Tuesday 17 September 2019

Saint José Boy Cristero Martyr - Fr. Kevin McKenzie

Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr
Vision Books
Fr. Kevin McKenzie
John Herreid (Illustrator)
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621642428
eISBN 9781642290769

I picked this book up to read because my interest in this saint was sparked by the novel Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey, written by Father Stephen Gemme and Deacon George O’Connor. After a brief encounter with stories about Saint Jose in that story I had to read more about the saint. And this book did not disappoint. I have picked up a few other books from the Vision Books series on the lives of saints. But have not got around to reading them yet. But after how much I benefited from reading this story, they have jumped way up in my to be read list. But back to this book about Saint Jose.

I need to state first that this is a new and revised version of a book originally published as Blessed Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr. Doing a side by side comparison the books are very similar. A few chapter titles are changed, and some chapters in the original are combined as sections in the current edition. But there are enough differences that you could read both versions, because of changes of wording. But most readers will settle for reading one or the other.

I can understand while there is such devotion to this saint in Mexico, and among those of Mexican heritage. I do not know how any Catholic could read this story and not be inspired. Or be encouraged in the small trials and issues they experience in their lives. The author shares how he experienced the story of Saint Jose in the sixth grade. That story by a visiting teacher he states:

“he told us the story of a Mexican boy who was martyred for his faith and never stopped shouting, “Long live Christ the King!” When I heard about this fourteen-year-old boy, explosions went off in my twelve-year-old heart. If José could give his life for God, then I could do something for God too.”

Father McKenzie also states:

“When I looked for more about José, I couldn’t find a single book about him in English. That was 1993. In 2004, I decided it was time for me to put his story in writing. This book is the result of ten years of research, during which time I obtained copies of what I believe to be every historical document ever written about José.”

This volume is that book. It is the story of José Luis Sánchez del Río who at the age of 14 died because of his love for God, and for his faithful devotion the Catholic church. He died a martyr because he would not renounce his faith. He was condemned by his own god father, who was a politician, and mayor and was trying to size power. He died even though his father sold everything he had to ransom his life. It is the story of incredible devotion and bravery. And the story reads like an adventure novel, a case of truth being even better than fiction.

An excellent read. If you only have a passing knowledge of this saint, I strongly encourage you to read this book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Father Kevin McKenzie:
Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr
Blessed Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr


The Theodore Books:
The Adventures of Theodore
The Return of Theodore


Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 

Out of Print books in the Series:
Brother Andre of Montreal 
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Father Kino, Priest to the Pimas 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young 

Other books about Catholic Mexican History:
The Mexican Crisis Its Causes and Consequences - Rev. Michael Kenny, S.J., Ph.D.
Blood-Drenched Altars: A Catholic Commentary on the History of Mexico - Francis Kelley
Saints and Sinners in the Cristero War: Stories of Martyrdom from Mexico - James Murphy 

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