Blessed Andrés Solá, martyr in México
Andrés Solá Molist was born in the town of Taradell, Spain on October 7th, 1895. The preaching of some Claretians in his parish helped him discover his missionary vocation. He joined the Congregation of Missionaries in 1909. He was ordained priest in Segovia on September 23rd, 1922.
At 27 years of age, on August 28th, 1923, he was assigned to Mexico, with five other Claretian missionaries. The first year of his stay in Mexico he combined teaching in the Claretian Seminary of Toluca with preaching. During Christmas of 1924, he was transferred to the city of León. Father Solá carried out an intense evangelization activity: he preached many sermons, he gave missions in different towns and spiritual exercises to all types of people; he took charge of the catechesis and the worship activities in the Temple of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Father Andrew exercised his ministry for only a short time because in August of 1925 the anticlerical dispositions of the Mexican Constitution were applied with all rigor. Fr. Solá took refuge in house of the Alba sisters, but he continued clandestinely exercising the ministry, preaching and administering the sacraments. Talking about him, one of his superiors describes him as “a very young missionary, but with great daring for work”. His actions are motivated by his missionary vocation, but with the prudence required by the circumstances, and in prudence he was moved to Mexico City. With the permission of his Superiors, he returned to León, conscious of the danger that this presented for him, remembering that during the time of his formation, “he had a great desire to be a martyr”.
Again, in León, at the Alba sisters’ house, he met Fr. Trinidad Rangel, who was also in hiding. They established an intimate friendship in the brief period of their acquaintance, as Fr. Rangel was sent by his Superiors to celebrate the Easter services in San Francisco del Rincón, where he was arrested, taken back to León and jailed.
When some women went to the Commandant to see about Fr. Rangel, they inadvertently made reference to Fr. Solá. Upon leaving the station, they were followed by the police to the house of the Alba sisters, where they discovered Mr. Leonard Pérez, praying in the oratory before the Blessed Sacrament, and Fr. Solá, on whom they found incriminating photographs and objects. They were arrested and taken to the Seminary that served at times as the military commandant’s office. It was about noon on April 24th.
The military accused the three detainees of having derailed a train, two days before, between the stations of Mira and Los Salas, in the ranch called San Joaquin. After a mock process they were condemned to death, but the only and true reason for their execution was that they were priests, true for Frs. Rangel and Solá, and supposed in the case of Leonard Pérez.
The prisoners, at 8 p.m. of the same day of the 24th, were taken by train to the place of the derailment of which they were accused.
It was 8:45 in the morning of the 25th April when the three condemned received the rifle fire which was a coup de grâce for Trinidad Rangel and Leonard Pérez. Fr. Andrés Solá, still alive, bathed in his own blood in the middle of a petroleum pool, was found by those who worked on the repair of the rails, once the soldiers had left. He was able say that he was a priest and that he and his companions “die for Jesus, die for God” and he requested that they advise his mother of his death but “that her son is a martyr”. After two hours of terrible agony in which he repeated “Jesus mercy, Jesus forgive me! Jesus, I die for your cause”, his surrender to the Lord ended.
The three «Martyrs of San Joaquin» were beatified in Guadalajara (Mexico) on November 20th, 2005.