Today, the universal Church honors Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, known as the “Angel of Mexico”.
Sebastian was born of poor Spanish parents. At 31, he journeyed to Mexico, wherein he began to work very hard taking care of the fields. He was extremely ingenious, effective and talented, since he was known for building roads and/or bridges to help agricultural trading and merchandising, also fulfilling general travelling needs. His 466-mile road that went from Mexico City to Zacatecas took Sebastian ten years to build. Sebastian also had to deal with the politics that facilitated the building of this road with the indigenous people who lived in the various towns and cities that this road affected.
Sebastian, at the age of 60, being a wealthy farmer and rancher, entered into a “virginal marriage” with a lady who did not have enough money for a dowry, allowing her to live a proper and respectable life. His first wife died and he once again, entered into a second such marriage for the same reason, with his second wife dying at a young age.
There is no end to Sebastian’s generosity and kindness. At the age of 72, he distributed all of his personal property to the poor and entered into the Franciscan order as a brother. He was assigned to the 100-member friary at Puebla de los Angeles, south of Mexico City. For the next 25 years, Francis collected alms for the friars.
For the sake of background, the Franciscan order provided that all of the friars were to work for their bread. But many times, whilst the Franciscans were serving the poor and the lepers, they had no monies to give them. Hence, begging for alms was then permitted.
St. Francis demanded that the friars give good examples, that they live their lives pursuant to what they preach. One time, St. Francis entered a town with his brothers, wherein the brothers expected St. Francis to preach. He did not say a word to the people. When questioned by his brothers why he did not speak, St. Francis said, “Speak the Gospel constantly, and when necessary, use words.” St. Francis explained that just by walking through the town as they did, treating people with kindness and love, was the highest manner of preaching. Certainly, Sebastian truly lived his life in a Christ-like manner as has been set forth above. Therefore, he preached incessantly! Nevertheless, St. Francis gave the brothers this maxim:
“There is a contract between the world and the friars. The friars must give the world a good example; the world must provide for their needs. When they break faith and withdraw their good example, the world will withdraw its hand in a just censure.” (2 Celano, #70).
Sebastian’s wonderful charity and generosity up to and including his age in the 90’s, earned him the name, “Angel of Mexico”. In 1787, Sebastian was beatified, and received the honor of being called, “Blessed”.
What a wonderful man! His compassion, empathy, kindness and generosity is what Jesus requires of us! The thought came to my mind what the famous French priest, St. Vincent de Paul, said, “Be kind, be kind, be kind, and you will be a saint!” Let us attempt to follow the example of dear Blessed Sebastian. We send you our love dear Blessed one, and we thank you for your wonderful example of being “Jesus in disguise“.
With love and respect,
Source: Vatican website