St. Inocencio Canoura Arnau was born into a farming family on March 10, 1887 in Santa Lucia del Valle de Oro, Diocese of Mondoñedo (region of Galicia, North-Western Spain). He learned about the Passionists during a popular mission that was preached in his area. He felt a strong attraction to priestly and religious life and entered the Congregation with great determination in Bilbao. On July 27, 1905 he made religious profession and on September 20, 1913 at the age of twenty-six he was ordained a priest in Oviedo.
He was very intelligent and in the early years of his priesthood he was a teacher of literature, philosophy and theology, and at the same time he had a fruitful apostolate around the monastery where he resided. He was esteemed for the clarity of his teachings and for his erudition. Above all, Inocencio was amiable. He was a kind-hearted man and this made his intelligence and his teaching even more pleasing and enjoyable. Afterwards he especially devoted himself to preaching. He had an intense and fruitful apostolate among the working class, a difficult and risky environment, which was often hostile and not immune from rabid sectarianism. Nevertheless, Inocencio worked with courage, humility and self-sacrifice. His confreres admired his spirit of penitence, his love for Our Lady and his charity towards the sick for whom he selflessly gave of himself, being ready to make any sacrifice.
In September 1934, a month before his martyrdom, Inocencio was transferred to the convent of Mieres in Northern Spain, in the region of Asturias. The following month the miners of this region initiated a revolution. On 4 October, Inocencio went to the school of the Brothers of the Christian Schools for ministry. In the early morning of the following day, while celebrating Mass, he was arrested and imprisoned by the revolutionaries. Along with him were also arrested eight religious of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. They were condemned without trial, their only crime was that they were religious. They were executed on the night of 9 October. Inocencio, together with the Brothers, were canonized on November 21, 1999 by Pope John Paul II.
God, you made the martyr Saint Inocencio witness to the faith in his education of children and young people, even to the point of undergoing death; grant by his merits and prayers that there may greatly abound in us dedication to proclaiming the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…