January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez was the eldest son of Miguel Pro
and Josefa Juarez.
Miguelito, as his doting family called him, was, from an early age, intensely spiritual
and equally intense in hi mischievousness, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and
practical jokes. As a child, he had a daring precociouness that sometimes went too far, tossing him
into near-death accidents and illnesses. On regaining consciousness after one of these episodes,
young Miguel opened his eyes and blurted out to his frantic parents, "I want a cocol" (a
colloquial term for his favorite sweet bread). "Cocol" became his nickname, which he would later
adopt as a code name during this clandestine ministry.
Miguel was particularly close to his older
sister and after she entered a cloistered convent, he came to recognize his own vocation to the
priesthood. Although he was popular with the senoritas and had prospects of a lucrative career
managing his father's thriving business concerns, Miguel renounced everything for Christ his King
and entered the Jesuit novitiate in El Llano, Michoacan in 1911.
He studied in Mexico until 1914, when a tidal
wave of anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing the novitiate to disband and flee to the
United States, where Miguel and his brother seminarians treked through Texas and New Mexico before
arriving at the Jesuit house in Los Gatos, California.
In 1915, Miguel was sent to a seminary in
Spain, where he remained until 1924, when he went to Belgium for his ordination to the priesthood in
1925. Miguel suffered from a severe stomach problem and after three operations, when his health did
not improve, his superiors, in 1926, allowed him to return to Mexico in spite of the grave religious
persecution in that country.
The churches were closed and priests went into hiding. Miguel spent the
rest of his life in a secret ministry to the sturdy Mexican Catholics. In addition to fulfilling
their spiritual needs, he also carried out the works of mercy by assisting the poor in Mexico City
with their temporal needs. He adopted many interesting disguises in carrying out his secret
mininstry. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless
marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy
Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighboorhoods to procure for the poor,
he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessmam with a fresh flower on his
lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies. In all that he did, however,
Fr. Pro remained obedient to his superiors and was filled with the joy of serving Christ, his
accused in the bombing attempt on a former Mexican president, Miguel became a wanted man. Betrayed
to the police, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.
On the day of his
execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executtioners, prayed, bravely refused the blindfold and died
proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey", "Long live Christ the King!"
Information courtesy of ProVision and Brother
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