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21-year-old terminally ill Spanish Carmelite dies on eve of feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Friar Pablo María de la Cruz Alonso Hidalgo and his family. / Credit: Diocese of Salamanca / Oscar García

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 18, 2023 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

A 21-year-old Carmelite friar who had been admitted to a Carmel in Spain “in articulo mortis” (at the point of death) died July 15, the eve of the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

“We inform you that this morning in the Carmelite Convent of St. Andrew in Salamanca, Friar Pablo María de la Cruz Alonso Hidalgo has given his life to the Father,” prior provincial Friar Salvador Villota Herrero said in a statement.

“‘I am the Resurrection and the Life,’ says the Lord. Those who have died with Christ, our Love and our Hope, will rise with him,” Villota wrote.

Alsono was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, when he was 16 years old, but he still felt the call to religious life, reported the Spanish news outlet La Gaceta de Salamanca.

“May the souls of the faithful departed, especially our brother Pablo María de la Cruz, rest in peace. Commend him [to the Lord] in your good works and prayers. Present him to the Lord and to our Most Holy Mother of Carmel. Amen,” Villota concluded.

Alonso made his profession as a Carmelite on Sunday, June 25, just three weeks ago, in the church of the Carmel de Abajo in Salamanca, Spain. An exception was made for him in light of his impending death.

A few days prior, he had been admitted into the novitiate in a ceremony over which Villota presided at the University Hospital Clinic of Salamanca. Alonso’s parents, the novice master, and his spiritual director were also present.

Before his entry into the Carmelite order, the young man posted an invitation on social media stating his determination, which he headed with a quote from the Carmelite St. Titus Brandsma, who was killed by the Nazis in Dachau: “The cross is my joy, not my sorrow.” The post showed Alonso’s hand holding a cross.

“It is my desire to consecrate myself to God and live as an offering to Jesus Christ. My illness is progressing rapidly. From God we come and to God we go. The Father in his infinite mercy will soon call me to be with him,” the young religious wrote.

The website of the Carmelite Province of Aragón, Castilla, and Valencia said that the name he chose as a religious, Friar Pablo María de la Cruz (Paul Mary of the Cross) was due to his desire to be “joined to our Mother the Virgin Mary and to Christ crucified, because he feels that his only glory is ‘the cross of Christ.’”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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