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St. Luis Batis Sáinz

Knights of Columbus Council 2367

Durango, México

Luis Batis Sáinz was born in San Miguel Mezquital, Zacatecas, on Sept. 13, 1870. A student of the conciliar seminary of Durango, he was ordained a priest on Jan. 1, 1894.

Soon after his ordination, he was entrusted with the parish of San Juan de Guadalupe, Durango and, in October 1902, with the one in Canatlan, Durango. He was also the spiritual director of the conciliar seminary in the episcopal city. In August 1925, he was named parish priest of Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, his last destination, where he stayed for a few but very productive months. He promoted the Catholic Association of Mexican Youth (ACJM, the acronym in Spanish) and founded a Catholic workers’ workshop and an apostolic school. Attentive, friendly, cheerful, kind, and good-natured, he was able to gain the trust of the children.

Full of fervor for the Eucharist, he offered Mass with notable piety. He was known to have said: “Lord, I want to be a martyr; although I am Your unworthy minister, I want to shed my blood, drop by drop, in Your name.”

On July 31, 1926, in the last public religious service over which he presided, he referred to the anticlerical law that would go into effect the next day, saying, “The author of this misfortune isn’t the government or President (Plutarco Elías) Calles, but rather the sins of everyone, and so Catholics must not rise up in arms; that isn’t Christian behavior.”

Accused of conspiring against the government, he was yanked out of bed on the night of August 14 by  soldiers who told him, “We’ve come for you; you are trampling on General (and President) Calles’ laws. You have been offering Mass and baptizing and marrying in secret." Under President Calles’ government,this was a crime. Soon afterward, three young men of the ACJM were also captured.

At noon the next day, two detachments took Father Batis and three laymen, Manuel Morales, David Roldan, and Salvador Lara, out of Chalchihuites. The clergyman’s face was serene and calm.

“Father, don’t forget us!” someone shouted, as the priest was led away. “If you are my children, I won’t forget you,” he replied. Then, from the window of the vehicle that would take them to their death, he said: "I'm going to give you a blessing and, please, don't follow me. Nothing is going to happen."

At the crossroads of the Las Bocas and Canutillo roads, after walking about 500 yards, the soldiers fell into a square formation. Standing before the firing squad, Father Batis asked to speak: “I beseech you, for the sake of Manuel Morales’ little children,  that you spare his life. I offer my life for his. I will be a victim; I am willing to be one.” The troops listened to this plea impassively. Morales replied to the priest, “I am dying for God, and God will care for my children.” Smiling, Father Batis gave him absolution and said, “I’ll see you in heaven.” A rifle barrage cut the four men down. Their remains are enshrined in what used to be his parish church.

Based on Canonización de Veintisiete Santos Mexicanos