Saint of the Day – 20 September – Saint Jose Maria de Yermo y Parres (1851–1904) Priest, Founder of the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Poor – born on 10 November 1851 in Jalmolonga, Mexico and died on 20 September 1904 at Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico of natural causes. Patronage – the order he founded. He dedicated his life to catering to the needs of the abandoned and used his order to take care of the poor’s spiritual and material needs.
The priest José María de Yermo y Parres was born in the Hacienda de Jalmolonga, municipality of Malinalco, Edo. of Mexico on 10 November 1851, son of the lawyer Manuel de Yermo y Soviñas and María Josefa Parres. From noble origins, he was educated in the faith by his father and Aunt Carmen as his mother died 50 days after his birth. Very soon he discovered his vocation to the priesthood.
At the age of 16 he left the paternal house to enter the Congregation of the Mission in Mexico City. After a vocational crisis he left the religious family of the Vincentians and continued his way to the priesthood in the Diocese of León and there he was ordained on 24 August 1879. His first years of priesthood were fruitful of activity and apostolic zeal.
He was an eloquent speaker, promoted youth catechesis and brilliantly held some important positions in the curia, to which he had to resign due to illness. The new bishop entrusted him with the care of two little churches located on the outskirts of the city – El Calvario and Santo Niño. He protested this appointment, viewing it as both unjust and as a humiliation. He, however, managed to discern the will of God and departed for his new assignment in obedience to Him.
One day, while heading to the Church of Calvary, he found himself facing a terrible scene – pigs were devouring two newborn babies. Devastated by this horrific scene, he felt challenged by God and in his loving heart he discerned a call to assist the abandoned and needy.
He opened “The Shelter of the Sacred Heart” on 13 December 1885 to cater to the needs of the poor in a move that laid the foundation for the beginning of a new religious order dedicated to serving the poor and at the same time evolved that into the order he titled the Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Poor at the summit of El Calvario.
From that day on, Father Yermo began the first steps of a long and constant escalation of surrender to the Lord and the brothers, who knows of sacrifice and self-denial, of joy and suffering, of peace and confusion, of poverty and misery, of appreciations and slander, of friendships and betrayals, of obediences and humiliations. His life was very troubled but although the tribulations and difficulties alternated at an almost dizzying pace, they never managed to defeat the ardent spirit of the apostle of evangelical charity.
In his not-so-long life (1851-1904) aged 52, he founded schools, hospitals, rest homes for the elderly, orphanages, a very organised house for the regeneration of women and shortly before his holy death, which occurred on 20 September 1904 after asking the nuns to sing the Ave Maria Stella. He was buried there at the motherhouse of the order. In the city of Puebla de los Ángeles, he led his religious family to the difficult mission among the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico.
His reputation for holiness spread rapidly in the people of God who asked for his intercession. He was Beatified by His Holiness St John Paul II on 6 May 1990 in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. … Vatican.va
St Pope John Paul Canonised St Jose Maria on 21 May 2000, at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City.
Before Father Yermo’s death, there were several foundations in Merida, Yucatan; Teziutlan, Puebla; Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Cordoba, Veracruz; Ocotlan, Tlaxcala; Guadalajara, Jalisco; Irapuato, Guanajuato; Chihuahua, Chihuahua,
and the first mission house in Tarahumara. After Father Yermo’s death it continues to grow in other places in Mexico and many countries – United States, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Italy and Kenya.
In all these places its members strive to live the charism of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of Saint Jose Maria de Yermo y Parres. The mission of the Servants is to show the love and mercy of Christ in all their works – schools, orphanages, hospitals, mission fields and all their other ministries. In some places this service to the poor is especially visible in parish work. Father Yermo left the congregation the following motto: “God will Provide” and the experience of the Providence of God is constant in all its works.
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