Killed from 1648-1930
+ This group of martyrs includes 120 men, women, and children, including 85 Chinese, who gave their lives for the Catholic Faith.
+ Martyred over the course of several centuries, this diverse group also includes 33 European missionaries from the Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Parish Foreign Mission Society, Salesians, PIME Missionaries, and sisters from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
+ Saint Augustine Zhao-Rong, for whom the group is named, was a native Chinese priest from the Su-Tchuen Province. Arrested because of his Christian faith and ministry, he died in prison in 1815.
+ The earliest of the martyrs to be honored in this group is Saint Francis Ferdinand de Capillas, a Dominican priest who was martyred in the Fujian Province in 1648. He is honored as the proto-martyr of the Martyrs of China.
+ The Martyrs of China were canonized in 2000 and are honored collectively as the patron saints of China.
The Christian Faith was introduced in China in the 5th century and the first church was built there in the 7th century. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Christian community flourished. The first Chinese diocese was established in Beijing in the 13th century.
“We came here to exercise charity and to shed our blood for the love of Jesus Christ, if that needs be.”—Saint Marie Hermine, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary who was martyred with six other sisters on July 9, 1900.
All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave Augustine Zhao Rong and the martyrs of China
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.