Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, I BELIEVE!, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FREE WILL, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – Who is this

Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 1: 1-8; Psalm 149: 1b-6a and 9b; Luke 9: 7-9

“… Who is this about whom
I hear such things?”
And he sought to see him.”

Luke 9:9

“Prayer is the wing,
wherewith the soul flies to heaven
and meditation,
the eye,
wherewith we see God.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Faith is to believe
what you do not see;
the reward of this faith,
is to see what you believe.”

“A person can do other things against his will
but belief is possible,
only in one who is willing.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

“To one who has faith,
no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith,
no explanation is possible.”

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor of the Church

He who wishes for anything but Christ,
does not know what he wishes;
he who asks for anything but Christ,
does not know what he is asking;
he who works and not for Christ,
does not know what he is doing.

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

“Only one thing is necessary:
Jesus Christ!
Think unceasingly of Him.

St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840)
Martyr for Christ

“Only God fills the soul and fills it wholly.
Let scientists go on asking – Where is God?
He is where those clever ones,
arrogant in their knowledge, cannot reach.”

St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto / Our Lady of La Leche, St Augustine, Florida, USA , 16th century and Memorials of the Saints – 11 September

Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto / Our Lady of La Leche, St Augustine, Florida, USA , 16th century – First Saturday after The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

On 8 September 1565, Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed at St Augustine, Florida and claimed it for Spain. At the Mission of Nombre de Dios here, Spanish missionaries installed a Statue of the nursing Madonna, Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto – Our Lady of Milk and Good Childbirth.

This first Shrine to Our Lady in what is now the United States is still an active place of devotion, as well as a tourist attraction. On the Saturday closest to 8 September, Holy Mass is celebrated at an outdoor rustic Atar to accommodate the large numbers who attend the commemoration of the Anniversary of the First Mass and the founding of the Mission.

Interior view of the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, located on the grounds of Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine. The shrine was established in 1609, a devotion brought to the U.S. by the Spanish explorers and missionaries.

St Adelphus of Remiremont
St Almirus
Bl Baldassarre Velasquez

Blessed Bonaventure of Barcelona OFM (1620-1684) Franciscan Friar, Reformer, Papal Adviser, Founder of Retreat houses.
His Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/11/saint-of-the-day-11-september-blessed-bonaventure-of-barcelona-ofm-1620-1684/

Blessed Carlo (Charles) Spinola SJ (1564-1622) Priest, Martyr, Missionary to Japan.
His Life and Death:

https://anastpaul.com/2020/09/11/saint-of-the-day-11-september-blessed-charles-spinola-sj-1564-1622/

St Deiniol of Bangor
St Didymus of Laodicea
St Diodorus of Laodicea
Bl Dominic Dillon
St Elijah Speleota OSBM (863-960) Basilian Monk and Hermit
St Emilian of Vercelli
St Essuperanzio of Zurich
St Felix of Zurich
Bl Francesco Giovanni Bonifacio
Bl Franciscus Takeya
Bl François Mayaudon
Bl Gaspar Koteda
St Gusmeo of Gravedona sul Lario
St Hyacinth of Rome

St John Gabriel Perboyre/Jean Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Priest, Martyr, Missionary.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2017/09/11/saint-of-the-day-11-september-st-john-gabriel-perboyre-c-m-1802-1840-priest-martyr-of-the-congregation-of-the-mission/

Bl John Bathe
St Leudinus of Toul
St Matthew of Gravedona sul Lario
St Paphnutius of Thebes
St Patiens of Lyon
Bl Peter Taaffe
Bl Petrus Kawano
St Protus of Rome
St Regula of Zurich
Bl Richard Overton
St Sperandea
St Theodora the Penitent
Bl Thomas Bathe

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed José María Segura Panadés
• Blessed José Piquer Arnáu
• Blessed Josep Pla Arasa
• Blessed Lorenzo Villanueva Larrayoz

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, GOD is LOVE, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, PRAYERS on FAITH, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, QUOTES on VOCATIONS, The LAST THINGS

Quote/s of the Day – 30 October – Making our way to Life

Quote/s of the Day – 30 October – Making our way to Life

“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple
must repudiate a human obligation,
however honourable it may appear,
if it slows us, ever so slightly,
in giving the wholehearted obedience
we owe to God.”

St Basil the Great (329-379)

O Lord,
You have given us Your word
for a light to shine upon our path,
grant us so to meditate on that word
and follow its teaching,
that we may find in it,
the light that shines more and more
until the perfect day.
Amen

St Jerome (343-420)
“The Man of the Bible”
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Rest is in Him alone.
Man knows no peace in the world
but he has no disturbance
when he is with God.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor

“We must make our way towards eternity,
never regarding what men think of us,
or of our actions,
studying only to please God.”

St Francis Borgia (1510-1572)

“Christ first of all,
Christ in the centre of the heart,
in the centre of history
and of the cosmos.
Humanity needs Christ intensely
because, He is our “measure.”
There is no realm,
that cannot be touched
by His strength;
there is no evil,
that cannot find remedy in Him,
there is no problem,
that cannot be solved in Him.
Either Christ or nothing!”

St John Leonardi (1541-1609)

“Only one thing is necessary:
Jesus Christ!
Think unceasingly of Him. ”

St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840)
Martyr for Christ

“Our vocation, yours and mine,
is not to go harvesting in the fields of ripe corn,
Jesus does not say to us;
“Lower your eyes, look at the fields and go and reap them,”
our mission is still loftier.
Here are Jesus’ words: “Lift up your eyes and see….”
See how in My Heaven there are places empty,
it is for you to fill them! …
each one of you is my Moses praying on the mountain (Ex 17:8f),
ask Me for labourers and I shall send them,
I await only a prayer, a sigh from your heart!”

“Let us go forward in peace,
our eyes upon heaven.
the only one goal of our labours.”

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873 – 1897)
Doctor of the Church

“We must always be ready.
Let our faith be lively and active
and our minds turned towards God,
Who is waiting for us.
There is no need to be afraid.
He is good and merciful.
He desires our salvation.
This is a wonderfully consoling thought.
God desires my salvation!
Let us surrender ourselves to Him, therefore,
as if we had to die this very moment!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 6 October – Transform me into Yourself

Our Morning Offering – 6 October – Tuesday of the Twenty Seventh week in Ordinary Time

Transform me into Yourself
By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr

O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.
Above all,
Transform my soul and all it’s powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.
I pray You
To destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
but in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul,
“I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me.
Amen

Posted in "Follow Me", DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSOLATION, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 24 September – “And he sought to see him.” Luke 9:9

Quote/s of the Day – 24 September – Thursday of the Twenty Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11, Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17, Luke 9:7-9

“… Who is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he sought to see him.”

Luke 9:9

“Come to me, all you who labour
and are burdened and I will give you rest. ”

Matthew 11:28

“Through Him, our gaze
penetrates the heights of heaven
and we see, as in a mirror,
the most holy face of God.
Through Christ, the eyes of our hearts are opened
and our weak and clouded understanding,
reaches up toward the light.”

St Pope Clement I (c 35-99)
Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr

“He who calls us, came here below,
to give us the means of getting there.
He chose the wood
that would enable us to cross the sea –
indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world,
who is not borne by the Cross of Christ.
Even the blind can cling to this Cross.
If you can’t see where you are going very well,
don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself. ”

“Do you desire security?
Here you have it.
The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you,
I will always be with you.”
If a good man made you such a promise,
you would trust him.
God makes it and do you doubt?
Do you seek a support, more sure
than the word of God, which is infallible?
Surely, He has made the promise,
He has written it,
He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain!”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

“Rest is in Him alone.
Man knows no peace in the world
but he has no disturbance
when he is with God.”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor

“If you learn everything, except Christ, you learn nothing.
If you learn nothing, except Christ, you learn everything.”

St Bonaventure (1221-1274)
Seraphic Doctor of the Church

“Only one thing is necessary:
Jesus Christ!
Think unceasingly of Him. ”

St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840)
Martyr for Christ

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 11 September

St Adelphus of Remiremont
St Almirus
Bl Baldassarre Velasquez
Bl Bonaventure of Barcelona OFM (1620-1684)
His Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/11/saint-of-the-day-11-september-blessed-bonaventure-of-barcelona-ofm-1620-1684/

Blessed Carlo (Charles) Spinola SJ (1564-1622) Priest Martyr

St Deiniol of Bangor
St Didymus of Laodicea
St Diodorus of Laodicea
Bl Dominic Dillon
St Emilian of Vercelli
St Essuperanzio of Zurich
St Felix of Zurich
Bl Francesco Giovanni Bonifacio
Bl Franciscus Takeya
Bl François Mayaudon
Bl Gaspar Koteda
St Gusmeo of Gravedona sul Lario
St Hyacinth of Rome
St John Gabriel Perboyre/Jean Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Priest Martyr
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2017/09/11/saint-of-the-day-11-september-st-john-gabriel-perboyre-c-m-1802-1840-priest-martyr-of-the-congregation-of-the-mission/

Bl John Bathe
St Leudinus of Toul
St Matthew of Gravedona sul Lario
St Paphnutius of Thebes
St Patiens of Lyon
Bl Peter Taaffe
Bl Petrus Kawano
St Protus of Rome
St Regula of Zurich
Bl Richard Overton
St Sperandea
St Theodora the Penitent
Bl Thomas Bathe

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed José María Segura Panadés
• Blessed José Piquer Arnáu
• Blessed Josep Pla Arasa
• Blessed Lorenzo Villanueva Larrayoz

Posted in MARTYRS, NOTES to Followers, SAINT of the DAY, The BEATITUDES

Thought for the Day – 11 September – “Blessed are you when men hate you”

Thought for the Day – 11 September – – Wednesday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 6:20–26 and The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr of the Congregation of the Mission

“Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!   Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for so their fathers did to the prophets. ... Luke 6:22-23

A sermon he heard at age 15 inspired St John Gabriel to become a missionary in China. There he met a brutal death on a cross for refusing to renounce his faith.

Born in France in 1802, Jean-Gabriel became a Vincentian priest.   He displayed so many gifts and had such fine personal and spiritual qualities that, for a time, his religious order kept him busy closer to home.

He finally received permission to begin his missionary endeavours in 1835.   After a 1,000-mile trip by boat and foot across three provinces, he arrived in central China.   In one early letter, written to his community in Paris, he described himself as a curious sight –  “my head shaved, a long pig-tail, stammering my new languages, eating with chopsticks.”

He soon joined the Vincentians in helping to rescue abandoned Chinese children and in educating them in the Catholic faith.   He was arrested in 1839 under an edict that banned Christianity.   He was tortured and interrogated for months.   Almost one year later he was executed by strangling while hanging on a cross.

Saint Jean-Gabriel was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II in 1996.   Chinese government officials denied permission for any public Mass commemorating the new saint.

So many saints seem to have lived centuries ago.   Jean-Gabriel is far more recent and we can identify better with his life and circumstances.   His life and death speak to us of living the faith in our own times and places, for these are times of great persecution and endurance for the Son of man!

St John Gabriel Perboyre, pray for us!st john gabriel perboyre - pray for us.2.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, GOD ALONE!, MARTYRS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 11 September- Only one thing

Quote of the Day – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr

“Only one thing is needful –
Jesus Christ.”

St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)only one thing is needful - jesus christ - st john gabriel perboyne 11 sept 2019

Posted in LENT, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent

Our Morning Offering – 22 March 2018 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent and the Memorial of St Nicholas Owen S.J. (1562-1606) Martyr

Transform me into Yourself
By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr

O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
but in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul,
“I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me.”transform me into yourself - st john gabriel perboyre - 22 march for the memorial of st nicholas owen sj

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ

Thought for the Day – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ

Nothing happens by chance.  Neither life, nor death, nor vocation.   JOHN GABRIEL PERBOYRE was born in Montgesty, near Cahors, in southern France, on 6 January 1802 into a family which gave three missionaries of St Vincent and two Daughters of Charity to the Church.  Such an environment exuded faith, simple and healthy values and the sense of life as gift.

The one who “calls by name” seemed to ignore him as a teenager.   The call came to his younger brother Louis for entrance into the seminary.   John Gabriel was asked to accompany his younger brother for a time, while waiting for him to get adjusted to the surroundings.   John Gabriel’s presence at the seminary, then, happened by chance and he should have left quickly.   But chance revealed to the astonished eyes of the young man unexpected horizons:   that in the seminary he had found his path.

So many saints seem to have lived centuries ago.   Jean-Gabriel is far more recent and we can identify better with his life and circumstances.   His life and death speak to us of living the faith in our own times and places.   It is said we mock Christ again by the timidity of our witness but John Gabriel had one passion:  “Christ and the proclamation of his Gospel.   That loyalty to this passion that he possessed, has been equated with the lowly and the condemned but the Church can now solemnly proclaim his glory in the choir of the saints in heaven.” … St Pope John Paul II, Homily of Canonisation, 2 June 1996, Vatican City, Rome

St John Gabriel Perboyre, pray for us!st john gabriel perboyre - pray for us

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)

Quote/s of the Day – 11 September –  The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)

“One does good for souls only by prayer.
In all that you do, work only to please God,
otherwise you would waste your time and effort.”

one does good for souls - st john gabriel perboyre

“Only one thing is needful:  Jesus Christ.”

only one thing is needful - st john gabrile perboyre

St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ

One Minute Reflection – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ

Or are you unaware that we who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?…..Romans 6:3

REFLECTION – “I do not know what awaits me in the journey that lies ahead of me,
without a doubt the cross, which is the daily bread of the missionary.
What can we hope for more than this, in going to preach a crucified God?” (Letter No. 70)…St John Gabriel Perboyrei do not know what awaits me - st john gabriel perboyre.2

PRAYER – Lord Jesus, let me love You above all things and ever remain united to You and with Your Holy Cross.   I pray that I will be given the grace of courage and strength, to carry my cross in imitation of You.   St John Gabriel Perboyre, you suffered a passion and death in close imitation of our Lord and Saviour, please pray for us that our timidity might not overpower us, amen.st john gabriel perboyre - pray for us.2

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ

Our Morning Offering – 11 September – The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)

Transform me into Yourself
By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)

O my Divine Saviour,
Transform me into Yourself.
May my hands be the hands of Jesus.
Grant that every faculty of my body
May serve only to glorify You.

Above all,
Transform my soul and all its powers
So that my memory, will and affection
May be the memory, will and affections
Of Jesus.

I pray You
To destroy in me all that is not of You.
Grant that I may live
but in You, by You and for You,
So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul,
“I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me.”transform-me-into-yourself-by-st-john-gabriel-perboyre-1802-1840-11 sept 2017-2

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 11 September – St John Gabriel Perboyre C.M. (1802-1840) Priest, Martyr of the Congregation of the Mission

Saint of the Day – 11 September – St John Gabriel Perboyre C.M. (1802-1840) – Martyr, Priest, Missionary, Teacher (6 January 1802 at Le Puech, near Mongesty, Cahors diocese, southern France – lashed to a cross on a hill named the “red mountain”, then strangled with a rope on 11 September 1840 at Ou-Tchang-Fou, China).   He was Beatified on 10 November 1889 by Pope Leo XIII and Canonised on 2 June 1996 by St Pope John Paul II.  His Major Shrine is at the Vincentian Motherhouse, Rue du Bac, Paris, France.

CHAPEL OF ST VINCENT DE PAUL.1

The formation years:
The Church of France had at that time just emerged from the throes of the French Revolution with the red-colored garments of martyrdom for some and with the pain of the apostasy of many.  The panorama at the beginning of the 1800’s was desolate: buildings destroyed, convents sacked, people without pastors.   Thus, it was no accident that the ideal of the priesthood appeared to the young man not as a feeble arrangement for life but as the destiny of heroes.

His parents, surprised, accepted the choice of their son and accompanied him with their encouragement.   Not by chance, his paternal uncle Jacques was a missionary of St.Vincent.   This explains why in 1818 the missionary ideal matured in the young John Gabriel.   At that time, the missions meant principally China.   But China was a faraway mirage.   To leave meant never to find again the home milieu, taste its flavours, enjoy its affections.   It was natural for him to choose the Congregation of the Mission founded by St Vincent de Paul in 1625 for the evangelisation of the poor, the formation of the clergy but above all to push those very missionaries toward holiness.   The mission is not propaganda.   The Church has always demanded that the proclaimers of the Word be spiritual persons, mortified, full of God and charity.   In order to illuminate the darkness in people, a lamp is not sufficient if there is no oil.

John Gabriel did not think in half-measures.   If he was a martyr it is because he was a saint.
From 1818 to 1835 he was a missionary in his own country.   First, in his formation period, he was a model novice and student.   After his priestly ordination (1826), he was charged with the formation of seminarians.

19960602_jean-gabriel_perboyre

The missionary attraction:
A new factor, certainly not haphazard, modified John Gabriel’s life.   The protagonist was once again his brother Louis.   He also had entered the Congregation of the Mission and had asked to be sent to China where the sons of St Vincent had had a new martyr in the person of Blessed Francis Regis Clet (18 February 1820).   During the voyage, however, the young Louis, only 24 years of age, was called to the mission in heaven.   All that the young man had hoped for and done would have been useless if John Gabriel had not made the request to replace his brother in the breach.

John Gabriel reached China in August of 1835.   At that time the Occident knew almost nothing about the Celestial Empire and the ignorance was reciprocal.   The two worlds felt a mutual attraction but dialogue was difficult.   In the countries of Europe one did not speak of a Chinese civilization, but only of superstitions, of “ridiculous” ceremonies and customs.   The judgments were thus prejudices.   China’s appreciation of Europe and Christianity was not any better.   There was a dark gap between the two civilizations. Someone had to cross it in order to take on himself the evil of many and to consume it with the fires of charity.

After getting acclimated in Macau, John Gabriel began the long trip in a Chinese junk, on foot and on horseback, which brought him after eight months to Nanyang in Henan, where the obligation to learn the language imposed itself.   After five months, he was able to express himself, though with some trouble, in good Chinese and at once threw himself into the ministry, visiting the small Christian communities.   Then he was transferred to Hubei, which is part of the region of lakes formed by the Yangtze kiang (blue river).   Even though he maintained an intense apostolate, he suffered much in body and spirit.   In a letter he wrote: “No, I am no more of a wonder man here in China than I was in France … ask of Him first of all for my conversion and my sanctification and then the grace that I do not spoil His work too much…” (Letter 94).  For one who looks at things from the outside, it was inconceivable that such a missionary should find himself in a dark night of the soul.  But the Holy Spirit was preparing him in the emptiness of humility and the silence of God for the supreme testimony.

In chains for Christ:
Unexpectedly in 1839 two events, apparently unrelated, clouded the horizon.   The first was the renewed outbreak of persecution which flowed from the decree of the Manchurian emperor, Quinlong (1736-1795), which had proscribed the Christian religion in 1794.

The second was the outbreak of the Chinese-British War, better known as the “Opium War” (1839-1842).   The closure of the Chinese frontier and the pretense of the Chinese government to require an act of dependence from the foreign ambassadors had created an explosive situation.   The spark came from the confiscation of loads of opium stowed in the port of Canton;  this action harmed the merchants, most of whom were English. The British flotilla intervened and the war began.

The missionaries, obviously interested only in the first event dealing with the persecution of Christians, were always on their guard.   As often happens, too many alarms diminished the vigilance.   And that is what happened on 15 September 1839 at Cha-yuen-ken, where Perboyre lived.   On that day he was with two other European missionaries, his confrere, Baldus, and a Franciscan, Rizzolati and a Chinese missionary, Fr Wang.   They were informed of the approach of a column of about one hundred soldiers.   The missionaries underestimated the information.   Perhaps the soldiers were going elsewhere.   Instead of being wary, the missionaries continued enjoying a fraternal conversation.   When there was no longer any doubt about the direction of the soldiers, it was late.  Baldus and Rizzolati decided to flee far away. Perboyre hid himself in the surroundings because the nearby mountains were rich with bamboo forests and hidden caves.   As Fr Baldus has attested for us, however, the soldiers used threats to force a catechumen to reveal the place where the missionary was hiding.   The catechumen was a weak person, but not a Judas.   Thus began the sad Calvary of John Gabriel.  The prisoner had no rights, he was not protected by laws but was at the mercy of the jailers and judges.   Given that he was arrested it was presumed that he was guilty and if guilty, he would be punished.

A series of trials began. The first was held at Kou-Ching-Hien.   The replies of the martyr were heroic:
– Are you a Christian priest?
– Yes, I am a priest and I preach this religion.
– Do you wish to renounce your faith?
– No, I will never renounce the faith of Christ.

They asked him to reveal his companions in the faith and the reasons for which he had transgressed the laws of China.   They wanted, in short, to make the victim the culprit. But a witness to Christ is not an informer.   Therefore, he remained silent.

The prisoner was then transferred to Siang-Yang.   The cross examinations were made close together.   He was held for a number of hours kneeling on rusty iron chains, was hung by his thumbs and hair from a rafter (the hangtze torture), was beaten several times with bamboo canes.   Greater than the physical violence, however, remained the wound of the fact that the values in which he believed were put to ridicule: the hope in eternal life, the sacraments, the faith.

The third trial was held in Wuchang.   He was brought before four different tribunals and subjected to 20 interrogations.   To the questioning were united tortures and the most cruel mockery.  They prosecuted the missionary and abused the man.   They obliged Christians to abjure and one of them even to spit on and strike the missionary who had brought him to the faith.  For not trampling on the crucifix, John Gabriel received 110 strokes of pantse.

Among the various accusations, the most terrible was the accusation that he had had immoral relations with a Chinese girl, Anna Kao, who had made a vow of virginity.   The martyr defended himself.   She was neither his lover nor his servant.   The woman is respected not scorned in Christianity, was the sense of John Gabriel’s reply.   But he remained upset because they made innocents suffer for him.

During one interrogation he was obliged to put on Mass vestments.  They wanted to accuse him of using the privilege of the priesthood for private interests.   But the missionary, clothed in the priestly garments, impressed the bystanders and two Christians drew near to him to ask for absolution.
The cruelest judge was the Viceroy.   The missionary was by this time a shadow.   The rage of this unscrupulous magistrate was vented on a ghost of a man.   Blinded by his omnipotence the Viceroy wanted confessions, admissions and accusations against others. But if the body was weak, the soul was reinforced.   His hope by now rested in his meeting God, which he felt nearer each day.

When John Gabriel told him for the last time:  “I would sooner die than deny my faith!,” the judge pronounced his sentence.   John Gabriel Perboyre was to die by strangulation.

With Christ priest and victim:
Then began a period of waiting for the imperial confirmation.   Perhaps John Gabriel could hope in the clemency of the sovereign.   But the war with the English erased any possible gesture of good-will.   Thus, on 11 September 1840, an imperial envoy arrived at full speed, bearing the decree confirming the condemnation.

With seven criminals the missionary was led up a height called the “Red Mountain.”   As the criminals were killed first, Perboyre reflected in prayer, to the wonderment of the bystanders.   When his turn came, the executioners stripped him of the purple tunic and tied him to a post in the form of a cross.   They passed a rope around his neck and strangled him.   It was the sixth hour.   Like Jesus, John Gabriel became like a grain of wheat.   He died, or better was born into heaven, in order to make fall on the earth the dew of God’s blessing.

Many circumstances surrounding his last year of life (the betrayal, the arrest, the death on a cross, its day and hour), are similar to the Passion of Christ.   In reality, all his life was that of a witness and a faithful disciple of Christ.   St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote: “I look for him who died for us; I yearn for him who rose for us. Behold, the moment is near in which I will be brought forth!   Have compassion on me, brothers!   Do not prevent me from being born to life!”

John Gabriel “was born to life” on 11 September 1840 because he always had sought “him who died for us.”   His body was brought back to France but his heart remained in his adopted homeland, the land of China.   There he gave his witness to the sons and daughters of St. Vincent who also wait to be born to heaven after a life spent for the gospel and for the poor.

After the then-obligatory waiting period of 50 years after death for seeking a person’s canonization had expired, a cause for him was introduced to the Holy See.   In the meantime, his remains were returned from China to France, where they were entombed for veneration in the chapel of the Vincentian Motherhouse in Paris (see images above).