Cristobal Magallanes Jara was born on a farm in Mexico. He entered the seminary at 19, and served as parish priest at Totatiche, Mexico.
He also helped found schools, a newspaper, catechism centers for children and adults, carpentry shops and an electric plant to power the mills. In addition, he worked with the indigenous people to form agrarian cooperatives with the town’s people. Cristobal was particularly known for his devotion to Our Lady.
The 1917 Mexican constitution was pointedly anti-clerical and anti-Church, and its adoption instituted years of violent religious persecution including expulsion of foreign priests, closing of parochial schools, and the murders of several priests and lay leaders who worked to minister to the faithful and support religious freedom.
When the anti–Church government closed all seminaries, Father Cristobal gathered displaced seminarians, and started his own seminary; it was quickly suppressed. He formed another, and another, and when they were all closed, the seminarians conducted classes in private homes.
He wrote and preached against armed rebellion but was falsely accused of promoting the Cristero guerilla revolt. Cristobal was arrested on May 21, 1927, while en route to celebrate Mass at a farm. In prison he gave away his few remaining possessions to his executioners, gave them absolution, and without a trial, he was martyred with St. Agustin Caloca.
In all, 25 martyrs died at different times and places but all as a result of this persecution were celebrated together. They each have separate memorials but are also remembered as a group.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Thua, L. (2018, May 17). St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara and Companions, Martyrs. Catholic Daily Readings. https://catholicreadings.org/saint-of-the-day-may-21-cristobal-magallanes-jara-and-companions/