Alfredo Méndez Medina, writing from Belgium in January 1911, was possessed by the idea that Mexico's social and economic organization required radical change. Méndez Medina, a Mexican Jesuit priest and developing labor activist, had spent just a few years in Europe, sent by his superiors to learn the techniques, strategies, and ideology of Catholic social action. What he saw and experienced there helped shape his vision for Mexico and guided his work upon his return in late 1912. In Europe, the young Méndez Medina observed firsthand the Catholic unions, ministries, and propagandists of L'Action Populaire, an influential French social Catholic institution founded by Gustave Desbuquois, S.J. (1869-1959) in Reims. In a few brief notes, Méndez Medina wrote that Desbuquois's earthy, no-nonsense way of speaking to ordinary workers, and his profound spirituality, had impressed him deeply. To Méndez Medina, Desbuquois appeared to link seamlessly his religious faith, his social commitments, his sense of duty, and his politics.