From the Commander of Kadosh (June 2020)

posted Jun 3, 2020, 7:14 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Last month I wrote the grave of Ill Edwin A. Sherman, 33rd Degree, Grand Cross in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland held the heart of the Mexican Masonic martyr, Jose Ignacio Herrera y Cairo.  Brother Cairo was born in Mexico in 1826 and became a surgeon in 1845.  By 1856 he was the deputy governor of the Department of Jalisco.


During his short time in politics there were differences between his government and the military and clergy.  At one point he brought the prelates of the Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and other religious orders to the government palace and rebuked them for encouraging the enemies of the government.  The charges were denied.  During this time, he appointed a special lawyer to defend the Indians in land disputes.


His health caused him to leave the political arena.  He devoted himself to agriculture and provided free medical services in the towns surrounding his Hacienda de la Providencia


Unfortunately, his quiet life would soon take a tragic turn.  One of his enemies accused him of having weapons at the Hacienda.  A column of 500 soldiers was dispatched and took him prisoner on May 20, 1858.  Early the next morning one of the officers went to the local pharmacy, obtained chloroform, brought it back to the Hacienda and administered it to Cairo.  The drugged Cairo was taken to a tree in the main square, laid down and shot.


Sometime earlier, Cairo told his Masonic brothers that if he was ever murdered his heart should be preserved to show he had the heart of a man who died for his devotion to Masonic principles.


Cairo’s heart was removed as a relic and he was buried outside the parish church.  Shortly after Cairo’s death the local governor declared him a hero, gave his family a life time pension and two divisions of the Federal Army were named in his honor.


In 1893 his heart was taken to Oakland and kept in the Masonic Temple. Next month, more about the burial in Oakland.