I’ve heard about saints all my life. They are supposed to inspire us to become holy. It wasn’t until I lived in Mexico and Barcelona and walked the streets of recently martyred saints that I realized their power to change me.
My father-in-law was a book lover and over the years he sent us several books that he enjoyed or thought we should read. When we moved to Monterrey, Mexico in 1999 he sent us three books: Blood Drenched Altars, Mexican Martyrdom, and Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Mexican Martyr. This last book gripped me.
In 1927 Miguel Pro was a priest in Zacatecas, MX. That was a crime during those years of religious persecution. Property was stolen from the Catholic Church by the government and thousands of people were threatened, arrested, exiled, tortured and killed for the crime of being Catholic. My favorite part of Fr. Pro’s story is that he often disguised himself when he traveled to private homes to say Mass.
Fr. Pro was arrested in 1927 on false charges of attempted murder and shot by firing squad without a trial. Read about Fr. Pro here.
In Barcelona, Spain, you can’t go one day without encountering a street sign or city named in honor of a saint. I wish now I had taken more time to learn their stories. Like Mexico, Catholics were persecuted during the Spanish Revolution of the 1930’s. Priests, religious and lay people were martyred.
Now, I am particularly interested in knowing about those who are considered “modern-day” saints. The facts of their lives are readily available and verifiable.
I’ve heard people say that “those who are religious are ignorant of the world and follow the masses blindly.” I reject that notion. MANY of our saints were highly educated scientists, philosophers, theologians, and lay workers. They chose to use their education and resources in service to mankind, and when threatened with persecution they chose to honor their Catholic faith and beliefs. That commitment and courage is attractive to me. A little bit frightening, yes, but attractive. I pray for the desire and courage to change, and to live my faith as they lived theirs.
In hope, Peggy