Saints of the Cristero War
Tomb of San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado
|Died||1926 to 1929|
|Beatified||25 September 1988 |
22 November 1992 by Pope John Paul II
20 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI
|Canonized||21 May 2000 Pope John Paul II |
16 October 2016 Pope Francis
|Part of a series on|
| Persecutions |
of the Catholic Church
On May 21, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of 25 saints and martyrs who had died in the Mexican Cristero War. The vast majority are Catholic priests who were executed for carrying out their ministry despite the suppression under the anti-clerical laws of Plutarco Elías Calles after the revolution in the 1920s.Priests who took up arms, however, were excluded from the process. The group of saints share the feast day of May 21.
Pope John Paul II was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
On 15 November 2005, Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter declaring the following individuals "blessed" and establishing their memorial feast on 20 November.November 20 is the official anniversary in the Mexican civil calendar of the start of the Mexican Revolution, with the promulgation of the Plan of San Luis Potosí in 1910 by Francisco Madero.
The Mexican Revolution, also known as the Mexican Civil War, was a major armed struggle, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that transformed Mexican culture and government. Although recent research has focused on local and regional aspects of the Revolution, it was a genuinely national revolution. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the failure of the 31-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession. This meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power; a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.
The Plan of San Luis de Potosí was a political document written by presidential candidate Francisco I. Madero, who was jailed prior to the elections, and escaped to write the Plan. It was published on October 5, 1910. It called for nullifying the 1910 election of Porfirio Díaz, claimed a provisional presidency for Madero, and called for Mexicans to revolt on November 20, 1910.
Blessed Anacleto González Flores was a Mexican Catholic layman and lawyer, executed during the persecution of the Catholic Church under the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles. He was beatified by Benedict XVI as a martyr on November 20, 2005.
Darío Acosta Zurita was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest who administered in Veracruz where he lived and was killed. Zurita commenced his studies for the priesthood after he had once been refused entrance and he became known as an athletic seminarian. Bishop Saint Rafael Guízar Valencia ordained him in 1931 and he was killed three months later after armed gunmen stormed the cathedral – enacting the so-called Tejeda Law – and shot him dead.
Saint Cristóbal Magallanes Jara, also known as Christopher Magallanes, is a martyr and saint venerated in the Catholic Church who was killed without trial on the way to say Mass during the Cristero War after the trumped-up charge of inciting rebellion.
Saint Mateo Correa Magallanes was a Knight of Columbus, of Council 2140.
Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero was a Mexican diocesan priest who became the first canonized saint and martyr from Chihuahua City, Mexico.
These saints were also canonized on 21 May 2000 but were not martyred in the Cristero War:
Saint José María de Yermo y Parres was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor. He dedicated his life to catering to the needs of the abandoned and used his order to take care of the poor's spiritual and material needs. He also was once a vowed member of the Congregation of the Mission due to his devotion to Saint Vincent de Paul but left it after experiencing a sudden vocational crisis.
Saint María Natividad Venegas de la Torre was a Mexican Roman Catholic nun. Torre established the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Guadalajara and assumed the new name of "María of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament" in 1930.
Luis Bátiz Sainz was born on September 13, 1870. He attended a minor seminary from age 12, and was ordained on January 1, 1894. He worked as spiritual director of the seminary and as parish priest in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.He was noted for his pastoral zeal and capacity to organize the parish. He founded a workshop for Catholic workers and a school.
A minor seminary or high school seminary is a secondary day or boarding school created for the specific purpose of enrolling teenage boys who have expressed interest in becoming Catholic priests. They are generally Catholic institutions, and designed to prepare boys both academically and spiritually for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. They emerged in cultures and societies where literacy was not universal, and the minor seminary was seen as a means to prepare younger boys in literacy for later entry into the major seminary.
Zacatecas, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Zacatecas, is one of the 32 states of Mexico. It is divided into 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas City.
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education. The Knights also support the Catholic Church's positions on public policy issues, including various political causes, and are participants in the new evangelization. The current Supreme Knight is Carl A. Anderson.
Bátiz spent a great part of his time on the catechesis of children and adults, and was very fervent in his Eucharistic adoration. He is reported to have said, "Lord, I want to be a martyr; though I am your unworthy minister, I want to shed my blood, drop by drop, for your name."
Before the closure of the churches in 1926, a meeting of the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty discussed the possibility of armed rebellion to overthrow the government. Fr. Bátiz spoke at this meeting and was denounced to the government. When the churches were closed, he moved to a private house, where he was captured by government soldiers on August 14, 1926. Although there was a public outcry, the government decided to execute the priest. The next day, on the pretext of transferring him to Zacatecas, soldiers took him and three members of the Mexican Association for Catholic Youth, putting them in a car for transport. Underway, the four men were taken from the car and shot on the side of the road by a firing squad.
Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán was born on May 13, 1875. After his seminary training in Ciudad Guzmán, Jalisco, he was ordained a priest in 1905. He was known for his literary abilities, writing both prose and poetry. He worked in various parishes. He was a Knight of Columbus and a member of Council 2330. He was the parish priest in Unión de Tula, Mexico. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, he took refuge at the Colegio de San Ignacio in Ejutla, where he continued to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments. Rather than escape when soldiers arrived, Father Aguilar Alemán remained at the seminary to burn the list of seminary students, and thus protect them from being known.
On October 28, 1927, the day after his arrest, Father Alemán was led to the main plaza of Ejutla for execution by hanging. He blessed his captors and gave them his pardon, giving his rosary to one of the executioners. His captors decided to toy with Father Alemán and put his convictions to the test. After placing the noose on his neck from the rope hanging on a mango tree, they repeatedly asked him, "Who lives?" expecting the answer "Long live the supreme government." Instead he shouted the Cristero motto: "Long live Christ the King and Blessed Mary of Guadalupe!" They pulled on the rope and suspended him briefly, then lowered him and asked again. This happened three times (with each time Alemán repeating the Cristero motto). The third time he was suspended, Father Alemán died.He was buried in the parish church at Tula.
Agustín Caloca Cortés was born in San Juan Bautista de Teúl on May 5, 1898. He attended the seminary in Guadalajara, Jalisco, but was sent back to his family when the building was sacked during the Mexican Revolution. He continued his studies in a clandestine auxiliary seminary. In 1919, he was able to return to Guadalajara and was ordained on August 15, 1923. His priestly assignment was to the parish of Totatiche and to the prefecture of the seminary.
Government troops closed in to close down the seminary in late May 1927. Fr. Caloca Cortés directed the students to flee to safety and he tried to do the same, but he was captured by a group of soldiers. He was held in the jailhouse of Totatiche, together with Fr. Cristóbal Magallanes. General Goñi ordered his transfer to Colotlán, where Caloca was executed by firing squad in the burned city hall building on May 25, 1927. His heart was found to be incorrupt when his body was returned to the parish of Totatiche in 1933.
Román Adame Rosales was born on February 27, 1859. He studied for the priesthood in Guadalajara, Jalisco, and was ordained on November 30, 1890. He worked in various parishes, showing a profound dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to catechesis, directing spiritual exercises, and parish schools. He founded the association "Daughters of Mary and Nocturnal Adoration". He built numerous chapels on the ranches. When the Calles Law forced the closing of the churches, he continued his ministry in private houses.
Adame was captured by government forces and tortured. He was taken to Yahualica, where he spent several days tied up, without food and water. On April 21, 1927, he was taken to an open grave, where he was executed by firing squad. His remains were later disinterred and brought to Nochistlán.
Atilano Cruz Alvarado was born in Teocaltiche on October 5, 1901. He worked as a ranch hand for his family until the parents decided to send him to Teocaltiche to learn to read and write. There he discovered his vocation and entered a clandestine seminary in 1918. Two years later, he was sent to Guadalajara to finish his training. He was ordained on July 24, 1927, and sent to Cuquío a year later, where the parish was being run from a ranch house, "Las Cruces". There, on June 29, 1928, he joined his pastor, Justino Orona Madrigal, and they prayed and discussed the situation in their parish.
In the early dawn of July 1, he was apprehended by a squad of soldiers. In the jail where he was held, Fr. Orona Madrigal and his brother were there, covered with wounds. While he was praying at the foot of the bed, the soldiers shot Fr. Cruz. His still living body was thrown onto the porch together with Fr. Orona. The two were then taken to Cuquío, where their bodies were dragged through the central square, during which they died.
Father Miguel de la Mora of Colima was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 2140. Along with several other priests, he publicly signed a letter opposing the anti-religious laws imposed by the government. He was soon arrested and, with his brother Regino looking on, he was executed without a trial by a single shot from a military officer as he prayed his rosary on Aug. 7, 1927.
Luis Padilla Gomez was born on 9 December 1899 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was an active member of the Catholic Association of Mexican Youth (ACJM) and worked closely with Anacleto Gonzalez Flores in the activities of the Association, helping the poor children and youth in a special way. The young man, known to all as Luis, spent much time praying before the Blessed Sacrament and had a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On the morning of April 1, 1927, Luis was arrested in his home, together with his mother and one of his sisters. He was repeatedly beaten and insulted, then sentenced to execution. After arriving at the Colorado jail, Luis met Anacleto and the others. He told Anacleto that he wanted to go to confession. But Anacleto told the young man, "No, brother, now is not the hour to confess, but to request pardon and to pardon our enemies. God is a Father and not a judge, the One who gives you hope. Your own blood will purify you". Luis knelt down in prayer, as the executioners' bullets riddled his prostrate body.
The Cristero War or the Cristero Rebellion (1926–29), also known as La Cristiada[la kɾisˈtjaða], was a widespread struggle in central-western Mexico in response to the imposition of secularist, state atheism, anti-Catholic and anti-clerical articles of the 1917 Constitution of Mexico. The rebellion was instigated as a response to an executive decree by President Plutarco Elías Calles to enforce Articles 3, 5, 24, 27, and 130 of the Constitution, a move known as the Calles Law. Calles sought to eliminate the power of the Catholic Church and all organizations which were affiliated with it as an institution, and suppress popular religious celebrations in local communities. The massive, popular rural uprising was tacitly supported by the Church hierarchy and it was also aided by urban Catholic supporters. US Ambassador Dwight W. Morrow brokered negotiations between the Calles government and the Church. The government made some concessions, the Church withdrew its support for the Cristero fighters and the conflict ended in 1929. It can be seen as a major event in the struggle between Church and State which dates back to the 19th century with the War of Reform, but it can also be interpreted as the last major peasant uprising in Mexico following the end of the military phase of the Mexican Revolution in 1920.
Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río was a Mexican Cristero who was put to death by government officials because he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. His death was seen as a largely political venture on the part of government officials in their attempt to stamp out dissent and crush religious freedom in the area. He was dubbed "Joselito".
Jean Meyer is a Mexican historian and author of French origin. He has published extensively on the Cristero War and on the caudillo Manuel Lozada.
Rafael Guízar y Valencia was a Mexican Catholic bishop who cared for the wounded, sick, and dying during the Mexican Revolution. Named Bishop of Xalapa, he was driven out of his diocese and forced to live the remainder of his life in hiding in Mexico City. He was also a Knight of Columbus. He was an uncle of Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ.
Saint Toribio Romo González was a Roman Catholic priest and Mexican martyr who died in the Cristero War.
Jenaro Sánchez y Delgadillo was a Mexican Catholic priest who was executed by the Mexican military during the Cristero War in that country, born on September 19, 1886 and died on January 17, 1927. He is now honored as a martyr and saint by the Catholic Church.
Agustín Caloca Cortés was one of the martyrs of Mexico during the Cristero War.
Saint José María Robles Hurtado was a Mexican priest and one of several priests martyred during the Cristero War.
Los Altos de Jalisco, or the Jaliscan Highlands, are a geographic and cultural region in the eastern part of the Mexican State of Jalisco, famed as a bastion of Mexican culture, cradling traditions from Tequila production to Charrería equestrianism. Los Altos are part of the greater Bajío region of Mexico, considered to be one of safest regions with one of the highest qualities of life in Latin America
Events from the year 1927 in Mexico.
Events from the year 1928 in Mexico
Pascual Chávez Villanueva SDB is a Roman Catholic priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who was Rector Major of that Order between April 3, 2002 and March 25, 2014, being the 9th successor of Don Bosco, the first Mexican to get such position and the second Latin American after Argentinian Juan Edmundo Vecchi. During the 26th General Chapter of the Salesians in Rome in 2008 he was confirmed for a second period, being the last Rector Major who could be reelected, because that same Chapter ruled that a Rector Major would not be reelected afterward.
Margarito Flores García was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church and was canonized a saint in 2001. While operating in Chilpancingo-Chilapa as a priest, he was persecuted during anti-Catholicism begun during the Mexican revolution and died a martyr.
Manuel Moralez was a Mexican layman who was killed during the Cristero War. A pro-Catholic activist during the anticlerical period under President Plutarco Elías Calles, he was captured by government forces, and was executed for refusing to renounce his position. Moralez was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 21 May 2000 as one of 25 Saints of the Cristero War.
David Roldán Lara was a Mexican layman who was killed during the Cristero War. A pro-Catholic activist during the anticlerical period under President Plutarco Elías Calles, he was captured by government forces, and was executed for refusing to renounce his position. Roldán was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 21 May 2000 as one of 25 Martyrs of the Cristero War.