Vincentian Missionary and Martyr (1802-1840)
+ Jean-Gabriel was born in Le Peuch, France. At the age of 16, he followed his elder brother as a seminarian, including the choice to follow him into religious life. Jean-Gabriel entered the Congregation of the Missions (the Vincentians) in 1818.
+ Ordained a priest in 1825, he served as a professor theology and seminary rector. He also served as director of novices for his congregation.
+ After his brother died on his way to the Vincentian missions in China, Jean-Gabriel agreed to take his place. He set sail for China in 1835, arriving in Macao in June 1836.
+ In 1839, a widespread persecution of Christians erupted because of international conflicts between European powers and China.
+ Jean-Gabriel was denounced to the authorities by one of the catechumens and he was arrested. After more than a year in prison, during which time he suffered severe tortures and abuse, he was strangled to death on September 11, 1840.
+ Honored as the first saint associated with China, he was canonized in 1996.
For prayer and reflection
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”—John 10:11
On this day, the Church honors the memory of five Martyrs of Ireland: the Dominican priests Dominic Dillon and Richard Overton, the Jesuit priest John Bathe, the Augustinian priest Peter Taafe, and Thomas Bathe, a priest of the archdiocese of Armagh. These priests were martyred on September 11, 1649, as part of the persecution that accompanied the English suppression of Irish culture and religious tradition. They were beatified in 1992.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may follow with due devotion the faith of blessed Jean-Gabriel, who, for spreading the faith, merited the crown of martyrdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Missionary Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.