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Good Shepherd, whose life was to educate children and young people whilst having devotion to Mary, the Mother of the Good Shepherd. This new Institute grew in number and Blessed Jose was able to oversee a great increase in this important work for God. Blessed Jose died in 1871 while celebrating Mass in the school of the Mother of the Good Shepherd in Barcelona.

Pope Benedict [at the Beatification Mass] described Blessed Jose as ‘an austere man, at the same time he was generous with others, a priest who was preoccupied for the salvation of souls.’ In the homily at the Beatification Mass some words of Blessed Jose were recalled, which are as a motto of life, ‘Even if everything is dark, one must always be faithful, faithful to God.'”
– from: ‘Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris’


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