Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
Today is the feast day of Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J., who was martyred 80 years ago today in Mexico.
Pro was born in Guadalupe in 1891. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1911, the same year that Mexican president Porfirio Daz was overthrown. In the resulting chaos, an anti-clerical government came to power in the country and the Jesuit novices had to flee to Los Gatos, California. Pro eventually found his way to Belgium, where he was ordained in 1925. A year later, he returned to Mexico to find a church suffering under what writer Graham Greene called the fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth. In his book The Lawless Roads, Greene described Pros clandestine efforts on behalf of Mexicos Catholics:
Within two months of Pro's landing, President Calles hadbegun the fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of
Pro was finally captured by the government in November1927. President Calles ordered himexecuted by firing squad. As he wasbeing led to his execution, he forgave the soldiers. Declining a blindfold, he stood with his armsout in imitation of the crucified Christ. His last words were Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!).
Pro was beatified in 1998 by Pope John Paul II. His story is an inspiring one and is worth remembering as we prepare to celebrateSundays feast of Christ the King.