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Date   27th July 2008 Type   El Mundo

Rome has taken the first step towards the beatification of a 22-year-old girl from Burgos who was murdered in 1992

It would be the second case of this kind since St. Agnes in the third century.[...]




[...] How far away death seems when life smiles at you…Lively, attractive and witty, “Marta attracted like a magnet. She entered a room and in an instant she was talking to somebody. She triumphed wherever she went. Everyone wanted to be with her, talk to her, know how she was”, remembers her boyfriend Javier.

At her 22 years of age, she had rediscovered God- after the classic doubts of adolescence- and met the love of her life, a member of the Catholic Circle, Francisco Javier Hernando.“Life is great, Cris, but much shorter then what we think”, she wrote to a friend from a spiritual retreat in Taizé situated in the west of France. She just didn’t know how right she was.


This case greatly touched the public and that same week a certain magazine started its account like so: “Marta is now in heaven”, a title that is, if anything, prophetical.  With the approval of Rome, the young Burgos girl, Marta Obregón, has now received the title “servant of God”

Sixteen years later, the Church wishes to certify that Marta Obregón is a saint. The paths of the victim and the tyrant cross again, this time in the canonical court. The Archbishop has started the process of her beatification. 
Marta grew up in a middle class family in a very religious atmosphere but without impositions. Her mother,[...],supernumerary of Opus Dei, tells us “We have always educated our children in our values but in an atmosphere of complete freedom. In fact, Marta did not enter Opus Dei but instead she became a member of the Neocatechumenals.
“When she was 17, Marta went through the typical crisis of youth, the time of the subversion. “Let me stumble, I’ll soon get up”, she used to say to her mother. She broke with her religious practices and started a relationship with a young veterinary student who was older then her. But the idyll ended a few months after it had begun and at the same time she got into the habit of frequenting a centre of Opus Dei.
The night of her death, Marta was returning from that same centre, club Arlanza. A few days beforehand she had confessed to Cristina Borreguero, the head of the club, that she was afraid and had the sensation that someone was following her. “The night of the 21st of January, we talked from 20:30 until 21:40. She was very afraid. She sensed something. I tried to take away importance from it and I told her to trust in God. I even told her an anecdote about St. Teresa. We prayed before the Blessed Sacrament and she left.” 

“Saint” of purity to whom many people already pray using the prayer which figures on her prayer card and on the website



Marta could be the first Spanish martyr of chastity from modern times and the second in the whole world. Before her is St. Agnes, who was decapitated in the third century when she was only 13 years old for refusing to maintain sexual relationships with the roman governor.  

Saturnino López, professor of Theology in the Faculty of Northern Spain,   is studying this case. In modern times the only case anterior to Marta is that of St. Maria Goretti, who also died in order to defend her chastity. She was born in 1890 in Italy. When she was only 12 years old, a young 18 year old boy, Alejandro, tried to rape her. Maria resisted and called for help. The rapist then stabbed her 14 times, the same amount of times that Marta was stabbed.


Cured from her rebellious adolescence, on beginning her studies of journalism in the university of Madrid, Marta was once again her own self. Just as respectful to her parents and as faithful to her religion. She lived in the residence Tagaste of the Augustinian missionaries and Her interest in spiritual things grew once more.  

In search for meaning, one summer she decided to go to Taizé. This community is a place of encounter and prayer for thousands of young people. “She felt completely touched by the Lord,” says her mother. Marta herself wrote from there to her friend Cristina: “This is a sort of marvellous “summer camp” with about 6,000 people and you feel at peace and you discover the meaning of life. God is the most important in my life, my love. Life is just great, Cris, but much shorter then we think.” It was the summer of 1990 and what Marta didn’t know was that she was finishing up the last years of her existence. In the meantime, she continued to search for God and the love of her life. She found God in the Neocatechumenals and the love of her life she thought she had found in Francisco Javier.  

“They made a nice couple,” remembers her mother. But she “caught your attention.” Good looking and elegant, she measured 1.75 meters and weighed 65 kilos. Friendly, dynamic, communicative, but never showing off her talents such as her voice which many compared to that of Barbara Streisand, or her many qualities as a Journalist which she barely had time to develop.  

On finishing her career she returned to Burgos and started to take the first steps in her profession. She wrote various articles against drugs and in favour of peace for the Burgos Diary. She redacted well, had a good voice and she looked good in front of the cameras, moving gracefully. 

Due to her beatification, the old wounds that never heal have opened up once again for Marta’s mother. “A mother never forgets and now, with all this, the pain is revived. On one hand I feel happy because I have faith, but on the other hand it is very hard. If my daughter is not in heaven, well then heaven doesn’t exist. I am happy that the Church recognizes that she could be an example for young people of today. An example of a modern girl, not at all dull, but full of values and interior life.  

Steps towards heaven 

With the approval of Rome, Marta has now received the title “servant of God”, the first step in the complicated staircase which leads to the altars. 

The second step will be that of “venerable”; the third is blessed and the fourth, the last and definitive one, is that of saint. 

To pass all the steps it must be proven that she was martyred for defending her chastity. This issue is being taken care of by the professor of Theology in the faculty of northern Spain, Saturnino López Santidrián. “The process via martyrdom can be because of hatred of the faith or for defending virtue, in this case the virtue of chastity,” he explains. This priest has already spent months collecting all types of documents, from her notes to her songs and to the memories of the many people who knew her.  

A new saint of purity to whom many people already pray using the prayer which figures on her prayer card and on the website “Lord Jesus, You made the young Marta be an example of joyful and generous life, and you strengthened her in human love and in the defense of her chastity; grant me by her intercession, the favour that I now ask of you…(make your petition…) Amen”.


Many people now pray using the prayer card of Marta Obregón.