Blessed Ceferino Giménez Malla

Saint of the Day for 8/4

Patron Saint of: Gypsies

The first Gypsy to be beatified was a martyr and a Secular Franciscan.

Ceferino was born in Fraga (Spain). He had a successful business, buying and selling horses. Ceferino and his wife had no children, though they adopted one of his wife’s nieces. He attended Mass frequently and joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Always generous to the poor, he was known as a reconciler among Gypsies.

During the Spanish Civil War, he was arrested for defending a priest who had been dragged through the streets of Barbastro for having a rosary. As the firing squad prepared to kill him, Ceferino clutched his rosary and cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) When he was beatified in 1997, thousands of Gypsies attended the ceremony.

Ceferino shows us that Christ’s love is not limited by race or culture. The daily living out of his Baptism prepared Ceferino for making the supreme sacrifice of his life. For better or for worse, the decisions we make today prepare us for future decisions.