Neocatechumenal Way Marta Obregón
By Javier Lozano
Text and photographs:  Revista Misión, article published in the 72nd edition.

The Servant of God Marta Obregón died at the age of 22, defending to the end what was most precious to her: her purity. The testimony of this young woman from Burgos, currently in the process of beatification, is causing great graces, especially in a world like today’s that does not give the body the value it has.

“I ask only one thing of You: that, whatever it may be, You give me sufficient strength to accept it and to fulfill it. May I never thereby turn away from You, but may I make ever stronger the cords that bind me to You. For I leave it to You alone to guide me. You alone, my God. You decide in me and I accept. This is how I will reach happiness”. This is what was written shortly before her death by the young Servant of God Marta Obregón (1969-1992), martyr of chastity, murdered on January 21, 1992 in Burgos at the age of 22 while defending her purity and virginity with all her strength. Her beatification process is already underway in Rome.

Faithful until death

Marta was kidnapped and murdered on January 21, feast of the virgin and martyr Saint Agnes, and in a very similar way to Saint Maria Goretti, also a virgin and martyr, since she received 14 stab wounds, making clear the deep bond that unites Marta with these two great saints of different times.

“To defend to the end the virtue of chastity is not understandable today in a world filled with a frenetic ideology that seeks pleasure and the immediate, where there is no room to think that this earthly life is only the first part of our life and that a second, eternal life awaits us. God, by creating us in his image and likeness, has made us eternal. That is why our body has an enormous value, far beyond the aesthetic or the practical, because it is the dwelling place of our spirit”, Carlos Metola, delegate of the party acting for the cause of beatification, explains to Misión Carlos Metola, delegate of the acting party for the cause of beatification.

“Martha had found God, but she continued to seek him more and more intimately.”

The young woman from Burgos had this very much in mind, so much so that in her choice between her life or her chastity, she did not hesitate to offer her life to protect her chastity. Metola points out that “defense against a rapist seems natural, and certainly it is a natural reflex, but when there is no other way to survive it is not so clear, because saving one’s own life is also a natural reflex, probably stronger than simply defending oneself”. But she resisted to the end in a martyrial way. Thus, she adds: “Martha did not submit because she already had her husband and she wanted to be faithful to him to the end!

In search of her beloved

Marta was a young woman full of life and enthusiasm, smiling and dedicated. She was studying journalism and was finishing her degree when she was murdered. Through her work she wanted to do the same as she did with her own life: “improve the world”. She was a spontaneous girl, always ready to help others. She had a strong experience of God that completely transformed her, especially in the last two years of her life, after overcoming a small crisis of faith that kept her away from the Church for a while.

“Marta was making a return of sorts, it was clear that God had detached her from everything: studies, boyfriend, projects… Her way of being, in my opinion, was that of a woman who had found God, but continued to seek him more and more intimately,” recounted a friend of hers, whose words were collected in the book Marta Obregón, ‘Hágase’. I belong to my beloved (Fonte Monte Carmelo, 2018), written by priest Saturnino López, diocesan postulator of her cause for beatification.

Her parents, José Antonio and María Pilar, who belonged to Opus Dei, transmitted the faith to her, and Marta was linked to the clubs of the Work until the very day of her death, because when she left the Arlanza Club in Burgos, and after saying goodbye to the Lord in the tabernacle of the chapel, she set out for home, where she would never arrive.

In this intense search for God, she had a very strong experience during a pilgrimage to Taizé. But it was soon after in the Neocatechumenal Way where this young woman found the answer to find the true “meaning of life”. On one occasion, a priest who taught her in high school approached Marta and asked her about her future plans as a journalist, which she had longed for. But his answer stuck in her mind: “At the moment there is only God in my head”.

The Virgin as a rolemodel

Moreover, a few months before her death, responding to a vocational call in her community in Burgos, she offered to give herself totally to God as an “itinerant” missionary, that is, as a lay evangelizer ready to proclaim the Gospel anywhere in the world.

“I need to follow you, Lord; when I turn away from you, I experience death.”

Following the example of the Virgin Mary, “Let it be done” became Marta’s favorite word. It was always on her lips. Her determination during her last years, as reflected in her writings and notes, was to fulfill God’s will at all times and to give everything to her Beloved, to Christ, to the One who had given meaning to her life. Thus, she wrote at the end of 1990: “The Christian is a joyful person who sows joy, thanks to the inner peace that he always carries and to the presence of God in his life. My greatest plea in this life together is: discernment and peace. May you increase my faith, I need to follow you, Lord; when I move away from you, I experience death”.

In love with the Eucharist

This intimate union was manifested through the real presence of Christ, which led Marta to write some brief reflections in some notes that showed how her spirit was overflowing: “Without prayer and without the Eucharist there is no saint who can endure”. And another in which she added: “The Eucharist is the life of our soul and the health of our death”.

A witness of her last night reported that, before going home, Marta went to the oratory of the club where she was studying, to say goodbye to the Lord, genuflected before the Blessed Sacrament and left, leaving her books and notes there, to return the next day after attending Mass and communion in a nearby church.

Thirty-two years have passed since her death and her life continues to be an example, especially for young people. She was cheerful, intelligent and knew how to have fun in a healthy way, but Marta Obregón is above all a model that today’s youth can look up to in order to discover the virtue of purity and the true value of the body.

“If only I could set an example…!” Carlos Metola indicates that there are numerous graces and favors produced by her intercession, and although there are many people of all kinds who have come to her, he highlights the large number of young people. There have been girls who have found their vocation to religious life thanks to her witness, inexplicable healings of illnesses and also help in serious family situations. “I see that God ‘demands’ more and more of me, and even in that I feel privileged. If only I could give an example with my life…!” wrote Marta, not knowing then that her witness would be a gift to the whole Church, and that her example is even more urgent today than when she became a martyr for purity.

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