On June 14, 1980, Franciscan Friar Cosme Spessotto was killed praying in the church of the parish of San Juan Nonualco, El Salvador, where he had served for many years.
An Italian by birth, he arrived in El Salvador in 1950 and spent his life in service of the poor until his martyrdom.
He served his flock, visiting the sick (as a good priest should), brought in the cultivation of grapes (as a good Italian might), helped some construct dignified houses, and buried the dead (as a good Christian should even though it might be dangerous). He even denounced the grave injustices committed by the Salvadoran Armed Forces.
In May he entered a hospital for a liver problem and was fond to suffer from leukemia. But he went back to visit his parish, where he was martyred by members of the Treasury Police.
He returned even though he had received three death threats, warning him not to return to San Juan Nonualco.
After his death this note was found among his possessions:
“I have a feeling that at one time or another fanatical persons can take away my life. I ask the Lord that at the opportune moment he give me the strength to defend the rights of Christ and his Church. To die a martyr would be a grace I don’t deserve. To wash away with the blood, poured out by Christ, all my sins, defects, and weaknesses of my past life would be a gracious and gratuitous gift of God.”
Another martyr who identified himself with the God of the poor.