A Mother's Spiritual Diary

Mexico: A Terrible Persecution

There is, in Mexico City, at Tlaltelolco, "la Plaza de Tres Culturas," indicative of the three civilizations which explain the origins, the conflicts and the grandeur of the Mexican nation. Mexico, inheritor of ancient Indian civilizations, especially Aztec and Maya, enriched by Spanish colonization which came to mark it with a European stamp, evokes thus a great future due to the creative dynamism of modern ingenuity.

It is in this context that the story of Conchita's life must be set.  She was a saintly woman, attached to her nation by all the fibers of her being, just as Christ, through His divine Presence, bore the traits of an oriental.  Like Saint Rose of Lima, patroness of Peru, Conchita is only adequately explained by her milieu.  We cannot understand her psychological reactions, the expression and forms of her piety and penitence save through the environment and customs of Mexico.

At the moment she had reached maturity, Mexico was undergoing a period of decisive change of which Conchita was the witness and of which we find the echo in her Spiritual Diary.  In 1914 the revolution became anti-religious in character, which disquieted her soul, as a daughter of the Church.

"August 1914.  This month began the anguish of war, and even worse a persecution about to inflict us.  May God help us! I have no news about my brothers and sisters who are in San Luis, Oaxaca and at Queretaro."

"August 15.  A day of anguish.  They intend to requisition la Casa de la Cruz, (the covenant of the contemplatives), to be used as general quarters and as a lodging for officers.  Today some twenty thousand Carranzistas arrived.  Some three or four times more are still to come.  I felt in my soul a mortal sadness, as if Satan had entered Mexico.  It was a terrible oppression.  It is the scourge of God.  The war unleashed against the Church, is accentuated.  My spiritual director had to go into hiding.  A persecution, a frightful one, draws near.  God has put nearby us some neighbors, members of the government, who love the sisters and offer to save them.

"August 17. Things get worse every day.  Horrible blasphemies, outrages, deaths, rapes and pillaging of homes occur.  Gunfire is heard throughout the day.  We are afraid to go out.  A holocaust of priests exists.  Religious have been expelled. The goods of the Church are going to be confiscated.  There are forced loans and a thousand other pitiful things" (Diary, Aug 1914)

Persecution of the Clergy

"The political situation worsens.  A thousand excesses are all around us and blatant persecution of the clergy exists too.  Oh my God! the God of my heart!  In You we have put our hope, we shall never be confounded!  Poor Mexico!  It is the hour of God's chastisement and I hope we will learn to profit by it" (Diary, Aug. 27, 1914).

The Trial will pass

"Today we begin another month of a thousand anxieties.  Puebla has been taken over by the anti-clericals. They have profaned this cathedral so dear to my heart! They expelled the canons and burned the confessionals.  They have taken over the Episcopal palace and committed thousands of vexations against the priests.  Outrages and horrors are everywhere!

"When I complained to the Lord about what was happening to Puebla, He told me: 'The trial will pass' (Diary, Sept. 1, 1914).

In 1926-1927 the same topic appears in her Diary at the moment the persecution had reached its peak.

The Church of Mexico is persecuted

"The Church of Mexico is combated, tyrannized, persecuted.  It is intended to reduce the number of churches and priests.  Religious communities have been expelled, foreign priests sought out and hunted down with inconceivable savagery.  The bishops are troubled and a great number of seminaries are closed.  God of my heart, Word of God, have pity on Mexico! Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother filled with love and tenderness, obtain pardon for us" (Diary, March 9, 1926).

The Horrors of the persecution continue

"Today they came to see whether there were any nuns in the Mirto.  They concealed Jesus and nothing happened. T hey saw the chapel was covered with dirt and said: 'Here there are no services held.'  Hell is let loose against the Church.  These last days, some priests, who are prisoners arrive, brought in from other States to be concentrated here in the State of Mexico. The bishops are in great danger.  Revolution and combats are all around us.  Many youths are taken by surprise, are betrayed, and martyred.  In the region of Leon, one of them who praised God and encouraged his companions to die for Him, had his tongue cut out before they shot him" (Diary, Jan. 6, 1927).

We have a great number of Martyrs

"We already have a great number of martyrs in Mexico who are granting us favors.  God be blessed! He knows how many there are.  We must adore His designs.  For God, everyone is a means which He uses, and how often it pleases Him to accomplish things counter to all human means in order to make His glory shine out the more.  It is the hour of suffering and of prayer but we must also adore His delays, accept with love His designs, and hope against all hope for the triumph and peace that He, without any doubt at all, will bring us.  Mexico will not lose the faith as long as it remains devoted to Mary" (Letter to a friend, May 26, 1927).

All these extracts from her Diary or correspondence during this period enable us to state that she judged all the events, even the most tragic, solely in the light of her faith.  Instead of cursing the persecutors, she prayed and offered up her life for their conversion, entrusting them to God's mercy.  Her ardent supplications especially for the priests, rose to God.

Offer Yourself

"Offer yourself as a victim for My priests. Unite yourself to My sacrifice for gaining them graces.  It is necessary that in union with the Eternal Father, you accomplish your priestly role, offering Me to My Father for obtaining from Him grace and mercy for the Church and her members.  Recall how often I have asked you to offer yourself as a victim, in union with the Victim, for My beloved Church?  Do you not see that you are all Hers since you are Mine and that you are Mine since you are all Hers?  Precisely, on account of this special union which binds you to My Church, you have the right to share in Her anguish and the sacred duty to console Her by sacrificing yourself for Her priests" (Diary, Sept. 24, 1927).

She often and courageously hides priests, bishops and men and women religious in her home.

She speaks not a word of recrimination or bitterness but manifests the purest Christian charity, toward all.  Since Her founding, the Church of Christ in all nations, undergoes hours of suffering, of persecution, of betrayal and of martyrdom.  It is Christ, ever crucified in the members of His Mystical Body, who saves the world.