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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.


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.


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."

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Friday, February 6, 2015
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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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