Monday, February 10, 2020

Saint José Sánchez del Río

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint José Sánchez del Río. On this date in 1928, this 14 year old boy was killed by Mexican troops for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith during the Cristero War. The story of this period of Catholic persecution led by Mexican President Calles was told in the movie "For Greater Glory." The young martyr was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20, 2005, and later canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.

The Saint's story is one with which few American Catholics are familiar. That is a tragedy in its own right. Though they might not know the Saint's story, many Americans are no doubt familiar with his face. The picture, shown below, of the young boy with Cristeros fighters is one that is often seen hanging in Mexican restaurants, among other old photos. Probably not too many diners know that a Saint and fighter for religious freedom is looking down at them while they eat.

After José was captured by government forces fighting the Cristero, he was forced to witness the torture and execution of fellow Catholic countrymen, yet he never wavered in his faithful resolve. He was himself was tortured and urged to shout "Death to Christ the King" with the promise his suffering would be over. On the day of his torturous execution, the soldiers cut the soles of his feet and he was made to walk barefooted to the grave they had dug for him. He was repeatedly stabbed with bayonets as he made his way to the place of his martyrdom.

Even after he had been shot he continued to cry out "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!") The commander of the soldiers was so furious that he was able to resist the government barbarism, he finally shot the boy in the head. As he died he is said to have drawn a cross on the ground with his own blood as a final act of defiance.

During the Cristeros War many Catholics were killed by the Mexican government for their faith. This tragic part of recent history is pointedly ignored by the history books in both the United States and Mexico. By some accounts, the anti-Catholic Mexican government received military aid from our own government. It is a story that needs to be told and learned by all free people.

Saint José Sánchez del Río is truly a Saint for our times. His faithfulness in the face of torture and death should be a model for all of us. I pray we can be as strong when our own persecution comes.

Saint José Sánchez del Río, Pray For Us!


  1. David,

    I read with avid interest your formation of the Society of Saint Possenti. Your devotion to family, faith, and firearms is warmly appreciated. You're certainly not alone in being inspired by Saint Possenti.

    Regarding him, I don't know if you are aware author Rolf Nelson used the saint's story to write a work of fiction "The Heretics of Saint Possenti" telling the tale of the formation of an Order to care for combat veterans in need of peace. Last year on November 11th at the 11th hour the Order came into existence. This year our goals are Structure and Foundation.

    We look to accomplish the following:

    The Need: Combat veterans in need of peace. Community, Therapy, Long-Term Care, Vocational Training, Life Skills, Deployabilty

    The Mission: The Order and monastery of Saint Possenti is a military order of the Body of Christ. We acknowledge a broken world, a sundered church, and broken men. We together, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christian men moved by the Holy Spirit will restore and care for combat veterans in need of peace. We train up vital Christian men for success as breadwinners, husbands, fathers, and citizens in secular and sacred leadership. We turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. We protect the weak.

    As the Feast day of the saint draws close, perhaps we could celebrate it together in spirit?

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Beau Perez
    Roswell, New Mexico

    1. Beau, thank you for sharing this wonderful news. I will pray for the success of your mission. May St. Gabriel Possenti look upon you with favor.

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