Blessed Miguel Pro
I have always thought it says a lot about Catholics as to whether they have favorite saints, and who they are if they do have special saints. Here are my top ten.
10. Saint Andreas Wouters-Most saints have been extraordinary men and women. That was decidedly not the case with Andreas Wouters! A scandalous priest, he fathered several children. Suspended from his priestly duties, he was living in disgrace when God granted him the opportunity to die a martyr’s death, an opportunity he seized with both hands like a drowning man cast a life line. His courage and steadfastness redeemed his life of sin. May all of us have such a happy death as he did. Go here to read about him.
9. Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ-Not canonized yet, I have no doubt that “God’s Jester” is a saint in Heaven. During the Cristeros Rebellion in Mexico, he adopted many disguises to bring the sacraments to the Mexican people. A lover of jokes, he is proof positive that saints need not be solemn. When the Mexican government executed him, a death he met with incredible courage, the officials took copious pictures which appeared in newspapers. The strategy backfired with Cristeros troops treating the pictures as precious relics and carrying them with them into battle. Go here to read about him.
8. Saint Marianne Cope– Throughout my life I have been blessed with the friendship of strong women, starting with the love of my formidable sainted mother, and perhaps that is why I have always been drawn to strong female saints. Few have been stronger than Mother Marianne and her nuns who pioneered the care for female lepers in Hawaii. No difficulty or danger could deter her from bringing God’s love to her lepers. Go here to read about her.
7. Venerable Matt Talbot-Some saints become famous during their lifetime and some, the vast majority no doubt, are known only to God. Matt Talbot’s was a quiet path to sainthood that would be known only to God, but for the accident of his dying on a street in Dublin. However, God does not see as man sees, and I have always thought that this reformed drunk ranks high among the champions of Christ. Go here to read about him.
“If I meet any long-faced saints in Heaven I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance!”
Blessed Miguel Pro
I love Blessed Father Miguel Pro, SJ. He was always ready with a joke and a quip and the sheer joy with which he radiated the faith of Christ throughout his life was a wonder to behold. From early in his life he was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. When a small child he had a bad case of food poisoning that spread infection to his brain. For one year he could not talk and could barely recognize his parents. Eventually he seemed near death. His father took him in his arms and kneeling before an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe prayed, “Madre mia give me back my son.” At that moment the boy came out of his coma, vomited blood and began his recovery.
Hagiography often relates the perfections of saints in their younger days. No such accounts are possible with Father Pro. He was a mischievous boy fond of practical jokes. As a teenager his path to the priesthood began when he heard a priest preach a sermon on the Passion. “All this, Jesus Christ did and suffered for us, and we, what are we doing for Him?” Miguel was overcome with the thought that thus far he had done nothing for Him.
Joining the Jesuit novitiate in 1911, he studied in Mexico until 1914 when a wave of anti-clericalism arising from the Mexican Revolution forced the Jesuits out of Mexico. Miguel comtinued his studies in Spain and taught in Nicaragua from 1919-1922. He completed his studies in Belgium and was ordained a priest on August 31, 1925. His health was always precarious and after several surgeries from ulcers he returned to Mexico. Because of the anti-clerical Calles laws, he became an underground priest, using many disguises as he went around saying Mass and providing the sacraments. He went about his duties with a glad heart and seemed to get a kick out of the “cloak and dagger” aspects of his undercover priesthood. Continue reading