Friday, November 23, 2012

Viva Cristo Rey! - Blessed Miguel Pro

Picture source

I have translated the following which is from the site where the above picture was found.

Miguel was a restless boy.  He liked to make mischief...  When he was 7 years old on March 19, 1898, he made his First Communion.  Father Mateo Correa, who gave little Miguel his First Communion was also a future martyr.  He was murdered on February 6, 1927.  Miguel's First Communion Day was an unforgettable day for Miguel and his family...

He was a very happy child, hardworking and optimistic.  However, he turned the household upside down!  One day he overheard his mother's anguished cry:  "Oh my God!  Convert this son of mine!"  And the youth who loved his good mother very much gave her a hug and said "Mother:  My middle name is Augustine, and Saint Augustine was a great convert.  You will see that I too will convert."  From that day on, there was a remarkable change in his conduct.

He had a predilection for music and poetry.   The elderly women who heard his student speeches which he would give in the evenings would say:  "This one would really should serve was a preaching priest."  He and his siblings would organize a small orchestra which would enliven the whole neighborhood.

For a while he studied far from Concepción but because of his illness he could not continue with his studies and had to return home to his family's home.  His father took Miguel to work with him at his place of business.  But he continued with his studies regularly.  He enjoyed chatting with the miners and in that way he became familiar with the problems of the poor village and became close to the those in need.

At the age of 20, the young man felt unsatisfied with his life.  He felt a great emptiness.  Fortunately for Miguel, the Jesuit fathers arrived and invited the youth of the village to a three day reflection living among the Jesuits.  It was there that Miguel found the peace and answers to his questions.

Miguel began to change during those days of prayer and living with the other young people his age and the wise guidance from the Jesuits.  The maternal intercession of the Blessed Mother also helped guide Miguel.  His foot got caught in the train tracks with a train fast approaching.  He prayed to the Blessed Mother for her intercession.  He was able to remove his foot just as the train passed by.  He promised the Blessed Mother that he would sacrifice in having no contact with young ladies for one year as his way of thanking her for her intercession.  He kept his promise.

He felt very empty and depressed when his two sisters Luz and Concepción entered the religious life.  Finally, he decided to become a Jesuit.  He too felt a great desire to enter a community.

In 1911 his father accompanied him to the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano,Michoacán, a village near Zamora.  For someone who was very restless, the silence and seriousness of the novitiate was very hard.  The novice master invited him to try it for at least six months.  So Miguel who did everything wholeheartedly, dedicated himself to prayer, meditation and spiritual readings and became a very happy and sympathetic novice.  He also was very pious and completed all his duties.

In 1913 Miguel took his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and is admitted as a Jesuit.  Around that time, a revolution broke out in Mexico and Miguel's father Agustin lost his business when it passed on to the hands of the guerrillas.  The Jesuit novice house was invaded and the religious had to leave wearing disguises.  Miguel traveled as a cowboy through the cornfields and mountains until he reached Guadalajara.  The superiors on realizing the danger that the novices faced sent them to the United States to continue their studies.  But the fact that Miguel does not understand English brought him much trouble and so he was sent to Spain, a neutral country during the First World War (1914-1918).

Taking advantage of his natural qualities, Miguel disguised himself as a clown, an actor, a cowboy, a tightrope walker and caricature artist.  In this manner he distracted his companions and superiors during those worldwide horrible and anguished years.  During that time, in 1917,  the Asian Flu arrived bringing with it miles and miles of graves of those killed by the flu.  Miguel went to the places where the many, many sick were and he entertained them with his comical ways.  The sick often requested that the young seminarian be send to them so that they could help pass the long and monotones time they had to spent sick in bed.

After finishing up his philosophy classes in Spain, he was sent to Granada, Nicaragua for two years of teaching, "The most difficult years." were Miguel Pro's own words.

He arrived at the Sacred Heart College of Central America which was only halfway constructed.  It did not have pavement and the offices and classrooms had dirt floors.  The tropical undergrowth reached the walls and the critters both large and small were everywhere. Sometimes they were scorpions. Other times they were mosquitoes, beside all that was the extreme tropical heat...

Sometimes he retired discretely to his room where he could suffer alone stomach pains.  He then returned to his happy and friendly self...

The Jesuits sent him to Belgium to see how the priests worked with the workers, and then to Paris to know the social ministries of the Church.

Since he continued with strong stomach pain, tests were performed and finally it was discovered that he had an ulcer and need surgery.  He was hospitalized several times because of the pain he suffered. He had three operations.

On February 8, 1926, his mother Josefa died.  Father Pro wrote:  "On day 10, I received a cable telling me that my mother had died on the 8th.  Providentially, I received a letter two days earlier, preparing me by telling me that she had stomach cancer which had spread to her liver and heart.  The doctors had lost all hope"...

Finally the day of his ordination arrived and he was ordained a priest in Enghien, Belgium in 1925.  Because of his poor health, his superiors considered sending him back to Mexico so he could die in his own country.  God had other plans for him. He would not die because of illness.

The persecution situation in Mexico raged.  President Elias Calles had proposed ending the Catholic religion and banned all public religious activity scrupulously enforcing anti-Catholic laws. Many priests had been deported. Father Pro, knowing the dangers that could arise on the journey from Europe to Mexico, came disguised as a merchant and farmer. Customs did not realize that he was a priest and let him go.

In Mexico the Catholics united to defend religious liberty and they founded "The National Defense League of Religious Liberty"...

One day Father Pro was in a taxi and realized that the police had been following. He told the driver: "Continue traveling slowly. But do not stop. I jumped out of  the moving car. "And went on the pavement, like a drunk walking side by side down the street. The police thought he was a drunk, went on saying: "That can not be a priest." Another day in a pharmacy upon realizing the police were coming after him, and with the consent of a young lady, took her arm, and like a pair of sweethearts went away from there without the police might suspect that it was the priest who were seeking...

He had a great devotion to the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit and the Blessed. Virgin. He celebrated Mass with great devotion, but always in secret because the government had banned Catholic celebrations. He would bring communion to Catholics who were prisoners, and gifts to the prison guards so that they would be treated better. ... As for the Blessed Virgin,  the affection he felt for her as a good son to the best of mothers and Mother of God saved him and saved his life many times...

He exercised his priesthood without any fear of government threats. He came to give communion to 1600 daily. Disguised, living in different houses, exploring the city by bicycle..., organized a livelihood for nearly 100 homeless families for political revenge and religious hatred of Plutarco Calles.  He preached  retreats, married, baptized, and converted communists, anarchists, gave hundreds of extreme unctions ... hesitant He sustained faltering vocations, organized a system of vouchers to redeem money between Catholics and to put more than thirty orphans among adoptive families.

Despite his boundless ingenuity to go unnoticed by the police, eventually he was arrested and accused of involvement in a bomb attack against General Obregon and  political godfather  and successor to "elected" Calles. Along with his brothers Humberto and Roberto they were in hiding, fearing to be accused in a fact that no one knew anything, ...

The charge of attempted tyrannicide, Luis Segura Vilches, surrendered under promise that the Pro brothers would be released, proclaiming their innocence in his statement. However, he, his accomplice and the Pro brothers were shot under the same charge. Roberto was released thanks to the good offices of the Argentine ambassador, who tried to save the three Pro, pressing the government of Plutarco Elias Calles, who had-no one knows for sure-promised release no intention of keeping. So Miguel and Humberto Pro were killed in hatred of the Faith.  Father Pro before being shot told to present his last wish: "I want you to leave me a few moments to pray and entrust to the Lord". And at the time they were going to shoot spread his arms wide and shouted: "Viva Cristo Rey!". It was on November 23, 1927.

Today the remains of the Jesuit martyr are in the parish of the Holy Family, where they rest, waiting for the day when the Pope declares him a saint.

Devotion to Father Pro is widespread.  The parish of the Holy Family, located in Colonia Roma Mexico City, has hundreds of devotees visiting daily and coming not only from that country but around the world, including Turkey, India, China, Canada and the United States.

The following was shared by Mary Jane:

A Novena in Honor of Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.

Holy Mexican Martyr
Feast is November 23
Blessed martyr of Christ the King, Father Miguel Agustin Pro, you are a special patron of those who labor, those in illness, depression or despair. You are also a friend of musicians, the captives, and all who work toward social justice. Your beloved brothers, the Jesuits, revere you and count you among the ranks of their saints. You love your people of Mexico and all those loyal to the Church. I thank the Sacred Heart for loving you so dearly. I pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe whom you love so dear, to intercede for the cause of your canonization. I pray that you remember me in your eternal and well-deserved rejoicing, and also my needs: [state needs] Through your courageous life and martyrdom you have won the crown of life everlasting. Remember me, Blessed Miguel, for I remember you. Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

IMPRIMATUR: Most Reverend John F. Donoghue
Archbishop of Atlanta
December 21, 2004
Chaplet of Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ

This chaplet has the Imprimatur of Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston - Houston, August 13, 1995.

Blessed Miguel, before your death, you told your friend to ask you for favors when you were in Heaven. I beg you to intercede for me and in union with Our Lady and all the angels and saints, to ask Our Lord to grant my petition, provided that it be God's Will. {mention the request}

We honor and adore the triune God. The Gloria.
We ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Come Holy Ghost.
We pray as Jesus taught us to pray. The Our Father.
We venerate with love the Virgin Mary. Hail Mary.
All you angels, bless you the Lord forever. Saint Joseph, Saint {name of your patron}, and all the saints, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel, high spirited youth, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, loving son and brother, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, patient novice, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, exile from your homeland, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, prayerful religious, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, sick and suffering, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, defender of workers, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, courageous priest in hiding, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, prisoner in jail, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, forgiver of persecutors, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.
Blessed Miguel, holy martyr, pray for us. Viva Christo Rey.

What to do on Bl. Miguel Pro's feastday:
read more on his life:

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