Priest Who Died Celebrating Mass to Be Beatified

Founded Order of Sisters Dedicated to Education

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By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, FEB. 25, 2010 ( It is said that the life of Father José Tous was a continuous Mass. Perhaps that is why he was called to heaven precisely as he celebrated Mass, right after the consecration.

This reflection is made by the postulator of Father Tous’ cause for canonization, Capuchin Father Alfonso Ramirez Peralbo.

Father Tous died in 1871 in the chapel of the Capuchin college in Barcelona. He will be beatified in Spain on April 25.

José Tous was born in Igualada, Barcelona, in 1811, and joined the Capuchins at age 16. His preparation for the priesthood was intense, silent and abnegated. He was ordained in 1834.

A year later, his priesthood met with one of its harshest trials: In the midst of the political and social conflict of 19th century Spain, Father Tous was forced to flee his country.

For several months he traveled on the Mediterranean coast, going to the north of Italy. In 1837 he arrived in France and established himself in the Benedictine convent of Toulouse. There he dedicated himself to contemplation and Eucharistic Adoration, as well as to the spiritual assistance of the young religious.
He returned to Catalonia in 1843, beginning to work in the local Church as a secular priest, given that he was unable to practice conventual life or dress in the Capuchin habit. Because of this, he lived with his parents and worked in several parishes close by.
Father Tous thus discovered he had a particular love for education; his postulator likened it to the attitude of «Jesus before the crowd, who felt compassion because the sheep were without a shepherd.»


Father Tous found this same inspiration in three girls he knew, and thus was born the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd.
The first community was established at Ripoll in March of 1850, and on May 27 of the same year the first school was opened.
Father Tous exhorted the sisters to «strew in children’s hearts holy thoughts and devoted affections that God communicated to them in prayer.»
«He lived his donation to God and his consecration to the sisters with his spirit placed in the Good Shepherd, and he said that it was necessary to treat the children with maternal affection,» Father Ramirez told ZENIT.
Now the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd have communities in various regions of Spain and in Latin America.
Father Ramirez suggested the life of the future blessed is a good model during this Year for Priests, «because of his burning faith that he lived daily without wishing to be striking.»
To eternity
At the moment of his death, Father Tous had no terminal illness. But, his postulator explained, it is believed that because of the tensions he had to face, he suffered from extreme physical exhaustion, to the point of dying during the Mass. Precisely after the consecration, he genuflected and fell to the ground.

The parish priest of San Francesco di Paola went to pick up his lifeless body and to finish the Mass.
«The life of saints arouses wonder because we see how the grace of God is able to accomplish these admirable works before our very eyes,» Father Ramirez reflected. «The way is open for all those who wish to follow him with sincerity of heart as Father Tous did.»

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