Blessed Charles Spinola

Blessed Charles SpinolaAlso known as

  • Carlo Spinola



Born to the Italian nobility in a family that originated in Genoa. Studied at Nola, Italy, under his uncle Cardinal Filippo Spinola. Joined the Jesuits in Nola in 1584. Ordained in 1594. Missionary to Japan in 1594. It took three tries to actually reach the island, but he worked there for 18 years. Imprisoned and abused for his faith and his works in 1618. Spent four years living in a cage, bribing the guards with his food to obtain the necessities to conduct Mass. Martyred.






Father, how sweet and delightful is it to suffer for Jesus Christ! I have learned this better by experience than I am able to express, especially since we are in these dungeons where we fast continually. The strength of my body fails me, but my joy increases as I see death draw nearer. O what a happiness for me, if next Easter I shall sing the heavenly Alleluia in the company of the blessed! Blessed Charles

Oh, if you had tasted the delights with which God fills the souls of those who serve him and suffer for him, how would you condemn all that the world can promise! I now begin to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, since for his love I am in prison, where I suffer much. But I assure you, that when I am fainting with hunger, God hath fortified me by his sweet consolations, so that I have looked upon myself as well recompensed for his service. And though I were yet to pass many years in prison, the time would appear short, through the extreme desire which I feel of suffering for him, who even here so well repays our labours. Besides other sickness, I have been afflicted with a continual fever a hundred days without any remedies or proper nourishment. All this time my heart was so full of joy that it seemed to me too narrow to contain it. I have never felt any equal to it, and I thought myself at the gates of paradise. Blessed Charles

Meanwhile, by night and day, we confirm our souls by exercises of piety, we chastise our bodies by scourging, haircloths, and other like mortifications; and what constitutes our greatest consolation, we minister at the altar daily. And it has surely been by a special providence of God, that vestments and other requisites for the holy sacrifices were introduced unseen by the guards, after we had been at first for several months deprived of them and unable to refresh ourselves with that heavenly bread of angels.

For my own part I am overjoyed at this special benefit of God, accomplishing the desire which chiefly brought me hither, and I esteem it above the splendor of all fleeting dignities. And justly, for Saint Paul, after being once imprisoned triumphed more in the glory of his chains and bonds, than in his very apostleship, calling himself `Bound in the Lord.’ I blush for shame when I think how by no merit of mine, I have obtained this great grace; how God, having before so many holy persons who have cultivated this vineyard with such admirable zeal, has cast his eyes on me, the last of all in the gifts of nature and merit.

I, who can aver that I now begin to be a disciple of Christ amid the greatest pain and confinement of prison, even when my strength seemed failing from hunger alone, I was always refreshed by such delights of consolation, that I deemed all my sufferings undergone in the divine service richly rewarded. Were I still to pass several years in this dungeon, the time would seem to me short in my intense desire of suffering for His love, who so lavishly rewards the labors of this life and makes even torture itself sweet and desirable. Yet God is to be served chiefly for himself alone, for He is the fountain of all goodness, and merits all our devotion without any hope of reward. Blessed Charles

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Charles Spinola“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 February 2019. Web. 24 September 2021. <>