Thursday, April 11, 2002

Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Mexican Martyr by Ann Ball

TAN Books, 0895555425, $6.00

Blessed Miguel Pro's life was, tragically, very short, yet very devout. He lived in a time when Catholic Mexico endured violent persecution under the regime of President Plutarco Elias Calles, a dangerous time to publically acknowledge one's Catholic faith, much less enter the priesthood. Miguel, often called "God's Jester" by those familiar with his sense of humor, risked life and limb to complete his Jesuit training and spread the Word to his people. In 1927, Miguel was accused of involvement in an attempted political assassination and was executed, his brief life thereby leaving a dearth of information for biographers and promoters of the cause for Miguel's canonization.

What information exists, however, is shaped by Ann Ball into a well-rounded portrait the Mexican priest who, though not all of his actions may be considered "saintly", is one of the best-known figures in the history of Church persecution in Mexico. I find it interesting to note that due to limited information on Blessed Miguel's life, Ball's book is quite an important reference, having been quoted in the chapter on Mexican persecution in Robert Royal's Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: a Comprehensive World History.

At 119 pages, Ann Ball's book is short, yet very informative and entertaining -- it is difficult not to smile when reading the anecdotes of Blessed Miguel's deceptions of the police persuing him and other religious, yet a few pages later reading of his eventual martyrdom strikes a sad chord. This is recommended reading for anyone interested studying modern-day persecution of the Church and reading about one noble soul whose devotion to his Faith outweighed a country's fears.

No comments: