Francesc Xavier Cunill i Bastús

Xavier Francesc Cunill i Bastús was born January 5, 1904 on the street of Ripoll, n. 25, 2, of Barcelona. He was baptized on January 8 at the Cathedral. He was the youngest of five child. The elder, Ramon, married a daughter of the architect Puig i Cadafalch; the biggest, made profession as religious of Saint Vicent of Paul; his godmother, Joaquima, was dedicated to social apostolate; and his other sister, Roser, also remained unmarried and died March 19, 1995 and was buried in the cemetery of Poble Nou, in the same pantheon n. 80 that Dr. Ramon Balcells i Maso. He studied at the Jesuits Casp Street and at the end of the high school, at age 14, entered meritorious work in la Caixa, the hand of Francesc Moragas. Xavier Francesc Cunill was the financial advisor and financial promoter of social works of Dr. Ramon Balcells, around the Patronat Social Escolar d’Obreres del Poblet and its Caixa Social, wich later opened to the public under the name of Caixa d'Estalvis Sagrada Família . Along with the apostolate of Fr. Gil Parés, they laid the foundations of culture, economy, professional learning and human and religious formation of children of immigrants who were accumulating in the "Poblet" the neighborhood sprung up around the works of the Sagrada Família . He pilgrimage to Rome in 1933 to win the Jubilee of the Redemption with a group of Marian Apostolate, which was received by Pius XI. He was also member of the Young Catholic Workers and secretary of the Confraternity and Mutual for patients of Minerva in his parish, Sant Francesc de Paula. On July 19, 1936, after General Franco's military uprising, broke out in Catalonia the persecution of Catholics cruelest of the country's history. The anarchists were the Central Committee of Catalonia Antifascist Militia, who served as the real power of enforcement, eclipsing the officer of the Government until May 1937. They had their own prisons, torture chambers and total impunity for the killings, without any possibility of defense by the victims, who were hunted by patrols in the houses where they hid. One of their main objectives was Catholic priests and the people who helped them hide. The most important detention center was the former convent of Poor Clarisse of Sant Elies (current parish of St. Agnes), transformed into "czech" and personally directed by Aurelio Fernandez, Secretary General of the Board of Homeland Security. They put even a herd of pigs fed on human remains. Those arriving prisoners, they would ask if possessed of gold, silver, foreign currencies, etc., the only way to prevent torture and more than likely murder. Then, Francesc Xavier Cunill was an employee of la Caixa, and also a professor at the Escola d'Public Administració. From this position, he not remain inactive. He managed, with Dr. Balcells, that the funds of Caixa d'Estalvis Sagrada Família -church founding--were considered guarded by la Caixa, which was guaranteed by the state, with its imposing very modest did not lose their savings. Along with his sisters, fled to his home in the Via Laietana, n. 42, many priests, religious and lay people persecuted to the point that the floor was seized by police on December 1, 1936. And he worked with people, headed by the Catalan Minister Ventura Gassol, and with the consent of President Companys, that saved the lives of thousands of priests, nuns and others persecuted by the anarchists. Dr. Balcells got the rescues and Francis Xavier Cunill negotiating delivery to anarchist leaders, a task similar to that of Mercy in the Middle Ages the Christian slaves of Islam. It happened with the three brothers Homs, the three priests, arrested on September 16, admitted to "Moulin Rouge" in Paral•lel, transferred to the FAI house at passeig de Sant Joan and finally held on September 26 at Sant Elies. On October 6, Francis Xavier Cunill paid the ransom and freed. Instead, he saw not in time to save a great friend of Gaudi, the Jesuit priest Ignasi Casanovas, hidden in the house of the widow Vallet, on Balmes, 85, 2.on. Francesc Xavier Cunill visited him and reached the Catalan Minister España a written order to the Vallet family was not disturbed and that it fixed the door. In addition, on 19 September the Minister Ventura Gassol transformed "Library Balmes" in "Library Francesc Layret", and so was spared the work of Father Casanovas. The same day, however, a patrol of registered Vallet widow home and took the refugee to detention center in Passeig de Gracia / Bonavista, and from there to the committee of Carolinas, where he confessed to be a priest and Jesuit. So, went to Sant Elies. It was on September 21 and from there they informed Francesc Xavier Cunill. When he arrived with the rescue, they reported: "You made late, he was shot at 5 am." Aurelio Fernandez had decreed death for being a priest, and more, Jesuit. How many rescued or attempted rescue, freeing them from the torture and death? Surely, a lot, between August 1936 and February 1937. At that time, Francesc Xavier Cunill and Dr. Balcells were multi-threat of death. Francesc Xavier had been arrested and questioned twice. The same leaders were anarchists offer them out of the country through the Pyrenees, in exchange for 3,000 pesetas each. On 3 March 1937, they brought by car in to a forest in the vicinity of Sant Salvador de Toló (now the term of Gavet de la Conca, Pallars Jussà), where they arrived on the morning of 4. All they had to pick the kind that guides walk to Andorra. Instead, they were murdered and their bodies buried there, to avoid investigations. In Barcelona, anarchist reported Ramon Cunill, the brother of Francesc Xavier, they had crossed the border successfully. Their bodies were recognized because, in anticipation, had sewn into the lining of clothing some papers with their names. In that of Francesc Xavier was also a medal of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Finished Spanish Civil War, was built of dry stone monolith. The remains of Dr. Balcells were transferred to the Poble Nou cemetery April 18, 1943, leaving that of Xavier Francesc Cunill in place, currently unknown.

Josep Maria Tarragona, November 1,2011

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Last update: 06/05/2016