Martyrdom at Bagumbayan
During the last 24 hours of Rizal’s life, he was meeting visitors in his cell in fort Santiago, Where he is secretly finishing his farewell poem. He is also destined to die for his beloved country which he called “Pearl of the Orient Seas” in his poem and “Pearl of the Orient” in an article “Unfortunate Philippines” in The Hongkong Telegraph on September 24, 1892.
Last Hours of Rizal
At 6:00 A.M. of December 29, 1986, Captain Rafael Dominguez, read the death sentence to Rizal who would be shot at the back by a firing squad at 7:00 A.M. in Bagumbayan.
At 7:00 A.M., Rizal was moved to the prison Chapel where he was visited by Father Miguel Saderra Mata and Father Luis Viza, a Jesuit teacher.
At 7:15 A.M., Rector Saderra left. Rizal Reminded Fr. Viza of the statuette of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which he had carved as an Ateneo student. Fr. Viza then gave the statuette to Rizal. Rizal happily received it and placed it on his writing table.
At 8:00 A.M., Fr. Antonio Rosell arrived to relieve Father Viza. He and Rizal had breakfast together. Lt. Luis Taviel de Andrade came and Rizal thanked his services.
At 9:00 A.M., Fr, Fedirico Faura arried and reminded Rizal that he would someday lose his head for writing the Noli.
At 10:00 A.M., Fathers Jose Vilaclara (Rizal’s teacher at Ateneo) and Vicente Balayuer9Jesuit missionary in Dapitan) visited Rizal. After them, Santiago Mataix, a Spanish journalist for the newspaper “El Heraldo de Madrid,” intervied Rizal.
From 12:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Rizal was left alone in his cell where he finished his farewell poem and hid it inside his Alcohol cooking stove, which was given to him by Paz Pardo de Tavera( Wife of Juan Luna) in Paris in 1890. At the same time, Rizal wrote his last letter to Proffesor Bluementritt in German where he told him that he would leave a book for Bluementritt as a remembrance.
At 3:00 P.M., Father Balaguer dicussed with Rizal about his retraction of the Anti-Catholic ideas in his writings and membership in Masonry.
At 4:00 P.M., Rizal’s mother arrived. Trinidad entered the cell and Rizal gave him the alcohol cooking stove which contains Rizal’s farewell poem. After the departure of Doña Teodora and Trinidad, Fathers Vilaclara and Estanislao entered the cell, followed by Father Rosell.
At 6:00 A.M.,Don Silvino Lopez Tuñon, Dean of Manila cathedral, came.
At 8:00 P.M. was Rizal’s last supper. He informed Captain Dominguez that he forgave his enemies, including Military judges.
At 9:30 P.M., Rizal was visited by Don Gaspar Caestaño, the fiscal of the Royal Audiencia of Manila. At 10:00 P.M. of December 29, the draft of the retraction sent by the anti-Filipino Archbishop Bernardo Nozaleda was submitted by Father Balaguer. But Rizal rejected it which led Father Pio Pi, Superior of the Jesuit Society in the Philippines, to prepare a shorter retraction.
The retraction was controversial. And a debate between two hostile groups of Rizalists is futile and irrelevant. Futile in the sense that no amount of evidence can convince the Masonic Rizalists that Rizal retracted and the Catholic Rizalists that Rizal did not retract. As a famous saying goes: “For those who believe-on justification in necessary; for the skeptics, whose criterion for belief is not in their minds but in their wills-no justification is possible.” It is likewise irrelevant because it does not matter at all to the greatness of Rizal. Whether he retracted or not, the fact that he was the greatest Filipino hero.
At 3:00A.M. of December 30, 1896, Rizal heard Mass, confessed his sins, and took Holy Communion.
At 5:30 A.M., Josephine Brackmen, Accompanied by Josefa, arrived. Josephine, with tears in her eyes, bade him farewell. Rizal embraced her for the last time, and before she left, Rizal gave her a last gift- a religious book, Imitation of Christ by Father Thomas a Kempis, Which he autographed: “To my dear unhappy wife,...
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