Mexico, 1927. My wife’s grandmother, Maria Victoria Souza, and her family were gathered in their home praying for her brother, Joaquin. He was in bed and unconscious. The details are sketchy so we don’t know what exactly was wrong with him but we do know that he was near death and had either entered his condition so unexpectedly or getting a priest to the house was so difficult that he slipped into a coma before one could come so that he hadn’t received last rites.
Outside, the anti-Catholic persecution was in full force and priests and faithful Catholics were being martyred by the government for their Faith.
A knock came at the door. Everyone tensed because Victoria (it’s Mexican tradition for women to go by their middle name), like the martyr St. Margaret Clithrow centuries before, hid priests in her home. A stranger stood at the door and handed Victoria a piece of bloody cloth with a note. “This is for the dying man,” he said and left. No one knows who the stranger was or how he knew that Joaquin was on his deathbed.
Victoria took the cloth over to her brother and as she touched him with it she said that she felt as if she had been shocked. Joaquin revived long enough to receive last rites and died a few days later.
The note with the cloth said that the cloth had been used to soak up the blood of Blessed Miguel Pro after his execution a few days before.
Unfortunately, both the cloth and the note went missing during the chaos of 1920’s Mexico but our family won’t forget the martyr who quite possibly gave Joaquin the miracle to receive the graces of last rites before his death.
“Viva Christo Rey!”
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