Saturday, 10 August 2019 21:56

Learning from Blessed Victoria Díez in her anniversary

August 12 is the 83rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Victoria Díez, a young teacher and member of the Teresian Association who gave her life in the town of Hornachuelos, confessing her faith in Jesus Christ, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

Victoria had stood out for her educational work with the girls of the town and also for her apostolate in the parish where she was part of the group of catechists and encouraged youth groups of Catholic Action.

Victoria's fame, beatified by John Paul II in 1993 with Pedro Poveda, the TA founder, has transcended the borders of her native country and today is celebrated and remembered in different parts of the world where her work as a young and committed teacher is admired. She is a model of a lay vocation, living the call to holiness in ordinary life.

escuelabynEminently human...

From Victoria we can learn joy living with our feet on the ground. She had always said, to herself and to those around her, “we have to live with realities. We have to walk with our feet on the ground.”

“Victoria was simply living what Pedro Poveda had asked his followers of the nascent Teresian Association: to enter deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ and to be ‘eminently human’ in the style of Teresa of Jesus, ‘being at the same time, totally God’s.’ Victoria never tried to convince herself or others that things were not so easy... nor as difficult as they could seem to anyone who lived the same circumstances, but without faith”, points out Carmen Fernandez Aguinaco author of a biography of Victoria.

vctoria et alumnasThe source of her happiness

She was a happy person, grateful to have found the Teresian Association to live out her vocation as a teacher.

When Victoria wrote to Josefa Segovia to communicate her desire to be part of the Teresian Association, she exclaimed “Every day I give thanks to the Lord for putting me in contact with an association that completely fills my ideals. Its apostolic mission attracts me greatly! Since I learnt of the goals that it pursues I cannot but love it and I think that only belonging to this Association will I be able to find happiness”.

In our current times, so prompted to circumspection, to seriousness, to harsh gestures and even insults to those who are different, Victoria shows us the way to make our surroundings more pleasant and to embrace others with that smile not only in our face but in our hearts,” points out in an article Pilar Pazos.

Make the world a better place

And Elizabet Hawkins, author of a book to make Victoria known, highlights: “Her aim was to do her part to make the world a better place. She loved God and God’s world, and this love gave her the drive and energy to undertake all kinds of extra activities to help raise the standard of education of the youth in the town.”

If Victoria were a young teacher here, today, she would have no trouble connecting with her colleagues of the twenty first century, she adds. And though there are several aspects of today’s world that Victoria would find disheartening, she would gently encourage young people to become defenders of the vulnerable … “She would point to the way Jesus cared for the weak and oppressed. She would present them with the Christian challenge of making the world a better place by starting to improve it here and now.”

criptavictoriaAnd also, being from the south of Spain, “Victoria would be very aware of the migrants arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea every day. It is easy to imagine her standing on the beach ready to help with blankets and food and a word of kindness. She would welcome the children to her classroom and try to help them overcome the traumatic experience they have undergone. She would know that her actions are a drop in the ocean, but that ‘drop’ could make a huge difference to somebody’s life. We can learn from her that we all have a unique drop of goodness and love to add to that great ocean of God’s creation.”

Web dedicated to Victoria Díez in Hornachuelos’ Cultural Centre.

Photographs: Archivo Histórico de la IT.