Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 1 June

detail of an antique Italian holy card of Beato Alfonso Navarrette, date unknown, artist unknown; swiped with permission from the Santini Imagini web siteBlessed Alphonsus Navarette and His Companions, Martyrs, O.P.

Blessed Alphonsus distinguished himself in Japan by such holy audacity in face of the pagans that some writers think that he went beyond the bounds of the prudence recommended in the Gospel. But in all this he was guided by the Holy Spirit. He reproached the king severely for his cruelty and apostasy, and seeing the Crosses and holy images being burnt by the persecutors, he dragged out of the fire as many things as he could seize hold of. At that time numbers of Christians were wavering in their faith, and to revive their courage by an act of boldness, he suddenly appeared in public, clothed in his religious habit. This action of course meant certain death, but what matter, so long as the faithful took fresh courage? To this strength of character was united deep tenderness. He loved to collect the foundling children and hand them over to the care of the faithful, and in this he was the precursor of the work of the “Sainte Enfance.” There perished in this same persecution more than one hundred and ten martyrs belonging to the Order of Saint Dominic, priests, lay brothers, tertiaries and members of the Rosary Confraternity. Among them were some members of he royal family, soldiers, and pious women with their children, some only three or four years of age (1617). After the acts of the early Christian martyrs, there is nothing more beautiful than the story of these Japanese martyrs of the seventeenth century.

Prayer

“My Jesus, Thou hast conquered death by death, in becoming obedient even unto death” (Saint Catherine of Sienna).

Practice

Kiss your crucifix in reparation for outrages committed against Jesus on the Cross.