Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 16 February

Venerable Father Gaspard of the Cross, O.P.

This Portuguese religious, having been chosen one of twelve missionaries to go to the East Indies, carried the torch of faith as far as the forests of Cambodge. He landed in 1556 in this part of China, formerly evangelized by Saint Thomas the Apostle, and in sight of which Saint Francis Xavier died in 1552, without having been able to enter it except in desire, God having reserved it for his brethren in religion to penetrate there in 1584. It was a most difficult work to preach the religion of a crucified God to this nation of six hundred and eighty millions of inhabitants, full of pride in the antiquity of their race, led away by their knowledge, attached by all the habits of their daily life to the superstitious worship of their ancestors. Father Gaspard undertook this task bravely and even dared to overthrow the idols in one of the temples. After some time his zeal occasioned his banishment, and, returning to Portugal, he gave himself up to a contemplative life, for which he had as much aptitude as for an active one. But the plague having broken out, he left the peaceful solitude of his cell to devote himself to the dying, from whom he caught the disease. He had the double consolation of being a victim to charity and of causing the plague to cease, for, according to his prediction, his was the last death (1569).

Prayer

O Jesus, forgive those who worship idols, for they know not what they do.

Practice

Thank God for the gift of faith and in prayer take faith for your torch. May even its shadows be to you a light and a guide.