St. Lorenzo Ruiz

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Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino to be canonized as a saint. He is also known as the first Filipino who was martyred for his Christian faith.

His feast day is celebrated every 28th of September.

An image of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Lloydbaltazar)

Biography

Ruiz was born to a Chinese father and Filipino mother between 1600 to 1610 in Binondo, Manila. At a young age, he became active in their parish, serving as its sacristan. The Dominicans, who administered the parish, hired him as their escribano because of his skills in penmanship. He then used his skills as a calligrapher for officials and private individuals. He was also a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. He later got married and had two sons and a daughter.

However, he, along with Antonio Gonzales, Guillermo Courtet, and Miguel de Aozaraza, was accused of committing a crime against the colonial government. Because of this, he fled the Philippines on 10 June 1636 and headed to Japan with the help of a Señor Domingo Gonzales and other Dominican priests.

Reaching Okinawa, they were quickly captured on 10 July 1636 by the Japanese, who were persecuting the Christians in the country. Ruiz and his companions endured different forms of torture including being submerged in water until they almost drowned, being forced to drink large amounts of water until it came out of their noses and ears, being pricked by needles beneath their nails, and being beaten severely until they lost consciousness.

These forms of torture were enough to cause Ruiz's companions to renounce their faith. However, whenever the tormentors would ask him if he was willing to do the same, he consistently rejected to recant his faith.

Finally, on 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his remaining companions were brought to the Mountain of Martyrs in Nagasaki. There, their feet were bound; their bodies hung upside down. Stones were used to add to their weight, eventually resulting to their death due to suffocation and excessive bleeding.

Ruiz died two days after they were first brought to the Mountain of Martyrs. His body was cremated and his ashes were dumped in the sea.

Beatification and canonization

Ruiz, along with 15 of his companions, were beatified on 18 February 1981 by Pope John Paul II during his visit to the Philippines. He was eventually canonized in Rome on 18 October 1987.

References

  • "His Life." Diaz Foundation. (Accessed on 21 July 2010).
  • "How Many Pinoys Do You Know?" On the Wings of my Dream. (Accessed on 21 July 2010).
  • "Life Story of St. Lorenzo Ruiz." Fortune City. (Accessed on 21 July 2010).
  • "Saint Lorenzo Ruiz." Catholic Online. (Accessed on 21 July 2010).

Citation

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