In 1917, the Socialist Mexican government began enforcing harsh anti-clerical laws aimed at breaking the power of the Catholic Church over the Mexican people. By 1926, the persecution had become so fierce that the people began to push back against the oppressive regime.
Rallying together under the cry “Viva Cristo Rey” (Love Live Christ the King) and calling themselves “Cristeros,” they fought the Mexican authorities to preserve the church and protect the faithful. One of these was a woman named Ines Cardenas.
Ines was an unlikely looking supporter of the Cristero cause, because her father was a judge and her husband the head of law enforcement in their small town. I heard of her from her great-nephew as we were working out together at the gym.
With a laugh, he told of the bravery and guile of his Tia Inez who hid Cristero soldiers and guns in her own house and property right under the nose of her vehemently anti-Catholic husband, and held secret Masses in her kitchen on the evenings that her husband and his men were out raiding houses in search of the priest he knew was squirreled away somewhere in town. Had he only looked among the men working in his fields, he’d have found the priest on his own payroll.
With guns stored in their hayloft, a priest in the field, and fugitives using their home as a safe house, Inez proved that the best place to hide really is in plain sight because her husband never bothered to look for Catholics right in his own backyard.
photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons