Celebrated November 23
He was born into a mining family in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. He joined the Jesuits in 1911. Government persecution forced the Jesuits to flee to California in 1914, from where he went to study at Granada in Spain. He left there in 1919 and taught in Nicaragua until 1922.
Because of his mining background and his natural ability to get on with people, he was sent to Enghien in Belgium to study Catholic labour movements. After his ordination in 1925 he worked among the miners in Charleroi.
He returned to Mexico in 1926 because it was thought that his health (which was always poor) would improve in the warm climate. At this time the Church was being severely persecuted.
Mexico was under rule of the fiercely anti-clerical and anti-Catholic President Plutarco Elías Calles who had begun what writer Graham Greene called the “fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth.”
Under the Mexican constitution religious education was banned, and priests were forbidden to wear clerical clothes, speak in public, or vote. In some Mexican states, all churches had been closed, many priests had been killed, and the few remaining ones had to work underground at the risk of their lives.
Pro celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and administered the other sacraments to small groups of
Catholics. He was arrested once in October 1926, and then in November 1927 he was falsely accused of an assassination attempt on the ex-president and executed without trial.
Detailed photographs of his execution were widely published in Mexican newspapers to intimidate
Mexican Catholics, but they were treated as holy pictures by the faithful and had the opposite effect.
Miguel Pro was beatified on September 25, 1988 by Pope John Paul II as a Catholic martyr, killed in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith).
Miguel Pro’s last request prior to execution on November 23, 1927 was to be allowed to kneel and pray.