Dolores del Olmo, her catechist, baptized Emilia’s newborn daughter with the name Angeles (“Angels,” a common name for female Spaniards.) The new mother died 10 days later.
Ibarra is the author of the book “Emilia, the Basket Maker, Martyr of the Rosary,” which tells of her life and death. He said that Emilia’s devotion to the rosary led her to love Jesus Christ more.
According to the historian, Emilia “died from her sufferings, for being faithful to her faith, for bringing a life into the world and did not give in to her jailer’s desire that she apostatize.”
For Ibarra, Emilia “teaches us with her life that God is at our side, especially in the midst of difficulties. Emilia went to prison hardly knowing the faith and when she died, she did so as a friend of God and a martyr of the rosary. That is beautiful.”
She was beatified in a group of martyrs from Almeria, Spain on March 25, 2017. The group included cathedral dean Father Jose Alvarez-Benavides y de la Torre and 114 companion martyrs: 95 priests, 20 laymen and two women, including Emilia.
Emilia is the first Romani woman to be beatified. The first male Gypsy blessed, Ceferino Giménez Malla, known as El Pelé, was beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1997. He died in the religious persecution of the Spanish Civil War for protecting a priest. Before his persecutors shot him, he held a rosary in his hand and cried out “Long live Christ the King!”
Ibarra characterized both Emilia and Ceferino as “martyrs of the rosary” because both of them refused to stop praying it.
“This demonstrates that the Virgin leads us to God. For those two martyrs, she was the Gate of Heaven,” he said.
Originally published on March 30, 2017
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