Blessed Anaclete Gonzales Flores

Saint of the Day for 4/1

As a law student during the time of the persecution in Mexico, Anaclete Gonzales felt he needed to challenge his godless professors and, so, organized the Catholic students in defense of the Church. He himself joined the Third Order of Saint Francis. Believing in the power of the press, he founded a weekly newspaper called The Word, and was a regular contributor to other Catholic periodicals. He also started a second weekly called The Sword. The government tried on a number of occasions to silence him by jailing him. His efforts would then turn to evangelizing his fellow prisoners.

Finally, the government decided to make an example of Anaclete. Because he refused to reveal the whereabouts of the archbishop, he was hung up, whipped and pierced with daggers. Anaclete maintained his silence, but to one of his executioners said, “I have labored unselfishly to defend the cause of Christ and his Church. You will kill me: But know that the cause will not die with me. I go, but with the assurance that from heaven I shall behold the triumph of religion in my native country.”

Anaclete was run through with a bayonet and died from a volley of bullets. It was April 1, 1927. He left a young wife and two small sons.

His funeral was cause for a great outpouring of faith among the people and loud cries of “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King!), a powerful tribute to a lay Franciscan who lived and died for the kingdom.

Ever since the first Christians refused to sacrifice to the gods of Rome, believers have maintained a dissident stance at the risk of their lives. We may not be called to join the company of martyrs, but we are certainly called to raise our voices in defense of the poor and the unborn, to protest dependence on violent solutions in the international arena. We may keep our lives, but we risk another kind of martyrdom: the disapproval of our peers.