Tag Archives: Martyrs




Mary Guo Li, a native of Hu-jia-che, China (Hebei Province), was a Catholic wife and grandmother, with numerous children and grandchildren, all of whom were raised in the Catholic faith.

In 1900 a Chinese quasi-religious faction known to history as the “Boxers” embarked upon a bloody persecution of Christians in China.

Mary instructed her children and grandchildren that under no circumstances were they to deny their faith, warning two of her sons, “Remember that if you apostatise, I shall no longer be your mother!”

On 29th June 1900, the Boxers raided the family’s home, murdered Mary’s husband Guo Zhinfang, and torched the house.

Sensing that she would soon share her husband’s fate, Mary spent the days that followed preparing herself with the recitation of the rosary, fasting, and spiritual reading.

On 7th July the sixty-five-year-old grandmother was put to death by the Boxers together with three of her daughters and four of her grandchildren. Before being executed, Mary offered a final word of encouragement to her family, telling them, “Don’t cry. We are going to heaven to enjoy eternal life.”

“They are happy whose life is blameless, who follow God’s law.” (Ps 118:1)


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Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. (Jm 1:12)


O God, of those that fought thy fight,

Portion, and prize, and crown of light,

Break every bond of sin and shame

As now we praise thy Martyr’s name.


He decked not of the world’s allure,

But sin and pomp of sin foreswore:

Knew all their gall, and passed them by,

And reached the throne prepared on high.


Bravely the course of pain he ran,

And bare his torments as a man:

For love of thee his blood outpoured,

And thus obtained the great reward.


With humble voice and suppliant word

We pray thee therefore, holy Lord,

While we the Martyr’s feast-day keep,

Forgive thy loved and erring sheep.


Glory and praise for aye be done

To God the Father, and the Son,

And Holy Spirit, who reign on high,

One God, to all eternity. Amen.


– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in More Inspirational Hymns


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[On 14th February], one of the Blesseds remembered by the Church is Blessed Vicente Vilar David. The youngest of eight children, Blessed Vicente was born to a ceramics manufacturer and his wife on June 28, 1889, in Valencia, Spain. His parents were devoted to their Catholic faith, and their children received a good Christian education. After attending a school run by the Piarist Fathers, Blessed Vicente enrolled at a technical school and earned an industrial engineer’s degree.

Blessed Vicente married a young woman named Isabel and the two lived a model Christian life together. Blessed Vicente became involved in his parish, helping the priests however he could. He also took over the management of his father’s ceramics factory. His workers saw him not only as their boss, but also as a caring father. He was concerned that they would be treated with the justice and dignity to which all workers have a right.

He got fired because of his Catholic beliefs

In the summer of 1936, the Spanish Civil War was at its peak in Valencia. The persecution of Catholics and of the Church by the governing regime was also very intense. Blessed Vicente, who had been teaching at a ceramics trade school, was fired because of his Catholic beliefs. He bravely continued to encourage other Catholics and to give the priests whatever support and help he could. He would welcome priests and religious into his home in order to save their lives.

On February 14, 1937, he was called to appear before a tribunal and commanded to stop his activities on behalf of the Catholic Church. Blessed Vicente replied that being a Catholic was his greatest calling and he would not give up, even if it meant death. He was immediately sentenced to be executed. He was permitted to see his wife and encouraged her with words of faith and conviction. He publicly forgave his persecutors and enemies. Then he was shot to death on the very same day he was arrested.

The ceramics factory workers were outraged. In protest at Blessed Vicente’s execution, they went on strike for three days. They told the socialist officials who tried to prevent their strike, “You have robbed us of our employer and our father. Because he was prudent, kind, and concerned for our working conditions, we not only respected him; we loved him.”

Blessed Vicente was beatified on October 1, 1995 by Pope Saint John Paul II. His death by violent hands was recognised as a true martyrdom for the faith. Our faith applies to every aspect of our lives. In our family and social life, our time at school, our time spent working, we are called to put into practice the values that Jesus taught in the Gospel.

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris (2/2016)


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• “‘Who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?’ (Luke 22:27)


• ‘Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are ‘consecrated to be… a royal priesthood’ (CCC 1546)


• St Thomas Becket is the Patron saint of English priests. They are blessed because of this and stand on the broad shoulders of this manly and courageous saint. His murder in Canterbury cathedral was witnessed first hand. Like St Stephen, with blood streaming down his face he prayed, ‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.’ His last words as he lay dying were, ‘For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death.’ We pray for our clergy that they would know a renewal of their grace of ordination and dedicate their lives in a new way to the building of the kingdom of heaven.


• St Thomas Becket, pray for us. St Thomas Becket, pray for our priests and give them strength to live out their holy vocation.


• Our Father…, Ten Hail Mary…, Glory be…


• Today my prayer is for…”

– From the Resource for the Year of Faith 2012 by Alive Publishing.


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“It was while Speke Hall was still in Catholic hands that Rev. John Almond died for the Catholic Faith. He was born about the year 1577 at Speke, so one account says, or on the borders of Alperton, as he himself states in his examination. He went to school at Much Woolton, and passed thence to the English College at Rheims and then to that at Rome. Little is known of his life on the Mission, but the following account of him is given in Challoner’s Memoirs of Missionary Priests:


…came to suffer at Tyburn for the Catholic religion…


‘On Saturday, being 5th December, 1612, between 7 and 8 in the morning, came to suffer at Tyburn for the Catholic religion John Almond, a man of the age of 45, by his own relation; yet in his countenance more grave and staid, beginning to be besprinkled with hairs that were white – who having tarried beyond the seas about ten years to enable himself by his studies returned into his native country, where he exercised a holy life with all sincerity, and a singular good content to those that knew him, and worthily deserved both a good opinion of his learning and sanctity of life… full of courage and ready to suffer for Christ, that suffered for him.’


‘Ready to suffer for Christ, that suffered for him’


Mr. Almond, Challoner says, was apprehended on March 22, 1612, and brought before Mr. John King, lately advanced to the bishopric in London. At his examination he showed wonderful courage and most extraordinary acuteness, as the following will show. [A – Rev. John Almond; B – Anglican Bishop John King]


B. What is your name? A. My name is Francis. B. What else? A. Lathome. B. Is not your name Molyneux? A. No. B. I think I shall prove it to be so. A. You will have more to do than you ever had to do in your life. B. What countryman are you? A. A Lancashire man. B. In what place were you born? A. About Allerton. B. About Allerton! Mark the equivocation. Then not in Allerton? A. No equivocation. I was not born in Allerton, but in the edge or side of Allerton. B. You were born under a hedge then, were you? A. Many a better man than I, or you either, has been born under a hedge. B. What! you cannot remember that you were born in a house? A. Can you? B. My mother told me so. A. Then you remember not that you were born in a house, but only that your mother told you so; so much I remember, too. B. Were you ever beyond the seas? A. I have been in Ireland. B. How long since you came thence? A. I remember not how long since, neither is it material. B. Here is plain speaking, is it not? A. More plain than you would give, if you were examined yourself before some of ours in another place. A. I ask, are you a priest? A. I am not Christ; and unless I were Christ in your own grounds, I cannot be a priest. B. Are you a priest, yes or no? A. No man accuseth me. B. Then this is all the answer I shall have? A. All I can give unless proof come in. B. Where have you lived, and in what have you spent your time? A. Here is an orderly course of justice sure! What is it material where I have lived, or how I have spent my time, all the while I am accused of no evil?


He flung some three or four pounds in silver amongst the poor that crowded about the scaffold


He thus continued to parry the questions put to him through a long and tedious examination, after which he was committed to Newgate Prison, from whence after some months he was brought to trial, upon an indictment of high treason, for having taken orders beyond the sea by authority of the See of Rome, and for remaining in this country contrary to the laws. At his trial he showed the same vivacity of wit and resolution as he had done in his examination, but was brought in guilty by the jury, though he neither denied nor confessed his being a priest; and what proofs were brought of his being such do not appear.


At his execution he prayed earnestly for the king and all the royal family, and that his posterity might inherit the crown of England for ever. He flung some three or four pounds in silver amongst the poor that crowded about the scaffold, saying: ‘I have not much to bestow or give, for the keeper of Newgate hath been somewhat hard unto me and others that way, whom God forgive, for I do. For, I having been prisoner there since March, we have been ill-treated continually, for we were all put down into the hole or dungeon, or place called Little Ease, whence was removed since we came thither two or three cart-loads of filth or dirt; we were kept twenty-four hours without bread, meat or drink, loaded with irons, lodging on the damp ground, and so continued for ten days or thereabouts.’


‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my soul’


He gave the executioner a piece of gold, and desired him to give him a sign when the cart was to be drawn away, so that he might die with the name of Jesus in his mouth. He often repeated the words, ‘Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my soul,’ and at the sign being given, he cried, ‘Jesu, Jesu, Jesu,’ and than hanging for the space of three Paters [‘Our Father’, i.e. The Lord’s Prayer], some of the bystanders pulling him by the legs to dispatch his life, he was cut down and quartered, his soul flying quickly to Him who redeemed us all. So far the manuscript written by an eyewitness, says Bishop Challoner, who adds: ‘Mr. Almond suffered at Tyburn, December 5, 1612, in the forty-fifth year of his age, the eleventh of his Mission.”

– From: Old Catholic Lancashire, Dom F. O. Blundell, Burns Oates & Washbourne, Publishers to the Holy See, London 1925


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Blessed Anwarite Nengapeta, Virgin; Memorial: December 1

Anwarite Nengapeta was born in Wamba (Dem. Congo) in 1939. She joined the local Holy Family Sisters and took her vows in 1959, taking the name of Sr Marie Clementine.

In 1964 all the nuns of the Bafwabaka community were deported by the Simba rebels.

At night they were taken to a military house, where Colonel Olombe tried to force Sr Anwarite and Sr Bokuma to have sexual intercourse with him. Both refused categorically in spite of the violence to which they were subjected.

Sr Bokuma fainted, her arm broken in three places. Sr Anwarite continued to resist, saying she would rather die than commit a sin. Between the blows she had the strength to say: “I forgive you, for you do not know what you are doing.” In his anger the colonel had her stabbed many times with a bayonet and finally took out his revolver and shot her. She died a few minutes later. She was beatified by St John Paul II in 1985.

From: The Sisters of St Peter Claver, Bromley, Kent (Mission Calendar)


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St Cyprian was born in Carthage in 210, and became its bishop in 249. At a time of fierce persecution, he encouraged his people, and by word and example led them to understand and witness to the faith. He was martyred in 258. Cornelius became Bishop of Rome in 251, was exiled by Emperor Gallus, and died in exile in 253.




God our Father,

in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

you have given your people an inspiring example

of dedication to the pastoral ministry

and constant witness to Christ in their suffering.

May their prayers and faith give us courage

to work for the unity of your Church.


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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Prayers to the Saints


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