Since the release of the motion picture For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada, a long covered up period in Mexican history has come to light. In the wake of the movie, some great books for Catholic kids have been published about the Mexican martyrs who defended their faith in the face of brutal persecution in the 1920s.
Saint Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr by Father Kevin McKenzie, LC, is a brand new addition to the popular Vision Books series by Ignatius Press.
14-year-old José Sánchez del Río joined the Cristero army as a flag bearer in the fight against the Federales, the army enforcing the laws of Freemason President Calles who tried to eradicate Catholicism in Mexico. Jose was captured and tortured because he refused to deny his faith. While marching to his death on cut feat he kept exclaiming the motto of the Cristeros: Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ, the King. Saint Jose was canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis.
This book is an exciting and inspiring summer read for 9-15 year-olds. The book is also a great lesson in history. Father McKenzie researched the topic for 10 years.
Blessed Miguel Pro by D. Halpin and illustrated by Virginia Richards is a story, coloring and activity book for kids from eight to twelve years.
Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest, was one of the most well-known of the Cristeros. He was on the most wanted list for 16 months before he was caught, tortured and shot by a firing squad. His death was photographed to intimidate the public. He refused a blindfold and stretched out his arms signifying the cross.
Blessed Miguel Pro: Codename "Cocol", Undercover For God by Holy Heroes is an audio book highlighting the undercover excitement and fun of Father Pro's story. He was a master of disguise and fooled this persecutors for a long time. His escapades are commented on by Holy Heroes Adventure Guides Anna and Therese.
Blessed Miguel Pro:Twentieth Century Mexican Martyr by Ann Ball is pre- movie Cristero classic for your teens, a well-researched and well told biography written for the adult reader.
The author also wrote a children's book about Blessed Miguel titled Jose Finds The King: A Blessed Miguel Pro Story in which she introduces a fictional character, the boy Jose, who is adopted by Father Pro. Hurry if you want to add this book to your library. It is out of print and used copies are getting expensive.
For Greater Glory, TheTrue Story of Cristiada by Ruben Quezada is a very unusual companion book to the movie of the same name. It is also a history must read for Catholic teens. The book, written by a recognized expert on the Cristero War, is unapologetically Catholic supplying loads of clear and simple historical information on the brutal persecution of Catholics in Mexico during the 1920s.
Amazingly I found this 100% Catholic book at our public library. It tells the story of the Cristiada in a question and answers format which somehow makes a compelling read. A photo gallery of the movie follows. There are also historical photos of the main players in the Cristiada most of whom have been beatified or canonized.
The Knights of Columbus played a great role in the Cristero rebellion. The book contains a great essay by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson titled: “Who Can Be A Priest: The question that killed 200,000 Mexicans.” The essay is followed by Cristero prayers.
The history of the Cristeros has been suppressed by the Mexican government and by the world at large. Ruben Quezada talks about his fruitless search for information in US and Mexican school books. The movie was produced and distributed independently. Hollywood would not touch it. Thanks to the great success of the movie, however, the world has now heard about the Cristiada. Also thanks to the successful movie, this book about the brutal persecution of Catholics by a socialist government, has slipped under the radar of politically correct censorship.
Saints and Sinners in the Cristero War: Stories of Martyrdom from Mexico by Msgr.James Murphy is a gripping book about four Cristero heroes and four of their persecutors. The book is full of fascinating information. Did you realize, for example, that the Cu Clux Clan was fervently supporting President Calles in his persecution of the Church? And did you know that Marxist Governor Tomas Canabal named his children Lenin, Lucifer and Satan and that his business card identified him as "The personal enemy of God"? Lord have mercy!
After all this information, have you thought of making the Cristiada your next homeschool unit study?
Happy Reading: Viva Cristo Rey!