mardi 8 septembre 2015


Blessed Martyrs of Japan (AC)

Died at Nagasaki, Japan, 1628 (1634?); beatified in 1867. These brave Christians all grew up amid scenes of terror, when Christians were dying regularly, yet they maintained the faith and developed it. The most complete information I have comes from the Dominicans and concentrates on just two of the martyrs, but will provide some background. There may be other martyrs that should be included in this list, but these are the ones I found:

Antony (Blessed) of Saint Bonaventure, OFM -- Born in Tuy, Galicia, Spain, 1588. After studying in Salamanca, Blessed Antony joined the Franciscans. He was appointed to serve in the Manila mission, where he was ordained priest. Thereafter he migrated to Japan, where he is recorded to have reconciled 2,700 apostates before he was burned alive.

Antony (Blessed) of Saint Dominic, OP Tert. -- 20-year-old native of Japan, a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, and a friend of Blessed Dominic Castellet, the vicar provincial; beheaded.

Dominic (Blessed) of Nagasaki, OFM -- Native catechist, who, while he was imprisoned at Omura, received the Franciscan habit from Blessed Antony of Saint Bonaventure; burned alive.

Dominic (Blessed) Nifaki -- Two-year-old son of Louis Nifaki, beheaded.

Francis (Blessed) Nifaki -- Five-year-old son of Louis Nifaki, beheaded.

James (Blessed) Fayaxida, OP Tert. -- Japanese layman who joined the Dominican tertiaries before his decapitation for the faith.

John (Blessed) Tomaki, OP Tert. -- Japanese layman, member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, a very active Catholic and the proud father of four sons who were also martyred: Blessed Dominic (age 16), Michael (age 13), Paul (age 7)

John (Blessed) Inamura, OP Tert. -- Japanese layman, member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, beheaded for assisting the missionaries.

Jordan (Blessed) of Saint Stephen, OP -- Born in Sicily, Jordan became a Dominican and read all he could about the Oriental missions. When someone from the Philippines requested help, he convinced his superiors to send him. So, he joined other missionaries sailing from Seville, Spain, for the New World. During the voyage, he translated a biography of Saint Dominic from Spanish into Latin.

In Manila he was appointed infirmarian to the Chinese hospital so that he could learn Chinese and Japanese. He also studied the religious customs and superstitions of the people he would be teaching. Eventually he went to Japan disguised as a Chinese layman--it is unknown how a Sicilian could possibly do that!

Few priests were still able to preach during the persecutions. Once Jordan was saved by Blessed Dominic of Eriquicia. He was not as lucky on the Feast of Saint Dominic, when Thomas of Saint Hyacinth and he decided to visit a group of Christians who had not had a priest for eight years. That night one of the Christians warned them that the emperor's soldiers were nearby hunting for an Augustinian. The two priests tried to escape to prevent endangering the Christians, but were caught.

They were imprisoned for three months, repeated interrogated. During this time a native who spoke Portuguese came to them, pretending to be a Christian who had apostatized. He trampled on the crucifix, and the priests, heavily chained, tried to rescue it. They were condemned to die in the pits by being burned alive after undergoing the water torture--it took seven days for them to die. Dorcy relates that Jordan and Thomas of Saint Hyacinth were martyred on November 11, 1634; the Benedictine do not list Jordan and set the date for Thomas on September 8, 1628.

Laurence (Blessed) Jamada -- member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, son of Blessed Michael Jamada, beheaded.

Louis (Blessed) Nifaki, OP Tert. -- Like Blessed John Tomaki, Louis was a Japanese member of the Dominican tertiaries. He was beheaded with two of his sons, Blessed Francis (age 5) and Dominic (age 2), for sheltering missionaries.

Matthew (Blessed) Alvarez, OP Tert. -- Beheaded because he was a native catechist and a member of the Third Order of the Friar Preachers.

Michael (Blessed) Jamada, OP Tert. -- Another Japanese layman and Dominican tertiary who was beheaded.

Michael (Blessed) Tomaki -- 13-year-old son of John Tomaki, beheaded.

Paul (Blessed) Aybara, OP Tert. -- Japanese catechist beheaded for the faith.

Paul (Blessed) Tomaki -- seven-year-old son of John Tomaki, beheaded.

Thomas (Blessed) of Saint Hyacinth, OP -- Thomas was another native catechist, born in Nagasaki and trained by the Jesuits who had also trained his parents as catechists. Thomas joined the Dominicans in Manila, the Philippines, where he was ordained. His scholastic record at the University of Santo Thomas was good; he perfected his Spanish and studied everything that he thought would make him more useful as an evangelist. As an able theologian, Thomas was the model of all virtues. With three others dressed as laymen, he made his way back to Japan through Formosa. They worked in the Dominican mission in Japan until each was caught; Thomas lasted the longest--four years. He was burned alive with Blessed Dominic Castellet (Benedictines, Dorcy).