Not only is today the day after Thanksgiving, “black” Friday, that special day to wake up at 4am and voluntarily face traffic and risk getting mauled by mobs of “holiday” shoppers–it also happens to be the feastday of someone who gave his very life for something higher and lasting.
Bl. Miguel Pro was a Jesuit priest in Mexico at the time of the fierce anti-clerical, anti-Catholic government (there is a book i recently read, The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, that is set in this time of Mexico’s history). Fr. Miguel was a dedicated priest, cheerful even while enduring stomach pain. It’s worth noting that he was a master of disguise. He would evade arrest for being a Catholic priest by dressing as a street sweeper, a garage mechanic or even a cop. Once, it is said, that he rolled out of a taxi being followed, took the arm of the nearest senorita, asked for her help and proceeded to walk right past the police unnoticed!
In November 1927, the former President had a bomb thrown at him from a car. The car had at one time belonged to Fr. Miguel’s brother… so the Pro brothers were all arrested on trumped up charges and sentenced to death by firing squad. There was, of course, no proof that any of them were responsible. There was no trial either. The day of the execution the President had ordered it to be photographed, hoping to portray Mexican Catholics as cowards. Fr. Miguel, after blessing the soldiers and refusing a blindfold, with a crucifix in one hand and rosary in the other spoke words of forgiveness. Stretching his arms out he cried aloud “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) as the shots rang out. He was then shot at point blank because he was still breathing.
The pictures can be seen here along with some of his letters and drawings.