Sabata (from sabata, the Catalan word for shoe) decided as a child he was intended for the priesthood and was entered into a seminary, which he later left, unable to live up to the vow of celibacy. Born in 1953, this restless child of a bourgeois Catalan Catholic family from La Bisbal was captivated by the charismatic personality of a local priest and decided to follow in his footsteps, despite his father’s misgivings, who believed that at the age of nine he did not know enough to make such a monumental decision. The village priest, a dynamic character, impressed Sabata, as did Catalanism and the sense of brotherhood. He also discovered repression at first hand at this time: camping near the border they were surrounded one night by Civil Guard troops; on another occasion, during a night-time crossing, a cheeky retort to a challenge from two police officers earned him a slap in the face. His ‘radicalisation began in the seminary, as he graduated from child to adolescent in the company of worker priests, followers of Liberation Theology and reading banned books from France. Most people in the border area had relatives in France and the proximity of the frontier made contact that much easier.