It was 2003 when Sylvia Mu??oz Schnopp first heard of Mexico's Cristero Revolution through her father's description of the civil war that gripped the country in the late 1920's. After all, Mexican history was unfamiliar to the Oxnard, CA native, but as her father recounted his childhood and witnessed martyrs hanging from trees, she realized he kept the story private for more than seventy years.
Now a film about the war entitled "For Greater Glory" ("Cristiada") stars Andy Garcia as Cristero General Enrique Gorostieta and Eva Longoria as his wife, debuts in Los Angeles and has gained worldwide acclaim.
Schnopp believes the movie gives a profound level of importance to history experienced by her ancestors. "My family was intimately involved with the Cristero Revolution. They and other notable individuals from that era are the subjects of my historical novel, 'Abandoned Angels'."
While her paternal grandfather's ranch located in the Los Altos region of Jalisco was Cristero headquarters for General Victoriano "El Catorce" Ramirez and his ragtag team of Catholic warriors, her maternal grandfather mingled with military men known as Federales and government leaders in Ocotlan, Jalisco.
After her father died in December 2003, she wrote an bilingual editorial for a local newspaper about the Cristero Revolution that resulted in several inquiries, access to a private book collection on the subject matter and years of research before writing the first page of her novel. She interviewed people who fought and lived through the war, visited historical sites, collected photographs and documented experiences.
"I believe it's my responsibility to share the story with Latinos young and old, throughout the U.S. and world. Mexicans have a rich cultural heritage that needs to be acknowledged and this is the time to do it," she added.
As a mainstream novel written in English, "Abandoned Angels" will be available soon on amazon.com, with a Spanish language version to follow. "My father was a humble man who never wanted the spotlight. While interviewing him, I mentioned he had an interesting life and that I'd like to write a book about it. He nodded his head and gave me his blessing. It's as if I received my inheritance."
"Even though the vast majority of Cristeros have since died, the film and novel allow this important period in Mexican history to live in perpetuity," she added.
Schnopp is a self-taught subject matter expert on the Cristero Revolution and available to community groups, meet-ups, churches and schools.
Sylvia Mu??oz Schnopp:
Schnopp currently serves as a Port Hueneme (CA) City Councilmember and Former Mayor. A minister and college professor, she created United Way's "Day of Caring". She traces her Mexican ancestry to notable politicians and judicial leaders. Author's website Email the author