The Rule, Article 4

Saturday, February 6, 2010

PETER BAPTIST, PAUL MIKI & COMPANIONS, Martyrs, First and Third Orders

Peter Baptist was born in Spain in the year 1542. After completion of his studies and ordination to the priesthood he west out for the Orient to preach the Gospel. For many years he worked in the Philippine Islands. In the year 1593 he was sent with five other friars to Japan where he labored zealously converting many to the faith, building churches and a hospital. Due to the rise of religious and political controversies in the region Peter Baptist’s apostolic activities were interrupted, and he was arrested. Amid the jeers of the populace he was taken to Nagasaki where he and his companions together with three members of the Society of Jesus and fifteen Franciscan Tertiaries were executed by crucifixion. They achieved the glory of martyrdom on February 5, 1597. (names listed at end of post)
From the common of several martyrs, 1407

From the letters of Saint Peter Baptist of January 4 and February 2, 1597
(Archivio Ibero-Americano 6 [1916] 16-17)

We forfeit our lives for the preaching of the Gospel

Of the friars here six were arrested and kept in prison for several days. With them were three Japanese of the Society of Jesus – one of them professed – and also other Christian faithful. There are twenty of us all together. We are now traveling in this rather cold month of the winter. They are conducting us with cavalry and a strong guard. On some days more than two hundred men were assigned to keep us under guard. In spite of this we have great consolation, and we continue to rejoice in the Lord because according to the sentence pronounced against us we are to be crucified for having preached the law of God contrary to the king’s command. The rest were condemned because they are Christians.

Those who wish to die for Christ now have a golden opportunity. I think that the faithful of this region would have been greatly consoled if religious of our Order had been here, but they may rest assured that as long as this king rules, men in our habit will not live long in Japan because he will quickly send them to eternal life. May he get us there.

The sentence pronounced against us was written on a sign and carried before us. The sign read that we were condemned to death because we preached the law of Nauan (i.e., the law of Christ) contrary to the command of Taycosama, and would be crucified when we reached Nagasaki. For this we were very happy and consoled in the Lord since we had forfeited our lives to preach his law.

There are six friars here and eighteen Japanese, all condemned to death; some because they are preachers, other because they are Christians. From the Society of Jesus there is a brother, a catechist and a third, a layman. They took us out of the prison and put us on carts. Each had a part of an ear cut off and thus they conducted us through the streets of Miyako with very many people and soldiers following. Then we were again remanded to prison. On the following day, our hands were tied securely behind our backs, as they took us to Osaka while mounted soldiers urged us on.

On still another day they brought us out of prison again, mounted us on horses and conducted us through the streets of the city. We were also taken to Sakai where they did the same thing. On each occasion there was a public proclamation by the town crier. We knew we had been condemned to death but only while in Osaka were we informed that our execution was to take place in Nagasaki.

For the love of God let your charity commend us to God that the sacrifice of our lives may be acceptable in his sight. From what I have heard here I think we will be crucified this coming Friday because it was on a Friday that they cut off a part of each one’s ear at Miyako, an event we accepted as a gift from God. We all ask you then with great fervor to pray for us for the love of God.

Dearest brothers, help us with your prayers that our death may be acceptable to the majesty of God in heaven where, God willing, we hope to go. We will remember you . We have not forgotten your love here. I have loved you and still love you with all my heart. I wish you the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Farewell, dearest brothers, because there is no longer any time to speak to you. Until we meet in heaven. Remember me.

From: Proper Offices of Franciscan saints and blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Martyrs of Nagasaki (5-II-1597
Franciscan Friars:
San Pedro Bautista Blázquez, superior of the mission (1542-1597)
San Felipe de Jesus or de las Casas (1571-1597)
San Francisco Blanco (1567-1597)
San Francisco or La Parrilla de San Miguel (1543-1597)
San Gonzalo García (1562-1597)
San Martín Aguirre of the Ascension (1567-1597)

Secular Franciscans:
Nagasaki San Antonio (13 years old)
St. Bonaventure of Miyako
St. Cosmas Takeya
Miyako San Francisco Fahelante
Miyako San Francisco Medical
San Gabriel Ize
San Joaquin Sakakibara Osaka
San Juan Kinuyo Miyako
San Leon Kasasumara
San Luis Ibaraki (12 years old)
St. Matthias of Miyako
St. Michael Kozaki, father of St. Thomas Kozaki
San Pablo Ibaraki, Ibaraki uncle of St. Louis
St. Paul Suzuki
Miyako San Pedro Sukejiro
Thomas Idauki Miyako or Ize
St. Thomas Kozaki (14 years), son of St. Michael Kozaki

Saint Paul Miki, professed priest
San Juan de Goto, catechist
San Diego Kisai, catechist

No comments: