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Pope advances sainthood cause for women martyred in Spanish Civil War

Given the chance to renounce their faith, the women refused and died shouting ¡Viva Cristo Rey! and ¡Viva Dios!

On June 12, the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced that Pope Francis had moved forward the causes of canonization for eight servants of God, officially granting them the title of venerable.

Of the cases moved forward, the Somiedo martyrs of the Spanish Civil War were also named venerable.

Pilar Gullón Yturriaga, 25, Octavia Iglesias Blanco, 41, and Olga Pérez-Monteserín Núñez, 23, were martyred on October 28, 1936.

The three women, who served as Red Cross nurses in Pola de Somiedo, were raped and shot naked.

They had arrived at the hospital in Somiedo on October 18, and on October 27 they learned that populist forces were quickly coming to take over the hospital, but they refused to leave.

The forces killed the doctor, chaplain, and all the patients.

Given the chance to renounce their faith, the women refused and died shouting ¡Viva Cristo Rey! and ¡Viva Dios!, meaning Long live Christ the King! Long live God!

Yturriaga, who survived the first shot, forgave her murderers and prayed they would be forgiven by God before she died.

Their killing was the first incident of its kind, leading to international shock and concern.