Blessed Garcia Martinez





Of the Blessed Frà Don Garcia Martinez we have learned only that he was of Portuguese nationality, a Commander of the five Kingdoms of Spain, and that his life was very holy. That is a all. But that is enough to cause the good people to come to pray at his tomb in the church of the monastery at Leza, the home of the Conventual Chaplains of the Obedience of our Order. Miracles began with his death in 1286.

Two of these miracles were particularly remembered because they were spectacular.

When Doña Leonora, sister of King John of Portugal, made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, she stopped at Leza with all her retinue, which included no less than three bishops – those of Visieu, Coimbra, and Oporto. The Princess venerated the relics of the holy Knight for three days. She gave liberal alms in his honour; then, her devotion satisfied, she resumed her return journey with all her train.

Now, as she had just left the city, a man whose legs had been no more than skin and bones dragged himself up to the tomb of the blessed Knight, prayed with fervour, and fell asleep. When he awoke from his lethargy, he was cured; his legs had been made whole and normal. Mad with joy, he ran down on to the plain on which the train of the Infanta snaked along, and, uttering shouts, told of the great miracle, to the great astonishment of the lords. Everyone retraced his steps and returned to the monastery. For nine days, Doña Leonora remained in prayer and had Masses celebrated and divine services performed in thanksgiving. An official document was drawn up to confirm the wonder. It was signed by the Princess, the bishops, and the lords of the retinue.

At another time, another miracle of a very medieval kind again upset the little city. A blacksmith of Leza, too, quick to listen to the gossip and tales of evil tongues, began to suspect his young and beautiful wife of having betrayed her marriage vows. Recriminations followed brutal remarks, shouts succeeded the recriminations, and threats (or perhaps worse?) came after the cries. The woman greatly exasperated invoked the Blessed García and, as proof of her innocence, took in her hand a glowing ploughshare from the flames of the forge, and went calmly to place it on the tomb of the saint.

Before those pretty fingers miraculously untouched, the husband had to admit his error. We hope that he knew how to apologize and do sweet penance for his evil thoughts.

In the seventeenth century, there could still be seen hanging near the sepulchre of the Blessed Knight the crutches of the cripple and the ploughshare which still bore witness to the power, the understanding goodness, and the virtuous hidalgo’s courtesy toward women.