FEAST OF BLESSED MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO
FEAST DAY – 23rd NOVEMBER
Miguel was born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, and was the eldest son of Miguel Pro and Josefa Juarez. He was, from an early age, intensely spiritual and equally intense in playful mischief, repeatedly infuriating his family with his humor and his practical jokes. As a child, he had a fearless precociouness that sometimes led to near-death accidents and illnesses. Regaining consciousness after one of these episodes, young Miguel opened his eyes and asked his worried parents for his favorite sweet bread, Cocol. He would adopt the nickname as a code name during his clandestine ministry.
Miguel shared an extremely close bond with his older sister and after she entered a cloistered convent, he came to recognize his own vocation to the priesthood. Although he was popular with the senoritas and had prospects of a lucrative career managing his father’s thriving business concerns, Miguel renounced everything for Christ his King and entered the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan in 1911.
Miguel studied in Mexico until 1914, when a huge wave of anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing him to disband and escape to the United States, where he and his brother seminarians trudged through Texas and New Mexico before arriving at the Jesuit house in Los Gatos, California. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925.
Father Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics. He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared, but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. Miguel Pro was beatified in 1988.
Long live Christ the King!—were the last words Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock. When Fr. Miguel Pro was executed in 1927, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president, and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people.
Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993, 1999, and 2002. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people, and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.
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.
We thank the Sacred Heart for loving you so dearly. We pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom you love so dearly, to intercede for the cause of your canonization. We pray that you remember us in your eternal and well-deserved rejoicing, Through your courageous life and martyrdom you have won the crown of life everlasting. Remember us, Blessed Miguel, for we remember you. Long live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!
Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, pray for us.