José Tous y Soler was born in Igualada, in the province of Barcelona in the diocese of Vic, on 31 March 1811, the ninth of twelve children born to Nicolás Tous Carrera and Francisca Soler Ferrer. On the following day he was baptised in the parish church of Santa Maria de Igualada, and received the names José-Nicolás-Jaime. In 1817.
At the age of sixteen he entered the Capuchin Order on 18 February 1827 in Sarria. On 19 February 1828 José made his religious vows. He studied philosophy and theology in the friaries of Calella de la Costa, Gerona and Valls and was ordained deacon on 1 June 1833 in Tarragona. The following year, on 24 May he was ordained priest. He was then assigned to the friary of Santa Madrona in Barcelona, where he was caught up in the social unrest of 1835. In June of that same year, on account of the suppression of religious houses decreed by the government, he and his fellow friars were imprisoned in Monjuic fortress in Barcelona. Freed after 18 days he had to face one of the most difficult trials of his life – exclaustration and exile. This brought him first to France and then to northern Italy. In 1836 he returned to France, residing in Grenoble, Marseilles and in the diocese of Toulouse. There he completed his studies in moral theology, gaining the title of preacher, as was the established norm in the Capuchin Order at the time. During this period he exercised the priestly ministry as chaplain to the Benedictine nuns of Perpetual Adoration.
In 1843 he returned to Spain, hoping to take up again Capuchin fraternal life, however ‘liberal’ laws of the time prevented this. Obliged to live with his family, he remained faithful to the austere, penitential style of Capuchin life. He exercised the priestly ministry as a curate in the parish of Esparragure (Barcelona) and, from 1848, in the parish of San Francisco de Paola in Barcelona.
His pastoral care of the young ultimately led to the foundation in March 1850 of the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Good Shepherd inspired by the Rule of Saint Clare of Assisi and the Constitutions of Blessed Maria Angela Astoch (2 December) for her Capuchin Poor Clares. On 27 May 1850 the first house of the new Institute was opened at Ripoll (Gerona) and in 1858 at Capellades (Barcelona), which was to become the mother house of the new Institute. Subsequently houses were opened at San Quirico de Besora (Barcelona, 1860), Barcelona (1862) and Ciempozuelos (Madrid, 1865). Today the sisters are also present in presenti in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia e Cuba. The Congregation was affiliated to the Capuchin Order in 1905.
Br. José met sister death on 27 February 1871, while celebrating Mass in the school of the Mother of the Good Shepherd, Barcelona.
Download here the Circular Letter of Br. Mauro Jöhri, Capuchin Minister General, 25 March 2010, marking the beatification of José Tous y Soler.