Priest and Martyr (1814-1856)
+ Auguste was born in La Rochelle-Normande, France. Following grammar school, he discontinued his education to work on the family farm. His family opposed his desire to become a priest, but the sudden death of two of his brothers led them to have a change of heart.
+ He entered the seminary in 1834, studying with boys half his age, and was ordained in 1843. After serving as a parish priest for 7 years, he received permission to serve in the foreign missions.
+ Auguste left Parish for the Chinese missions in 1852, arriving in Singapore on September 5, 1852.
+ Because of several setbacks, including being robbed of everything he had by bandits, he finally reached his assignment in the Kwang-si Province in 1854, only to be arrested ten days later. After three weeks in prison, he was released and able to serve the local community for two years, converting hundreds to the Christian Faith.
+ Auguste was arrested on February 26, 1856, and sentenced to death for his work. He was tortured and died with Saint Lawrence Pe-Man and Saint Agnes Tsau Kouy. They were canonized together with other Martyrs of China in 2000. These martyrs are honored collectively on July 9.
“Resplendent in this host of martyrs are also the 33 missionaries who left their land and sought to immerse themselves in the Chinese world, lovingly assimilating its features in the desire to proclaim Christ and to serve those people. Their tombs are there as if to signify their definitive belonging to China, which they deeply loved, although with their human limitations, and for which they spent all their energies.”—Pope Saint John Paul II
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: Collect for the Commemoration of Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and the Martyrs of China)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.