The Martyrdom of José Luis Sánchez del Rio (a teenage Cristero)

10 07 2008

[The following events took place during the Cristiada: the war of the Catholic faithful against the Calles government in Mexico (1926-1929) The video above was found on this site]

Woman singing: I am going to tell all of you a unique story that involves a young man who had to fight with the strength of grace against the powers of evil. José Luis Sánchez del Rio told his mother, “In order to go to Heaven, we have to go to war”, and as he was a courageous youth, he carried the flag.

They killed the general’s horse, and the young man said, “Take my horse and save yourself. You’re the general, and what am I worth to the cause?” The general refused at first to take the young man’s horse, but he insisted, and finally the general got on the horse and fled. When they finally caught up to the youth, he said to them, “You are going to take me, but I don’t surrender”.

Woman singing: They imprisoned him in Sahuayo, Michoacan. Rafael Picasso asked for a lot of money to let him go because they were going to shoot him.

They brought him here to write a letter to his aunt Maria Sánchez, and they told her to tell his mother that she should pass by the church so that he could see her close so that he would waiver at seeing her tears, but he did not want to waiver. They say that they brought him his food in a small basket, and in that food his uncle, Fr. Ignacio Sánchez would put a consecrated Host. And when he got it, he knelt there in the baptistery (which was serving as a chicken coop), gave thanks, and then gave himself Holy Communion.

Woman singing: The jail in which he was in was the parochial church. Rafael Picasso had a lot of fine imported fighting roosters in there. José Luis was indignant, and said, “This is not a barnyard!” He took them all by the neck and killed them, hanging them from a banister.

While he was imprisoned, he saw that Rafael Picasso had a bunch of roosters running around in the church. He said to himself, “Look at this mess. This idiot had turned the church into a chicken coop!” He took the roosters by the necks and killed them. He hung their bodies from a Communion rail (they received Communion kneeling and not standing then). Rafael Picasso had imported some of those very fine birds all the way from Canada, and he was so indignant that he commanded that they execute the boy by firing squad. They noticed that he didn’t have any shoes on and they offered to give him some. He told them, “Why do I need shoes? What I want is to go to Heaven.” He told his people as well not to offer them any money because even then he would go back to the fight because he wanted to go to Heaven. From a very young age, he said that it wasn’t easy to go to Heaven: “Only boom, and Heaven”.

Woman singing: Rafael Picasso gave the order, “Shoot him now!” The executioners cut deeply into the soles of his feet. Instead of complaining, he shouted, “Long live Christ the King!”

When they were going to take him to be executed, the soldiers had machetes, and they started to strike him with them. At every cut, the boy cried out, “Long live Christ the King!” When he got to the cemetery, he was already covered in his own blood. They had also chopped up the soles of his feet, and as the road was not paved back then, it was nothing but rocks. Those stones where he had trodden were all soaked in his blood. When they got to the cemetery, they showed him the grave, and said, “This is where we are going to bury you.” The boy responded, “That is good. I forgive all of you since we are all Christians.” He offered them his hand and said, “We’ll see each other in Heaven. I want you all to repent. Long live Christ the King!” At that point they shot him. They gave him a coup de grace to the head and he died.