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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
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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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Anthony Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

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