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Mother Niceta Plaja Xifra de San Prudencia, of Torrent, Spain, known as Mother Prudencia, was the superior of a home for the elderly and needy children in Valencia called the "House of Mercy," staffed by the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. When at the outset of the Spanish Civil War in July of 1936 the anti-Catholic Popular Front seized the House of Mercy, Mother Prudencia transferred her Carmelite community to an apartment, where she and eleven nuns under her were compelled to live without light, running water, or furniture. In November of 1936, Popular Front troops arrested the twelve Carmelites. Sensing what was to come, one nun observed that she hoped to die on her knees, praying, "Forgive them this sin, for they know not what they do." A priest who had obtained permission to speak with the nuns and hear their confessions was deeply impressed by their virtue. As the sisters bade the priest farewell, some of them, with tears in their eyes, kissed his hand. The scene even moved the guards. Five days later, on November 24, 1936, the twelve nuns were executed.
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By Deacon Keith Fournier
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