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