Santo Hospital Civil de Busurto, Bilbao, at 12.45 p.m., December 18, 1936.
My dearly beloved Children,—At this gravest hour of my life 1 am writing to you to give you the counsels of a father who is about to die and who, therefore, would have you follow them to the letter, so that they may serve you in your lifetime. I have felt three strong loves—the love of God, of. Spain, and of that dear mother of yours who by God's will is left to you for you to take as a constant example of affection, love and self-denial. For the sake of those three pure loves I have always laboured with heart and soul; I have spent much time in prayer, I have always fought for Spain with the sacrifice of my blood and life, and above all other women I have adored your dear mamma, who has been my love of loves.
am leaving you now whilst you are still children, unable to realise that you are losing a father, an adviser, and a teacher; but mamma, who is so kind, will take my place and I will pray from Heaven for you and her.
The Main Things in Life
Work hard at your studies and grow up into men, the only way to which is by persevering work; nor must you ever forget that the main thing in life is faith in God to save our souls, for that is the end to which we came into this world. Be good Catholics, and the more fervent, the better; take no account of man in things concerning God, but confess him proudly in private and public as the most highly prized badge of honour you possess.
I leave you but little fortune, nor is there great need of it to live in peace with God; it might even do you harm, for virtue has ever been the offspring of privation and hardship. You have an example of that in your mother, who may serve you as a model of thrift and husbandry on the little that we had she was always able to manage with such skill that nothing was ever lacking in our home, which God has willed should now be broken up. You can never bestow too much affection on her nor make too great a sacrifice on her behalf; and 1 would beg of you, my children, when you grow up, to take my place all three of you and help her and, if praise God she should live for many years to come, 1 want the three of you together to be her standby and support in her old age.
To His Eldest Sort I want no rivalry or strife amongst you, brothers. You, Jose Luis, whom I have lately been in the habit of calling Puchito after that little sister of yours whom, please God, I shall be seeing shortly, though the eldest, you will have to waive your rights occasionally in benefit of your younger brothers and take my place as head of the family; guided ever by your mother's counsel, you may be sure of living happily together. You, Juan Ignacio and Evaristo, must obey-your brother for he holds authority from me; and all three of you must protect and obey your mother in every way and in all things whether right or wrong, whether she have reason on her side or not, for the supreme reason that she is your mother.
Let perfect uprightness be your standard of conduct, and duty your watchword, in whatever walk of life you choose. What you do, do with a will and with the thought of God uppermost in your mind, for He rewards a hundredfold.
" Help Your Mother "
My pecuniary misfortunes have left you in a precarious position, and all three of you will have to come to the assistance of your mother. The greatest satisfaction a son can feel is to be able to repay his mother for all the care she bestowed on him in his cradle, his childhood, his youth and later in his life. You should venerate her for her many virtues, of which she has given me such abundant proof in the brief years that God has let us spend together. She has always stood by my side and, when I perchance grew faint, would step into the breach and carry on the struggle.
I die, my dear children, for the consolidation of the Catholic Faith and the grandeur of Spain, and my sole regret is the thought that the sacrifice I am making may not be so fruitful as I had dreamed it might be. I have spared no effort on behalf of Spain and, although sons of her are now depriving me of life, I leave you three behind to offer up your lives on her altar and would have you bear constantly in mind that your father, who loves you to distraction, never hesitated an instant when called upon, togikacrifice his ease, his peace and all he had, even his very life, so that you should have handed down to you a great and Catholic Spain, as great as in the times when the sun never set on
her soil. Suffering death on behalf of those causes, I proclaim as my proudest title to consideration that I have lived and die an Apostolic Roman Catholic and, please God, the last breath of my life