Tag Archives: Brian O’Neel

150 North American Martyrs You Should Know

Brian O’Neel reveals the fascinating history of North America’s saints . . .

O'Neel150 North American Martyrs You Should Know
Brian O’Neel
Servant Books, 2014
208 pages, $15.99 paperback

In his revealing new book, O’Neel tells the stories of martyrs associated with North America. Some are from other countries and died spreading the faith here. Some were born here but died doing missionary work abroad. Some were individual martyrs, some were part of a heroic group, and some were “white martyrs who, although they did not shed their blood for the faith, suffered much for the spread of Catholicism.

O’Neel presents a lively presentation about each martyr/group of martyrs, a practical application for the reader, and a historical context for how these martyrs helped the Church to grow in North America.

Order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

St. Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637)

This remarkable Filipino martyr put his life on the line for Christ in 1637 . . .

St. Lorenzo Ruiz

St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Feast Day: September 28
Canonized: October 18, 1987

Lorenzo Ruiz was a Filipino, fluent in Spanish, who worked as a translator of government documents. His work enabled him to provide for his wife and children. However, he had a well-known feud with a Spanish colonist who inconveniently turned up murdered. Authorities issued an arrest warrant, but Lorenzo doubted the Spaniards’ ability to give him due process, so he hitched what he thought was a ship bound for China.

What he didn’t know was that the vessel was actually headed for Japan, where the rulers had recently outlawed Christianity. Arrested almost immediately, the captives endured unspeakable torture. It got so bad that Lorenzo came close to apostatizing. However, God’s grace strengthened him, and he willingly put his life on the line for Christ. With four other companions, he endured a brutal and torturous death on the “Mountain of Martyrs” in Nagasaki.

St. Lorenzo teaches us the level of commitment the lay faithful must exemplify: to our families, to the truth, and to our holy faith. Such commitment has never been easy — especially in our time. Nonetheless, God will never abandon those who trust in Him.

BRIAN O’NEEL is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is“39 New Saints You Should Know.”

Ignatius Maloyan (1869-1915)

Ignatius Maloyan is a model for today’s suffering Christians around the world . . .

Ignatius Maloyan

Ignatius Maloyan

Feast Day: June 11
Beatified: October 7, 2001

More Christians died for their faith in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined. Representative of these is Ignatius Maloyan, an Armenian Rite Catholic bishop who died in the Armenian genocide.

Ordained in 1896, he became a bishop 15 years later. By this time, the Turkish Muslim government had placed extremely harsh restrictions on their citizens. A police chief named Mahmdouh Bey arrested Maloyan and 800 others. During the kangaroo trial that followed, he encouraged the bishop to become a Muslim.

“There is no way I would reject my religion and my Savior,” he replied. “You can beat me and cut me into pieces, but I will never deny my faith.”

Maloyan’s captors responded by torturing him. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1915, Bey ordered the bishop and 416 prisoners marched into the desert in chains. He then had every man shot before Maloyan’s eyes. Before shooting the bishop, he asked again if he would become a Muslim. Maloyan replied, “I glory only in the cross of my sweet Savior.” As Maloyan died, he was heard to say, “Have mercy on me, O Lord Jesus. Into your hands I entrust my soul.”

BRIAN O’NEEL is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is “39 New Saints You Should Know.”

St. Crispin of Viterbo (1668-1750)

Even as a child, this Italian Capuchin servant-saint inspired many to holiness . . .

St. Crispin of VIterbo

St. Crispin of Viterbo

Feast Day: May 23
Canonized: June 20, 1982

Born Peter Fioretti, this Italian saint’s pious parents taught him how to be holy. People in his hometown of Viterbo called him “the little saint.”

After his father died, his uncle got him work as a cobbler’s apprentice. While an expert at this trade, Peter decided to join the Capuchins at age 25. He took the name of Crispin, and showed himself capable of handling all physical hardships while maintaining a solid spiritual life. When epidemics broke out nearby, he cared for the sick. He visited prisons daily to ensure that prisoners had enough food and that the guards weren’t abusing them. He also helped these gentlemen repent, thereby saving many souls.

Occasionally, people left babies at the friary’s orphanage. Crispin lovingly raised these foundlings, and when they left, he got them work and kept in touch with them. He hassled merchants who overcharged or underpaid workers. He persuaded lenders to forgive debts. Because of this, many thought him a saint, but just as many saw in him a nosy busybody.

Crispin was funny. Asked why he went bare-headed, he responded, “An ass doesn’t wear a hat!” After Crispin was transferred to Rome, Clement XI would visit him just for laughs. He died of pneumonia at the age of 82.

BRIAN O’NEEL is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is “39 New Saints You Should Know.”

Emperor Karl I of Austria (1887-1922)

A modern saint, Emperor Karl is an inspiration to political leaders in our day . . .

Emperor Karl I of Austria

Emperor Karl I of Austria

Feast Day: April 1
Beatified: October 3, 2004

Ever lost something that gave you safety and security: your job, health, etc.? If so, did you get angry with God? Blessed Emperor Karl I Habsburg knew this type of loss, but his response provides a great example for our age.

As a boy, Karl’s home life was bleak. His parents had an unhappy marriage and left his rearing to others. Despite — or perhaps because of — all this, Karl developed a deep faith life early on. He actively worked to achieve sanctity.

Indeed, the day after his marriage, he told his wife, “Now, we must help each other get to heaven.”

Following Austria’s defeat in World War I, the Allies compelled Karl’s abdication and exiled him to the Portuguese island of Madeira. There he spent his last five months living destitute in a home unfit for winter habitation. At midnight on his last New Year’s Eve, while he and others prayed the Te Deum, all started sobbing. All but Karl. That’s how much he had come to accept everything as God’s will.

Indeed, on his deathbed, he said he had done everything necessary to discern and do “the will of God.” His last words were, “As You will it … Jesus!” His tomb says, “Fiat voluntas Tua”— “Thy will be done.”

BRIAN O’NEEL is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is “39 New Saints You Should Know.”

Elizabeth Canori Mora (1774-1825)

This remarkable Italian saint is a role model of for abused women everywhere . . .

Elizabeth Canori Mora

Elizabeth Canori Mora

Feast Day: February 5
Beatified: April 24, 1994

A Roman native, Elizabeth Canori married Christopher Mora, a lawyer from a wealthy family. The couple was happy, but Christopher soon took a mistress and did nothing to hide his indiscretions.

He also made disastrous investments, which left them bankrupt. His family blamed Elizabeth for his adultery. Christopher and his family even pressured her to give written consent for her husband’s infidelities. Elizabeth responded to her husband’s physical and psychological abuse with total fidelity.

“It is good for me to have spent two hours in prayer!” she wrote. “God gave me so much strength that I was ready to give my life rather than to offend my Lord.”

At age 50, she developed dropsy. The condition incapacitated her. Miraculously, it caused Christopher to return. During her final weeks, he rarely left her. On her last night on earth, however, he was with his mistress. Upon returning, he found her dead. Seeing her cold corpse, he wept furiously for the sins he had committed. Nine years later, he became a Franciscan priest.

Brian O’Neel is a writer, husband and father of six living in southeast Pennsylvania. His latest book is “39 New Saints You Should Know.”