A history of the Chapel of San Pascual Baylon in the village of
El Agua de Enmedio.
There are many stories of people being healed through Pascual's prayers; he showed great wisdom, prophecy and miracles.
Although poorly educated, he taught himself to read and write and his counsel was sought by people of high social standing. On a mission to France he defeated the blasphemies of a Calvinist preacher but was almost killed by a mob.
PASCHAL’S DEATH AND HIS INCORRUPT BODY.
Paschal’s earthly life came to an end, again on Pentecost
His tomb became the object of continuous pilgrimages, even by the King and the nobles of Spain. His cult spread rapidly throughout Spain, Austria and the Kingdom of Naples and further a field.
He was beatified by Paul V in 1618 and canonised in 1690. By that time the number of pilgrims to his tomb led to the construction of a larger chapel in his honour. In 1681 Carlos II King of Spain implemented the Royal Patronage for the Chapel, and in 1691 to celebrate Paschal’s death and canonization, his uncorrupted body was put into a glass urn.
In 1897 Pope Leo XIII proclaimed Paschal as ‘Patron of Eucharistic Congresses. At the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 the Royal Chapel and the Church were destroyed and burnt down including Paschal’s body.
HIS SECOND TOMB
In 1942, three years after the end of the war, the first stone of ‘Saint Paschal’s International Eucharistic Votive Church’ was laid in Villa Real.The church, even without being completed was open to the public in 1971 and consecrated in 1974. In the centre of the new chapel a dark granite sarcophagus contains Paschal’s remains. A silver statue, inspired by his uncorrupted body lies upon it. Behind the rear wall there is the cell where he died.
It is also possible to visit the cloister and refectory, including Paschal’s seat.
The Poor Clares take care of the sepulchre and watch over the Blessed Sacrament permanently shown to the public on the main altar of the sanctuary.
St Paschal Baylon is the patron saint of cooks as well as Eucharistic congresses, and he is commemorated specially on May 17 each year on his Feast Day.
This is the history of the man who founded the church at Agua de Enmedio. It was translated from its original Spanish text and then précised by Jeanne Millar.
EXTRACTS FROM “THE SWALLOWS WILL NOT RETURN”
by CLEMENTE FLORES MONTOYA
Pascual Artero was born in a humble farmstead in the district of Mojácar, in the Province of Almeria. It was a dry and arid area and very hard to work the land. An inhospitable place where scorpions, lizards and locusts sheltered in the dry earth, hiding under stones. In such a place men toughen and learnt to earn their daily bread in a hard fight for survival.
Pascual’s parents and grandparents were men of the country, honest labourers who watered the ungrateful land with their sweat. His real father died before he was born on
He had to learn to be a man at the age of a child with no time to play, having to help his father in his work, struggling to exist with the everlasting drought and poor harvests until such time as his father took the decision to go and work in Algeria - a decision made by many at that time.
The French had occupied Algeria in 1830 and the climate and countryside was similar to that of the south-east of Spain, the cost of the journey not too high and the ability to return at will like swallows attracted many Spaniards to migrate there. At the age of 10 Pascual wanted to go too - it took time to convince his mother to let him go and he most certainly lived to regret it. It was cold and the work very hard, pulling out palm trees, making the land suitable to cultivate. That first year he was paid half of what the men received which was in part fair as he was of less use than a grown man. He went again the following year 1886-87 and by the end of this season he could work as well as anyone. In 1887-88 he went again, opening up holes to plant vines and was now able to help his uncle (also there with his step-father) in completing his share of the work where in the first years it had been the reverse. He continued going each season until the one of 1894-95 when he remained in Mojácar waiting to be called up for military service. During this period he had established a relationship with a girl called Ursula and although he was never permitted to be alone with her, there was a mutual attraction.
That year the railway between Carboneras and Nijár was being built to take minerals to the coast. This was a bad year in the country so Pascual decided to work on the railway. He lived with an aunt in Carboneras. Some days after his work he went to see his girl friend, some 20 kms, distant, walking to and fro on paths across the hills, returning to sleep. He was sometimes so tired he fell asleep while walking until a stone tripped him awake.
In May 1895 he was sent to Cartagena to do military service. Later he was sent to San Fernando and La Carraca - he studied to become a sergeant and went back to Cartagena. After serving for a year he asked permission to visit his family.
Taking the path from Pulpi to Vera and to Garrucha where he met with friends of his father. Dressed in a military jacket and navy blue trousers with a red stripe down the side made it difficult for him to be recognized
He was told that his father was going on a ship to collect esparto and that he could take the opportunity to go as well. Although offered a mule for the journey to Macenas Castle, he went on foot to where his father was waiting to embark. Again nobody recognized him in his uniform.
The sea began to get too rough and dangerous to off-load the esparto which was the only source of income for his family and many others. It was Pascual who woke up the others who were sleeping and got their help so that the esparto was off-loaded and everybody went home, still without knowing the identity of uniformed man!
His time at home was brief as an up-rising had occurred in the Philippines and the Mayor of Mojácar called him to collect a telegram ordering him to present himself at the Command Headquarters in Almeria ready to embark on a ship for Malaga and thence to Cádiz. After various adventures and delays at Motril taking on a cargo of sugar, he arrived too late. The ship had sailed for the Philippines. He eventually embarked in February 1898 and upon arrival found that the troops had retreated, having fought well without a single loss and so Pascual was sent with a squad to guard a convent. Many philippinos surrendered and Pascual spent the days giving out rations of rice. In the July of that year he was sent to Yap where he remained three years. Here his squad had to guard the jail of political prisoners.
They bought chickens and cockerels and organized cock-fights at which bets were placed of 50 centimos. He eventually won 500 centimos, enabling him to lend money to his friends. Sometimes he had to intervene when there were fights between the villages of the natives, the four officers and the Captain were not very efficient in these cases and on one occasion the Governor punished the entire village making them haul stones to build a colony. They were people easily controlled in this way.
Pascual, with permission of the Governor had brought 3 or 4 teachers to Yap. One of these was to become Pascual’s wife. At this moment in time, a letter arrived from his ‘novia” in Spain. She wrote that unless Pascual returned soon she was going to marry somebody else. It was that evening that he decided not to return to Spain.
As a result of the war between the United States and Spain, the girls took the opportunity of embarking on a Japanese ship for the island of Guam. Pascual decided to remain in Yap and so wrote to his girlfriend Asuncion in Guam to ask her to come to Yap to marry him. They married on December 6th. 1899. Then in 1901, having heard good things regarding Guam and having his wife’s family there, he moved to live there.
For the next forty years Pascual worked hard and prospered, he bought several businesses and developed them until they were thriving. As his family grew he became an important man on the island. Everything when well for Pascual until the start of the second world war, when the island of Guam was invaded and occupied by Japanese troops. Because Pascual opposed the Japanese invasion they were persecuted by the occupying force and were forced to go into the jungle areas and hide, in fear of their lives.
The Japanese right from their first days on Guam busied themselves in reinforcing the defenses of the island fearing an American attack. had enlarged existing caves in the cliffs where many could hide and where supplies of food could be stored. To protect from these supplies being stolen, they installed high voltage electric fencing. All of this work was carried out by the islanders, without food, without pay and forced to work - men and women between the ages of 7 and 70. They also built three aerodromes, planted many seed crops, none of which were used
From December 1943, with the threat of an American counter attack becoming more likely, the Japanese sent more troops and supplies and control and vigilance of the native population became more intense. During March, April and May 1944 squads of American planes attacked the island destroying planes on the ground and the aerodromes. The Japanese tried to rebuild, but the camorras refused to work as many of them had been killed in the bombings.
The Artero family and friends lived in fear unable to sleep, hiding out where they could in caves fearful of betrayal. But they never lost hope entirely and hid out with very little to eat or drink whilst the 80,000 Japanese occupied the island. Fourteen of them crowded into the small crevice in the rocks; together with Tweed they remained hidden there for 20 days. They had no communication, planes passed overhead and ships bombed the island incessantly.
At one point they were three days without food and one of Pascual daughters was breast-feeding a child. Other members of the family including his daughter Consuelo began looking for them.
The constant American bombing began to break the resistance of the Japanese, various villages burned and just in the city of Agafla the Artero family lost 60,000 dollars of their capital and two large houses, stores and the butchery. Finally on the 21st July the Americans arrived though the Artero family still hidden in their cave knew nothing of it.
It is perhaps interesting to mention that during more or less the same period of time that the Artero family were hiding out in Guam that back in the area of Spain from which Pascual s family originated many people were hiding out - some of these people would remain hidden until the first free elections in Spain after the death of Franco.
Pascual had spent more than 50 years in the east and at the age of 74, he decided to make a trip to Spain, So with his wife Teresa and daughter Maria and his son Juan they left Guam on
On the 15th August they were in Cairo and from there traveled by air to Rome where they hoped to visit the Pope. They had with them 1,000 dollars which they wished to present to the Pope but were not able to meet with him as he was out of Rome at that time. However they visited the Vatican, the Basilica and many churches. They were much impressed by the buildings of up to eight floors and at the elegance of the women and well dressed men everybody looked well fed and there were even many fat people.
They finally landed in Madrid with such emotion at being back on Spanish soil. At times Pascual was so happy he felt as if he were floating as he walked about. When they reached the cortijos of Macenas, he wanted to take off his shoes and walk in the dust. Everything seemed something special - the sun, the sea breeze and the sierra behind and the fountain where they drank water. Here the people were all Rancheros and so were self sufficient, having their own chickpeas, maize, potatoes, onions and all kind of fruit, also an abundance of animals, mules, donkeys, sheep, pigs and hens.
But there was no Priest, no school and no doctor. The nearest doctors were either in Mojácar or Carboneras and could take three days to make the journey - so needed to be sent for without delay. Neither place at that time had a priest.
The Artero family gave donations for the construction of a church to be dedicated to San Pascual Bailon and this church was built at the side of the road from Mojácar to Carboneras and its style is attributed to the style of churches in the Philippines.
When the Artero family returned to Madrid on the first stage of their homeward journey, they were met at the Hotel Astoria by a crowd of journalists who were always in search of items of news to fill their newspapers.
The next day a photograph of Pascual and his family appeared in the newspaper with the heading - The King of Guam is here in Madrid and there were a series of comments to laugh about. The title King of Guam was something of a journalist joke innocently made in the Hotel Astoria, though Pascual could certainly give himself the title of King of the Spanish in Guam.
As well as the donation given for the building of the church of San Pascual the Artero family distributed money between the 200 or more members of the family in gratitude for the hospitality received during their stay at Macenas.
On the 22nd September they left Madrid for Lisbon after a day and half completed the journey by air to New York. They were met by a nephew Jose and taken to his house for supper with plenty of Spanish wine brought back by Pascual. They went to the White House where they saw President Truman and then to San Francisco they had a very joyous time meeting up with many people who they knew from Guam.
When they finally arrived back in Guam, a large crowd was there to greet them so enthusiastic was the crowd that they broke through the barrier at the airport and nearly knocked Pascual to the ground. As for Guam itself- almost totally destroyed during WW2 the reconstruction was intense and everyone worked hard to rebuild - Five airports were built, colleges and schools. Many of the Artero family went to study in the United States and the family was one of those who cooperated most with the United States.
Pascual always put his trust in God and his life in God’s hands and considered himself blessed with a good and law abiding family.