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Saint of the Day—available on the iPhone!

Saint of the Day
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

February 6
St. Peter Baptist and Companions
(d. 1597)


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Nagasaki is famous to us because of the atomic bomb exploded there in 1945. That city is also known among Franciscans for the friars and tertiaries martyred there in 1597.

Peter Baptist Blasquez was born in 1542 to a noble Spanish family; he joined the Franciscans in his homeland. He worked for several years in the Philippine Islands and in 1592 was delegated by Philip II of Spain to negotiate peace with Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan.

Peter Baptist and several confreres accomplished their mission and stayed in Japan to spread the gospel. Their success in making converts and establishing churches and hospitals frightened Hideyoshi. In December 1596 he imprisoned Peter Baptist, two other priests, two brothers, a cleric, 17Japanese Secular Franciscans and three Jesuits.

Condemned to death in early January at Miyako, these prisoners were led on a painful four-week trip to Nagasaki. On February 5, 1597, they were crucified and run through with spears. They were canonized in 1862.



Comment:

The "sacrifice" Peter Baptist referred to (see Quote, below) bore fruit. In the 1860’s, Christian missionaries were again allowed into Nagasaki and found there a small but strong Catholic community which had begun in the time of the Franciscan martyrs. Coming together regularly, these Catholics read the Scriptures and prayed the rosary as a way of keeping their faith alive. Missionaries always work with trust that God will complete their beginnings. A good work—in the missions or elsewhere—is never wasted.

Quote:

Three days before his death, Peter Baptist wrote his confreres outside Japan: "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 accept as a gift from God. We all ask you then with great fervor to pray for us for the love of God."

Patron Saint of:

Japan


Friday, February 6, 2015
Saint of the Day for 2/5/2015 Saint of the Day for 2/7/2015

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.



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Elizabeth of Portugal: Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom. 
<p>He, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.</p> American Catholic Blog In the name of the Father, use my mind to bring you honor, and of the Son, fill my heart to spread your word, and of the Holy Spirit, strengthen me to carry you out to all the world. Amen.

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