Jose Sabas Reyes Salazar

St. Jose Sabas Reyes Salazar was born on December 4, 1883 in Jalisco, Mexico, to Norberto Reyes Lopez and Francisca Salazar Castillo.  His family was very poor and moved to Guadalajara for work.  To help his family he sold newspapers and was unable to finish elementary school.  

He entered Conciliar Seminary of Guadalajara where he was not supposed to be able to become a priest because he had not finished his elementary education.  The leaders at the seminary saw his noble and devout nature and recommended he join because the diocese needed him.  St. Sabas took holy orders and was ordained to the priesthood on December 24, 1911.  He celebrated his first Mass in Guadalajara in 1912 with his family and friends.  He was a priest in Veracruz.  In 1914, a religious persecution began.  Sabas asked to move to the Diocese of Guadalajara.  He moved again in 1919.  When worship had to be suspended, Father Sabas was left in charge of administering the sacraments, and gave the orphaned children asylum in his home.  Federal troops arrived, murdering and desecrating the Church by using it as a stable and destroying all of the holy images.  Then the troops set it on fire.  Father Sabas came to put out the fire.  HIs parishioners begged him to leave the areas, but he refused, saying if it was God’s will he would gladly accept martyrdom. 

In 1927, Father Sabas was warned that federal troops would attack again.  He went into hiding, with three orphans.  He spent his time praying the rosary.  When soldiers reached his hiding place, the homeowner denied he was there.  In order to protect her, her family, and the orphans hiding with him, he came out saying they could do as they wished with him.  They tied his arms and dragged him away to the parish church, which had been turned into a stable and to house soldiers.  He was tied to a column in the sun.  He was denied water.  For three days he was nearly starved and denied water.  They repeatedly burned his hands because they had been consecrated.  On April 12 he was tied by the hands and neck and taken to the General who interrogated him looking for other priests.  The soldiers continued to torture him.  They lit two bonfires.  One next to his face and the other next to his feet.  Occasionally, one of the soldiers would stab him with a burning stick.  At dusk on Holy Wednesday, he was dragged to a cemetery where he was shot many times.    He died April 13, 1927.