Wednesday, September 28, 2022

St. Lorenzo Ruiz Feast Day

 One of the advantages of using a Catholic publication (Magnificat) for my morning meditation time is the history and fine art that I learn.  As a protestant, my exposure to Christian history, after the death of the disciple John, was whatever happened after 1708 (Church of the Brethren) or later when we joined Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, the dispersion and scattering of Christians into thousands of denominations after Martin Luther (German) and John Calvin (French) in the 16th century. 

On the Catholic calendar today is the feast day of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, and he was born around 1600 and canonized by John Paul II in 1987.  Although some U.S. Christians deny that Christians today are martyred or persecuted for their faith (the largest number by Communists), that's not what the statistics show.  Just because we have the First Amendment to our Constitution in the U.S. and do not feel personally persecuted doesn't mean it isn't happening in Asia and Africa where the growth is the strongest. 

"[He] and his 15 companion martyrs, all members and associates of the Dominican Order, were slain in Japan between 1633 and 1637.  Persecutions stemmed from a 1603 edict by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu banning Christianity.  From 1623, suspected Christians were forced to tread on images of Mary and Jesus. Those who refused were executed.  The tortures from his period were designed to force the victims to renounce their Faith.  Some Christians did apostasize.  The men and women honored today spent their last excruciating hours with their hearts raised in prayer and hymns of praise." (Magnificat, vol. 24, no. 7, p. 388-389).  

So of course, I had to turn to the internet for more information since my personal library is not much help. His death is just too gruesome to repeat, I don't even recommend that you look it up, but I was struck by the fact he was sort of an accidental martyr.  Although a devout Christian, he really hadn't intended to be a missionary to the Japanese, and got there by accident fleeing his homeland on a homicide charge. He arrived in the middle of a terrible persecution, but his faith and early training held up and endured the most terrible torture. 

Because this group of Christians who were killed in the 17th century were in Nagasaki, one of the bombed cities at the end of WWII, I continued looking through historical material on the internet.  I found out a remnant of the Christians survived, and even had a thriving community in the 1940s.  That area of Nagasaki where they lived was at the center of the destruction and was destroyed.  One Christian survivor of the A-bomb  believes "the war ended because of our sacrifice.”

Christian Persecution in the 21st Century - Good News Christian NewsGood News Christian News (

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