Blessed Vicente Vilar David
Vicente Vilar David was born in 1889 to a devout Catholic family in Valencia, Spain. His father owned a ceramics factory. The youngest of eight children, he was known to be a cheerful, outgoing individual with a strong faith. He married Isabella Rodes Reig, a young woman who shared his faith and youthful enthusiasm for putting that faith into action.After completing his formal education with a degree in industrial engineering, Vicente and three of his brothers took over the family business when his father passed away prematurely. He was said to have been single-minded in incorporating the principles of social justice in the supervision of his factory employees. Employees were treated as members of a family; especially when they became ill or infirm. They related to him more as a father than as an employer.Vicente held several important municipal posts in which he put the Church’s social teaching into practice as well. But his great love was assisting his pastor in ministering to the parish community. He was devoted to Catholic youth groups and directed religious education programs. He was also committed to serving the poor in the parish.
Against the anti-religious sentiment of 1930’s Spain, Vicente spoke out on behalf of persecuted priests and members of religious communities, and even gave them sanctuary. He continued these practices despite official warnings that he stop. His arrest was inevitable, but he was given the opportunity to cease his activities and renounce his religious beliefs before a Spanish court. He refused however, and was sentenced to death as a result. Just a few moments before they shot him he forgave his persecutors. He was executed on February 14, 1937.Vicente’s beatification was the culmination of a life committed to Catholic social teaching, works of charity and a deep faith courageously lived. Those who have studied his case believe he had a cause for canonization based solely on his life of faith, not just his martyrdom. He was venerated by Blessed John Paul II in 1993, the same year Isabella passed away. He was beatified on October 1, 1995. His Feast day is February 14.
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