April 1

Bl. Anacleto González Flores

1888 - 1927

Anacleto González Flores was born on 13 July 1888 in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, Mexico. He came from humble origins. The son of an alcoholic weaver, he did various jobs until he received his law degree at 33 in 1921. Before that, he had been a seminarian and postulant in the seminaries of San Juan de los Lagos and Guadalajara.

He was greatly involved in social and religious activities and was an enthusiastic member of the Catholic Association of Young Mexicans (ACJM). He taught classes in catechism, was dedicated to works of charity and wrote articles and books with a Christian spirit.

In 1914, when all churches were closed on the order the local governor, he organized the Popular Union and founded the newspaper Gladium, "sword" in Latin, a word with which he already dreamed of martyrdom.

Confrontations between the government and Catholics started in July 1918, to which Gonzalez Flores responded with the philosophy of "peaceful resistance."

He was arrested in 1919 for his social, political and religious ideals. Three years later he coordinated the first Catholic Labor Congress in Guadalajara and organized the National Catholic Labor Conference that spread throughout the country.

In 1922 he married María Concepción Guerrero and they had two children.

By 1926, the situation in Mexico had worsened and Anacleto, who up until this time had advocated passive, non-violent resistance, joined the cause of the National League for the Defence of Religious Freedom upon learning of the murder of four members of the ACJM.

In January 1927 guerrilla warfare spread throughout Jalisco and from his many hiding places Anacleto wrote and sent bulletins and studied major strategies.

The young man was captured on the morning of 1 April 1927 in the home of the Vargas González family, along with the two Vargas brothers. He was taken to the Colorado jail, where his torture included being hung by his thumbs until his fingers were dislocated and having the bottom of his feet slashed. He refused, however, to supply his captors with any information.

José Anacleto González Flores was condemned to death and was shot together with the Vargas González brothers and Luis Padilla Gómez on that same day, 1 April 1927.

Blessed Anacleto González Flores and his eight companions, all of whom were martyred during the days of the Cristeros in Mexico. Among his last words were, "I pardon you from the heart; very soon we will see each other before the divine tribunal; the same judge that is going to judge me will be your judge; then you will have, in me, an intercessor with God." While being tortured and asked about he whereabouts of the Archbishop of Jalisco, he said,  "I do not it and if I did know it, I would not tell you it."

Let us also pray for such holy boldness!