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Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury
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Martyrs of Gorkum

Murdered for their belief in the Real Presence

Public Domain

Martyred Diocesan and Religious Priests (d. 1572)

Their story

+ This group of 19 priests and lay brothers were martyred on July 9, 1572, by Calvinists who objected to the priests’ efforts to combat the work of Protestant reformers.

+ Among the group are members of the secular clergy, Norbertines and Franciscans, as well as a Dominican friar and Augustinian friar.

+ The group of martyrs includes Saint Nicholas Pieck, a Franciscan priest from the Netherlands who was known as a friendly, open, and modest man. He served as the guardian (superior) of the Franciscans’ house in Gorkum and he was a staunch defender of the Catholic Faith, particularly the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

+ On July 9 the citadel of Gorkum was seized by Calvinist forces and the priests and religious were imprisoned. They were told they could go free if they would renounce their loyalty to Rome. Each refused and they were hanged together.

+ The Martyrs of Gorkum were canonized in 1867.

Spiritual bonus

On July 9, the Church also celebrates the commemoration of Saint Augustine Zhao-Rong and the Martyrs of China.

For reflection

Let us take our place, dear brothers and sisters, at the school of the Saints, who are the great interpreters of true Eucharistic piety. In them the theology of the Eucharist takes on all the splendor of a lived reality; it becomes “contagious” and, in a manner of speaking, it ‘warms our hearts.’”—Pope Saint John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia


God our Father, you gave victory to your holy martyrs, Nicholas and companions, and adorned them with the crown of eternal life. Imitating their constancy, may we also attain with them to eternal glory. 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 Franciscan Proper of Saints)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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