Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. And Graham Greene

Graham Green
Baxter recalls making a find quite unexpectedly at the famous antiquarian bookstore, Maggs. They had only a few Greene editions of note. One in particular caught Baxter’s attention: an inscribed first edition of  The Lawless Roads without a dustwrapper for 150 pounds.
It wasn’t a very collectible item and without the dust jacket worth even less. But Baxter, now fully into Graham Greene, spotted something the bookshop had missed. It was dedicated, in that spidery Greene hand to the Jesuit priest (Fr. Miguel Pro) the author had dedicated “The Power and The Glory”   (here) to, making it at once precious.
Baxter snapped it up. 
Link (here) to Deccan Herald 
An excerpt to Graham Green's prologue in the book entitled, The Lawless Roads.
Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.
In July 1926, Father Miguel Pro landed at Veracruz. He was twenty-five years old and a Jesuit. He came back to his own country from a foreign seminary much as Campion returned to England from Douai. We know how he was dressed when a year and a half later he came out into the prison yard to be shot, and he may well have worn the same disguise when he landed (the equivalent of Campion's doublet and hose): a dark lounge suit, soft collar and tie, a bright cardigan. Most priests wear their mufti with a kind of uneasiness, but Pro was a good actor. He needed to be. Within two months of Pro's landing, President Calles had begun the fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth. The churches were closed, Mass had to be said secretly in private houses, to administer the Sacraments was a serious offence. Nevertheless, Pro gave Communion daily to some three hundred people, confessions were heard in half-built houses in darkness, retreats 'were held in garages. Pro escaped the plain-clothes police again and again. Once he found them at the entrance to a house where he was supposed to say Mass; he posed as a police officer, showing an imaginary badge and remarking, 'There's a cat bagged in here', and passed into the house and out again with his cassock under his arm. Followed by detectives when he left a Catholic house and with only fifty yards' start, he disappeared altogether from their sight round a corner - the only man they overtook was a lover out with his girl. The prisons were filling up, priests were being shot, yet on three successive first Fridays Pro gave the Sacrament to nine hundred, thirteen hundred, and fifteen hundred people
Link (here) to the full prologue on St. Miguel Pro, S.J. 

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