Padre Belauzarán

Following the capture of the Alhóndiga, most of the prisoners and royalists were put to the sword, which, in turn, prompted the royalist General Calleja to issue the order, on his arrival in Guanajuato, to have the entire population’s throats cut.

On hearing this, Father José María de Jesús Belaunzarán, a Franciscan monk, mounted his horse and holding an image of Christ, rode out to meet Calleja:

“Sir,” he said, “These people have not done the slightest harm; if they had, they’d have fled to the mountains like others have done. Sir, rescind this order than you have given.

And General Calleja did, changing his order to another that, while less bloody, was, in the end, no less cruel. The townspeople were off the hook, if only for the moment, thanks to the actions of a true benefactor, who remained forgotten for many years until, when the Guanajuato river was paved over to create one of the city’s most beautiful streets, the city remembered him and baptized it with his illustrious name.

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