Ceferino Giménez Malla
Ceferino Giménez Malla (1861-1936; variously spelled Zefferino Jimenez Malla), popularly "El Pelé" ("the Strong One" or "the Brave One") was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 4 May 1997. A member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, he was martyred on 9 August 1936 in Spain.
El Pelé was born to to Juan Jiménez and Josefa Malla, a Catholic Gypsy family. Sources differ about the place and date of his birth: in 1861 or 1865 and in Benavente de Segria, Lérida or in Alcolea de Cinca near Barbastro in Huesca/Aragon. The family supported itself by basket-making.. He was baptized at Fraga..
Ceferino's father chose his son's wife, in accordance with Roma tradition. Following his marriage in a traditional Roma ceremony to Teresa Castro, Ceferino worked as an animal trader, reputedly honest and also successful at resolving problems among Kalòs (Spanish nomads) and between Kalòs (Spanish nomads) and others. In 1912 Ceferino and Teresa's marriage was blessed in church. The couple did not have children, but after Ceferino's father abandoned the family, they cared for Ceferino's younger brothers and sisters and later reared a niece.
Although Ceferino, like many Roma of his age, never learned to read or write, he gathered children informally to teach them Bible stories and basic prayers. He became a Third Order Franciscan in 1926 and from 1931 regularly attended Nocturnal Eucharistic Devotion.
After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil in July 1936, Ceferino saw a priest being arrested and spoke up on the priest's behalf. The soldiers turned on him, found a rosary and a pocket knife in his possession, and imprisoned him at a local monastery, which had been taken over for use as a prison. There he was kept with 350 others. An anarchist who knew him told him that surrendering his rosary would almost certainly result in his being freed; he refused and, according to witnesses, prayed harder.
On August 9 Ceferino and others were taken by truck to a cemetery. The driver later said that throughout the journey Ceferino continually called out, "Long live Jesus the King!" Ceferino, still holding his rosary, and the others were shot and their bodies placed in a common grave. His body has never been recovered.
Of the approximately 3,000 Rom who attended the beatification ceremony in Rome, some had traveled from as far away as Slovakia and Brazil 
For more detailed information, see Ceferino Jiménez Malla – "El Pelé" at ROMBASE
The two images at right were retrieved from Catequesis preparada para el encuentro de Gitanos, Conferencia Episcopal Española
- Rombase biographical page by Marta Miklušáková, retrieved on 6 August 2008
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops biographical page, retrieved on 6 August 2008
- Rombase, ibid.
- Patron Saint of the Rom and Sinti, retrieved on 6 August 2008]
- USCCB, ibid.
- Rombase, ibid.
- USCCB, ibid.
- Rombase, Ibid.
- USCCB, Ibid.
- New York Times: Spanish Martyr Is First Gypsy Beatified by Catholic Church, May 5, 1997; retrieved 6 August 2008.