Bernard Francis de Hoyos, S.J.
While still a scholastic with the Jesuits at the College of St. Ambrose at Valladolid, Bernard de Hoyos received in 1733 several communications from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ordained a priest, he died a holy death a few months later (1735). Father de Hoyos ended a short but fruitful apostolate at the early age of twenty four.
His process of beatification was opened in 1902. He was beatified on 18 April 2010 in Valladolid.
Bernard was born on 21 August 1711 in Torrelobatón, Valladolid, in north-western Spain. He did his initial schooling in his native village, and then attended the Jesuit Colleges of Medina del Campo and Villagarcia de Campos. After college, he sought admission to the Society of Jesus but was told to wait a year because he was only fourteen. Then, though he had still not reached the mandatory age of fifteen, he was granted a dispensation to enter the Novitiate at Villagarcia on 11 July 1726. Bernard spent nine years of his Jesuit life in formation, doing his novitiate (1726-1728), Philosophy at Medina del Campo (1728-1731), and Theology at the College of St. Ambrose in Valladolid (1731-1735). He was ordained on 2 January 1735 and had a short spell of pastoral ministry. He began his Tertianship at the College of St. Ignatius in Valladolid in September 1735. He contracted typhus on 18 November and succumbed to it on 29 November 1735.
The mission of spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The records of his spiritual experiences, which he kept for his use and to help in communicating them to his spiritual director, reveal the depth of his spirituality and how the Lord was preparing him to carry out His mission. Bernard’s journals put his visions in perspective and provide us with several insights.
In October 1732 he said: “I see that everything in my heart is moving towards God, drawn like iron to a magnet. It desires only God, searches only for God, and longs only for God….”
On 4 May 1733 Bernard received a decisive mission from Jesus: “I wish for you to spread the Devotion to My Sacred Heart throughout all of Spain.” Bernard experienced total immersion into the Heart of Christ. He notes in his journal: “From this moment, I have been submerged and absorbed by the Divine Heart. As for eating, sleeping, studying and the rest, my soul appears not to recognize anything but the Heart of its Beloved; and while I am before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, then break loose the torrents of His choicest favours.”
On 14 May he obtained what is known as the «Great Promise» from the Sacred Heart: “I will reign in Spain with more veneration than in other places.” Bernard consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 12 June 1733, using the same formula, written by St. Claude de la Colombiere fifty years earlier.
In March 1734 Bernard noted in his journal: “The divine vessel of the Sacred Heart was shown to me, converted into a fiery volcano… Then Jesus deigned to hurl from the centre of this fire of love into my heart something like a fiery flake, asserting… that this gift of His I could pay and settle the debts to His Heart and the injuries committed against it. I offered the gift to Jesus and His Heart itself , and I gathered that He was satisfied with it.”
“Bernard was the first among Spanish Jesuits,” — according to the former postulator general Fr. Paulo Molinari, S.J.,— “to grasp intuitively the transcendent nature of the cult of the Sacred Heart as means of personal sanctification and effective apostolic tool. For him it is in substance the cult of the love of Jesus, Incarnate Word, Redeemer, which reveals in itself the love of the Most Holy Trinity loving us with a heart of flesh in virtue of the hypostatic union, and presenting the heart as a symbol of this love to animate us to imitate him and love him in return.”