Martyrs In Japan

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9. The Great Martyrdom



THE martyrdom of Father Flores took place on August 19, 1622. By this time, therefore, Father Thomas of the Holy Ghost, with his companions, Brother Manse of S. Thomas and Paul Nangaoci, had for five years endured the horrors of their prison, and Fathers Angelo Ferrier and Thomas of the Rosary with Brother John Mangoriki had suffered the same tortures for four years. Father Francis de Morales and Father Alphonsus de Mena had been fellow-captives in different prisons for three and a half years ; and Fathers Hyacinth Orphanel and Joseph of S. Hyacinth had spent, the first sixteen, the second twelve months in prison. These were now all united in one prison in Omura, constructed especially for their confinement, and with them were many associates of the Holy Rosary, and several members of the Third Order. In the same prison were also nine religious of the Seraphic Order of S. Francis, three fathers and six brothers ; and two fathers of the Society of Jesus, with four novices and three catechists. The life these holy confessors led in prison was a standing miracle and worthy of enthusiastic admiration.

More heroic courage was necessary to bear the protracted misery of such a prison than to suffer on the block or at the stake. They were all confined in one chamber, which they were strictly forbidden to leave under any circumstances. The stench of this miserable den was insupportable, and it seems miraculous its inhabitants could survive. Their food was a meagre allowance of rice or badlycooked herbs, given them through a hole in the wall ; their drink was water. Knives and scissors were forbidden, so that their hair and beards became long, shaggy and matted ; lights were denied them, and even water with which to wash their garments. So densely was their narrow prison crowded that there was scarce room to lie down ; they were therefore tormented at once by cold and heat, hunger, thirst, dirt, fatigue, and by the stifling atmosphere of their prison. Over all this patience and Christian endurance reigned supreme ; no murmur or complaint was heard, so that the guards were frequently changed, because they grew compassionate to their victims.

In fact, the prison of Omura was the convent of a fervent religious community. The guards, like those who watched over SS. Paul and Silas at Philippi, were astonished to hear at midnight the solemn sounds of a chant in praise of Ck>d, for at that hour the confessors recited Matins, and after the last notes had been carried away on the nightair, an hour was give to mental prayer. Many, following the example of S. Dominic, offered their blood to God during the darkness of the night under the lash of the discipline. Every evening after Compline the Salve was sung to that ancient music so familiar to all the children of S. Dominic, and on Saturday hymns were sung in honour of the mysteries of the Rosary. " The captives," says Father Charlevoix, *' added £Eists and austerities to their sufferings. A rule was agreed to and faithfully kept. Each day the priests said mass, and were superiors in turn, week by week. The office was recited in two choirs." The means to offer the Holy Sacrifice must have been supplied by the faithful outside, as it is evident, from different accounts, that they contrived to hold some communication with the captives. Extracts are quoted at length by Father Meynard from letters written by the different Dominican priests in prison, which are evidences at once of the heroic virtues of the writers and of the consolations with which God sustained His suffering children. Thus Father Francis Morales thanks God for allowing him to live in that prison, which he styles " most beautiful, and a place dearly to be loved. God is rich and bountiful in His mercy, as I have learnt since my imprisonment, for I did not know before that it was possible a man in this world could feel the excess of joy and gladness that fills my heart. I ask but one thing from Grod, and that is that I may not depart hence except to die for His Name." Father Alphonsus de Mena dates his letter, " From my prison, which is the paradise of my delights." Father Angelo Ferrier thus announces his arrest : " Good news ! Good news ! All is well ! I am in prison for Jesus, my love, and I hope to die for Him. Our only fear is lest they may send us to Manilla, and thus prevent us dying for Christ ; but we desire only God's will, and know that we are unworthy to suffer for His holy Name." In fact the only apprehension which at all agitated their minds was the chance that the martyr's crown, now almost within their grasp, should be denied them. But this fear only called forth generous acts of humility and complete abandonment to the will of God. Their feelings may be shortly expressed by that beautifully simple sentence of Father Charles Spinola after describing their sufferings. ''In short," he says, "there is much to offer to our Lord." In the midst of their sufferings they were supported by the Holy Communion, which, when the captive priests could not say Mass, Father Dominic Castellet managed sometimes to bring them at the imminent risk of his life.

Gonrocu, in obedience to the emperor's command, had resolved to strike terror into the Christians by mowing down at one stroke the flower of their ranks. On the morning of September 9, therefore, in the year 1622, an officer entered the Satsuta prison with a list of those selected for the next day's combat Amidst breathless silence he read the names of those who had been condemned, and as each one's name was called he was tightly bound and led outside the prison enclosure. All the priests were included except Father Thomas of the Holy Ghost, and Father Apollinarius Franco, who to their sorrow were omitted, though they had undergone the longest term of imprisonment. The hearts of the chosen band overflowed with joy at the arrival of the long-desired hour, and standing outside their prison they sang psalms of praise to God, thanking Him for the wonderful graces showered upon them during their long confinement, and begging Him to glorify His name by their death. '* Either the sword, the fire, or the cross, according to Thy will," was their heroic aspiration, for as yet they were ignorant what death awaited them.

Nagasaki having been chosen as the place of sacrifice, the prisoners were conducted in a large boat to Nangaye, the town in which Alphonsus Navarette had been captured, and as horses were found awaiting their arrival, the whole cavalcade started immediately on their journey. A report had spread that the Christian missionaries from Omura were being conducted to martyrdom, so that the faithful met them while disembarking at Nangaye, and crowding round, demanded their blessing and begged their prayers. A large escort consisting of nearly three hundred soldiers had been sent to accompany the prisoners, who were placed on horseback each with a halter round his neck, one end being held by an armed attendant. The guards were furnished with strong bamboo canes, which enabled them more effectually to keep back the crowd which collected on all sides either from curiosity or devotion. At the head of the procession rode the officer in command, surrounded by twenty lances and an escort of musketeers and bowmen. Night overtook the weary party at a place called Voracam, and here the soldiers hastily enclosed a space of open ground with a palisade, within which the Christian captives spent the night, lying on the bare ground, with nothing to protect them from the pouring rain. Very early in the morning they again mounted on horseback, and the journey was continued, the road being lined with Christians kneeling to receive the last blessing of the martyrs. It must have been difficult for these faithful souls to recognize those they loved so well, and tears of compassion flowed freely when they saw the emaciated forms of the missionaries with their dirty and ragged garments dripping with the night's rain, their hair and beards long and tangled, their cheeks pale with illness, their brows wrinkled and haggard with suffering. They were indeed disguised, transfigured, but with the disguise and transfiguration of Calvary. Salutations and affectionate greetings passed between the prisoners and the faithful, and many were the exhortations on both sides to remain constant to the end.

At last the city of Nagasaki appeared, and the crowd continually thickened. The martyrs were not taken into the city, but were at once conducted to the sacred hill, the holy place of the martyrs. An immense throng of people had already collected on the sides of the hill, which jutting out into the sea, slopes gradually towards the city. Before the arrival of the prisoners bodies of soldiers had been posted in different places to preserve order and to prevent a rescue being attempted. Sixty thousand spectators clustered on the hill, and of these it was computed that thirty thousand were Christians. As the prisoners from Omura first came in sight, a sound of many voices ran through that mixed multitude - exclamations of pity and contempt, recognitions of friends, prayers and aspirations that fortitude might be given the martyrs. Then a deep silence followed. The multitude contemplated the condemned ; the missionaries preached to the dense throng. For a whole hour the martyrs stood on the hill near the twenty-two stakes there planted, waiting for their companions. The priests took this last opportunity of preaching to the people and encouraging the Christians. Amongst the rest Father Francis Morales after declaring that he was about to die for the true Faith begged the faithful not to be scandalized if he manifested any signs of weakness amidst the torturing flames, but to attribute them to the natural shrinking of the flesh, which is weak even when the spirit is willing. Suddenly sounds were heard from the city ; every eye was turned in that direction, while cries of " They come ! they come ! " were heard amongst the people. Then again folJowed a general silence, for the strains of voices singing in harmony filled the air, and a procession of Christian martyrs issued from the city gate, and began slowly to ascend the hill. No martyrdom, even in the early days of the Church, could have presented a scene more touchingly beautiful. It was a solemn procession of the Rosary, to end at the feet of Mary ; a triumphal progress, through the portal of death, into the kingdom of light. First came Mary of Fingo, clad in the white habit of the Tertiaries of S. Dominic, bearing a cross, the standard of these Christian warriors. Mary, the wife of Andrew Tocuan, followed, clad also as a Tertiary, and though only thirty-three years old, her infirmities making her unable to walk, she was carried to martyrdom. Agnes, the wife of the martyr Cosmo Taquea, and Catherine of Fingo were both Tertiaries, and the latter, says Father Meynard, Prioress of the Confraternities of the Rosary and the Holy Name. There were also several members of the Rosary Confraternity, and some children, one of them named Peter, only three years old, and carried in his mother's arms. Another boy of five, also named Peter, walked alone to martyrdom.

The men formed a second procession. Amongst them was Rufus Iscimola^ Prior of the Rosary, and Dominic of Chiamgo, who had sheltered a Dominican father in his house ; Damian with his son (only five years old), and Clement, carrying his infant child of two.

As the procession moved on, surrounded by guards, the crowd fell back to let the heroes ascend to victory, and even heathen eyes must have moistened with tears to see women of high rank, nurtured in ease and delicacy, carrying their tender infants with them to a public and disgraceful death. What mysterious power must they have acknowledged to he in the Christian religion, to give little children the fortitude to offer themselves willingly to the executioners' sword ! Yesterday Gonrocu had been taught another lesson of Christian heroism. These confessors had stedfastly rejected the fair promises by which he had sought to render them unfaithful to their Lord, and that morning he had condemned them all to be beheaded, a sentence they heard with unfeigned pleasure. During the martyrdom Gonrocu remained within the city, having commissioned an under-ofBcial to preside over the terrible scene. This deputy of the governor sat enthroned in state on the dais covered with the finest carpets of China, with a magnificent canopy stretched above, and surrounded by the great men of Nagasaki.

At last the procession reached the top of the hill, and tender greetings passed between those that composed its ranks and their companions awaiting them at the stakes. Father Francis de Morales saw once more his cherished daughter Mary Tocuan, and this heroic woman, feeble as she was, prostrated herself at his feet, asking his blessing. '' Where, " said the father, " is your little son Paul ? " " He is, " said the Christian mother, " where we shall soon be ourselves. God has taken him to paradise. "

The priests would not suffer this last opportunity of preaching to the heathen crowd to be lost, and turning to the presiding judge, they declared the truth of Christianity, the folly of idolatry, and protested that, far from coming to Japan on any political errand, according to the assertions of their enemies, they sought only the eternal salvation of souls. The signal was given by the judge, and the twentyone condemned to the flames were bound loosely to their stakes, so that at any moment they could purchase life by apostasy. Father Boero gives the position occupied by these martyrs from a Japanese picture drawn by an eyewitness. Nearest the sea there were four natives, who had given hospitality to religious, namely, Anthony Sanga, Paul Nagasci, a Dominican Tertiary, Anthony ofCorea, and Lucy, a member of the Third Order of S. Francis. Then followed the religious from Satsuta - first. Father Charles Spinola, S.J. ; second, Father Angelo Ferrer, O.P.; third, Father Joseph of S. Hyacinth, O.P. ; fourth. Father Chimura Sebastiano, S.J. ; fifth. Father Richard, O.S.F. ; sixth, Father Alphonsus de Mena, O. P. ; seventh, Father Peter di Avila, O.S.F. ; eighth, Vincent of S. Joseph, laybrother, O.S.F. ; ninth, Father Francis de Morales, O.P.; tenth, Leo, of Satsuma, Tertiary of S. Francis. After these came five native students of the Society of Jesus, three Japanese, who deserted their stakes, as will be seen later, and then another member of the Society named Brother Luigi Cavara. To the last stake was hound Brother Alexis, a professed Dominican novice.

Brother Dominic Mangoriki and Brother Thomas of the Rosary were among those condemned to be beheaded, and they all knelt in a line near the stakes, calmly awaiting the end. The little children even knelt with quiet gladness, their hands clasped, their lips moving in prayer, and their eyes looking upwards to heaven. Father Spinola intoned the psalm, Laudate Dotninum omnes gentesy all the martyrs, and doubtless also the surrounding Christians, taking up the solemn chant of thanksgiving. As with one voice they praised and glorified and blessed God in the furnace (Dan. iii. 51). An eyewitness of the scene attested at Manilla that he had never heard harmony so sweet and joyful, sounding as if the guardian angels of the martyrs had moved their tongues. At length the appointed moment arrived, the signal was given, and in a few minutes the sword of the executioner, reeking in Christian blood, had finished its work. Not one of the martyrs had flinched, each one in turn, meekly bowing to the stroke, had departed to the heavenly kingdom. The youngest children among them met their death with the utmost fortitude.

Then the fire was applied simultaneously to all the stakes and as soon as the smoke appeared, curling up in wreaths from the damp wood, a loud cry was heard on all sides. From the sea, from every part of the hill, the voice of sympathy and supplication arose. Thousands joined in it, with such earnestness that it seemed, says a writer, as if that vast multitude were about to give up the ghost. It struck a strange feeling of awe into the judge, and comforted the martyrs' hearts. It was the sound of the Christian spectators begging God to vouchsafe to His servants constancy amid their torments. The wood was damp, the piles extended some feet from the stakes, and were kindled at such a distance as to roast and torture the sufferers without causing their deaths. Every moment the agony increased, as the flames crept nearer and nearer. If the fire approached some martyr too rapidly, water was immediately poured upon it, lest the torture might too speedily be ended. Thus the first half-hour rolled by, amidst the tears and prayers of the faithful, the mocking shouts of the soldiers and the pagan mob, the half-suppressed groans of the martyrs, and their constant cry of " Jesus and Mary."

In the midst of this exhibition of Christian faith a lamentable event took place. Two, or, according to some, three, Japanese were conquered by the violence of their agony. The torment was so terrible that they rushed from their piles, and prostrate before the guards, they implored death by the sword. They would not apostatize, but the agony of the fire they could not endure. Blessed Paul Nangasci, the Dominican Tertiary, was pierced to the heart when he saw their danger, and he left his stake to secure his brethren, and lead them back to the altar of sacrifice. " How is this ?" he cried ; " your sufferings will soon end. In a few moments you will be with the blessed. Take courage, pray for strength, and come with me to die for the love of our Saviour. Then, setting them an heroic example, he went back over the burning wood, and kneeling at his stake, he embraced it, shedding many tears, and praying with all the force of his soul, he thus remained until released by death. The prayers of this glorious martyr were answered, for those whom the fire had conquered in their turn became conquerors, and, retracing their steps, resigned themselves to their painful death. This is the most consoling account. Father Boero, however, says that these three unhappy men had been, through their own fault, abandoned by God's grace, owing to some fault committed in prison (Father Charlevoix adds of disobedience), and that they apostatized, as Father Spinola had before prophesied they would, but the judge ordered them, notwithstanding, to be driven again into the flames. Boero doubts if more than two became apostates, and even these are considered likely to have repented before their death, hut their names are not enrolled among the beatified. Bartoli and Charlevoix, by a strange mistake, reckon Blessed Paul Nagasci among these, and represent him as an apostate. Many proofs of the contrary could be given, but none are necessary, since Pius the Ninth has solemnly raised him on the altars of the Church as a glorious martyr of the Order of S. Dominic.

Before the fire began actually to consume him, Father Joseph of S. Hyacinth, in imitation of his Divine Master, cried out, "/ thirstP His mouth was parched, for he had been long exhorting the Christians with great vehemence to have a tender devotion to Mary, and to continue faithful in the practice of reciting the rosary, that it might instruct them in the Faith after the death of their pastors. The soldiers mocked his request, but a woman in the crowd, moved to compassion, managed io-gfve him a cup of water, with which he refreshed hhnsdf and his companions. Taking the cup before he drank, he lifted it high in the air, according to a Japanese custom, and cheerfully saluted those around, to the consolation, says an old writer, of the Christians, and the astonishment of the heathen.

Father Francis de Morales was seen walking amid the flames with most perfect calmness and composure, like one of the three children of Israel in olden days, until at last he fell consumed, and gave his spirit to God. The astonishment of the spectators reached its height when they saw Father Angelo Ferrer rise gradually in kneeling posture several feet above the top of the highest flames. In this marvellous ecstasy he remained for some time in the sight of all. Some hours passed away. At the end of the first Father Spinola went to rest, and one after the other the martyrs died, till few remained to suffer. The throng gradually dispersed, the officials returned to the city, and, as night came on and heavy rain began to fall, the guards alone remained around the smoking ashes. During the whole of that long night Father Hyacinth Orphanel lingered in agony. The wood provided for his pile was green and saturated with water. It smouldered on, bursting occasionally into flames, and even after the morning light had appeared the soldiers heard a faint voice calling on " Jesus and Mary.'' He suffered for sixteen hours.

The sacred remains were watched by Gonrocu's soldiers for three days and nights without being removed from the place of execution. A native Christian named Leo Fracuzayemon endeavoured to obtain some portion of the relics, but being seized and imprisoned, was himself burnt alive for refusing to abandon his religion. After three days an immense pile of wood was erected, and the remains of the martyrs, together with sacks full of earth saturated with blood, were thrown upon it. Any one who approached was beaten, stript, and bound to a stake till the operation was over. The ashes of this immense pile were carried away to sea, and cast overboard.

Although the heathen did everything to dishonour the relics of the martyrs, God himself was pleased to manifest the glory of His faithful servants by a miraculous light, which shone with great brilliancy over the place of their triumph during the very next night Two European fishermen attested on oath that they saw this supernatural light, which remained visible for at least two hours. It was also deposed on oath in 1630 that, according to a tradition considered authentic by the Christians of Nagasaki, certain Christian fishermen saw during the same night a procession of lights on the sacred hill, headed by one more splendid than the rest This was confirmed by the heathen guards, who declared that while they were watching during the night, the mangled and charred remains had suddenly assumed an appearance of perfect integrity and extreme glory, and had formed a procession, singing the praises of the Lord of Heaven. The first, conspicuous among his fellows for brightness, was said to be Father Spinola, of the Society of Jesus.

Such was the " Great Martyrdom " which will ever render the loth of September, 1622, a memorable day in the Church. This name it well deserves on account of the number, dignity, and illustrious virtue of the victims, and the atrocious torments many of them endured. All the Orders in Japan shared the triumph, but that of S. Dominic was most numerously represented, losing on that day the finest of its missionaries in Japan. Eight religious, five priests, and three professed brothers, besides numbers of tertiaries and associates of the Rosary, were sacrificed to God in the "Great Martyrdom."

Father Francis de Morales and Alphonsus de Mena were among the first Dominicans that entered Japan in 1601. Many details have already been given of their long mission, so gloriously crowned. It will be interesting to hear a short account of the other religious, though want of space renders it necessary to omit many details recorded by different writers.

Father Angelo Orsucci was an Italian, bom in the city of Lucca, May 5, 1573. He received in baptism the name of Michael, which he afterwards changed to Angelo. In his early boyhood he was remarkable for those virtues suited to his years, and was held up as an example to his brothers. His heart was filled with tender love for Mary, which he expressed by daily reciting her Office and the Rosary, and by visiting with great devotion a famous image called " Our Lady of Miracles." He mingled the reading of devout books with his early studies, being especially attracted by accounts of the heroism of the martyrs. While still a youth he received the habit of S. Dominic in the Priory of S. Romanus in his native city, and studied first at the convent of the Quercia in Viterbo, and afterwards in the Minerva in Rome. A story is related of the young Brother Angelo that shows the resolution with which he fought against the inclinations of his nature. Being only fourteen, he found considerable difficulty in rising for midnight Matins, his sleep being at that time so sound. His novice master, to enable him to wake, gave him a cell next to his elder brother, Francis Orsucci, and a rope tied to his foot was passed into his brother's cell. This plan being only partially successful, the fervent novice made a resolution to consider the noise of those who called him to be made by the soldiers who came to crucify Christ. This consideration enabled him to rise at the first sound of the signal, and join with spirit in the praises of God.

After having finished his studies, feeling a great desire to devote himself to a missionary life, he obtained permission to visit Valentia in Spain, where he enjoyed the privilege of living for some time in that Priory, made so famous by the sanctity of its two celebrated sons, S. Vincent Ferrer and S. Lewis Bertrand. Out of devotion to the first of these wonderful apostles Father Angelo took the name of Ferrer, and consecrated himself to a missionary life under the patronage of S. Vincent The first favourable opportunity saw Father Angelo on his way to the Philippine Islands, where for many years he laboured with the utmost zeal on different missions. So much did he suffer on the mission of New Segovia from his laborious journeys on foot and other hardships of the apostolate, that he fell ill, and was obliged to return to Manilla. For two years he bore a harrassing sickness with the utmost resignation and cheerfulness, showing by his virtues that he deserved his name of Angelo. After his recovery he was again employed on missions to the natives of the islands, and then was sent as prior to the convent in Mexico, especially founded to assist missionaries on their journey from Spain to the East On his return to Manilla his brethren were about to send him to Rome to represent the interests of their province, but his humility prompted him to refuse this office, and beg instead to be despatched on the Japanese mission. The Father Provincial was long unwilling to accede to this request, not wishing to part with so holy a Religious ; therefore, to discover the will of God the advice of Father Calderon, of the Society of Jesus, was asked. Hearing the circumstances of the case, his decided answer was, " Go by all means, as our Lord will have much glory from it." The provincial, therefore, commanded Father Angelo to depart, and he arrived in Nagasaki on August 12, 1618. To learn the language, he lodged in the house of Cosmo Taquea, a devout member of the Rosary. During the night of December 13 the house was surrounded, and Father Angelo was seized and cast into prison.

Father Joseph of S. Hyacinth, a Spaniard, was professed in the Priory of S. Dominic in the town of Ocana, a house in which observance was stricter than in almost any convent in Spain. John de Rechac calls it "the chosen dwellingplace of piety.*' Most of the novices of Castille were sent to Ocana to be instructed in religious discipline. Father Joseph showed the good fruits of the training he had there received, being remarkable for religious virtue and apostolic zeal. It has already been mentioned that Father Francis Morales sent him to Miako, when the Dominicans were expelled from Satsuma, and that he erected a church there, and afterwards another, dedicated in honour of S. Dominic, at Ozaca, one of the richest and most important towns of the empire. After Father Francis Morales had fallen into the persecutors power, Father Joseph was elected to succeed him in the office of vicar provincial of the missions, and his heart was afflicted to see the Christians in sad need of spiritual help, while those who longed to assist them were in prison, waiting for death. During his term of office Father Flores was captured, and the vicar provincial tried every expedient to restore him to liberty - with what success has been already seen. On the night of August 1 7 Father Joseph's time came. He had been hearing a great number of confessions, and was about to retire for some necessary repose, when suddenly his apartments were filled by a multitude of persons, whom he at first took for Christians desiring the sacraments. They were, however, satellites come to apprehend him ; and, with a cord round his neck he was led before the governor, and afterwards imprisoned in Satzuma. He was a singularly eloquent man, and having become very familiar with the Japanese language, he was a most useful preacher. His favourite subject was our Lady of the Rosary, and on this he delivered his last sermon on the day of his martyrdom, his pulpit being the pile on which he was burnt.

Father Hyacinth Orphanel was also a Spaniard, and a native of the kingdom of Aragon. He was professed in Barcelona, and entered the empire of Japan in 1609, when he was about thirty. For eleven years he laboured in different parts of the country. The process of his beatification speaks of charity to the poor as his characteristic virtue, their sufferings temporal as well as spiritual filling his heart with compassion. When persecution raged with special violence in Arima, he flew to the assistance of the Christians, to comfort them in their trials, and to show them how to suffer for Christ. Father Hyacinth was the author of a history of the Dominican Missions in Japan from the first entrance of the friars until 1620, and the 'work was continued by Father Collado up to the year 1622. He speaks of himself in this history as "a certain religious of the Order," and under this name mentions some of his labours for the spread of the Christian faith. On one occasion, making a journey into Firando, formerly an Augustinian mission, he was received with the utmost joy, and lodged in the king's palace, thus enjoying full liberty to exercise his apostolic duties among the people. The king was himself an apostate, but at the lime of Father Hyacinth's visit was absent, having left the government in the hands of his uncle, a Christian. Another time he travelled about sixty leagues to find a confessor, and at last met a Jesuit father whose sanctity and prudence were of great assistance to his soul. In April of 1 62 1 he was taken, and, after explaining the truth of the Christian faith to the judge, was condemned to the prison of Satsuta. On the way to the prison multitudes of Christians accompanied him singing the Litanies.

Of the three brothers Dominic, Thomas of the Rosary, and Alexis, little more is known than that they were natives who aided the fathers in their apostolic labours. Brother Dominic, whose secular name was John Mangoriki, and Brother Thomas of the Rosary received the habit, or at least made their profession, in the prison of Satsuta, having proved themselves well worthy of that honour. Brother Thomas is mentioned by Father Meynard as a priest, but in the processes he is spoken of as a professed choir brother. Alexis* was burnt, Dominic and Thomas beheaded, because sufficient stakes were not provided. Thomas of the Rosary being young and handsome, the judge offered to spare his life if he would deny that he knew the fathers of S. Dominic, but he answered with vehemence : " How could I say that without offending God by a lie ? I both know these religious, and for years I have endeavoured to assist them in their work for the conversion of souls."

The great martyrdom did not satisfy Gonrocu's thirst for blood, and on the very next day " he beheaded, at Nagasaki, Gaspard Cotenda and eleven others, all of the Third Order." Cotenda was a kinsman of the king of Firando, and a catechist of the fathers of the Society of Jesus.

Father Thomas of the Holy Ghost was still in prison, although he had been captured the earliest of all the Fathers, while completing Alphonsus Navarette's work. Great was his grief when his companions preceded him to martyrdom, but he found comfort in the divine will, humbled himself profoundly, and acknowledged himself unworthy of the martyr's crown. It was not, however, long delayed. On September 12 (only two days after the great martyrdom) his weary imprisonment ended, and he was burnt with his companions. Brother Mance of S. Thomas and Brother Dominic of Fiunga, professed brothers of the Order. Father ApoUinarius Franco and two native Franciscan novices suffered on the same day. Father Thomas was a Spaniard, whose family name was Zumarraga, and was a native of Vittoria. He made his profession as a religious of S. Dominic in the Priory of S. Stephen in Salamanca on January 19, 1594. Studying in the Priory of S. Gregory at Valladolid, he remembered "that wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sin," and therefore moulded his life after the example of the saints of his Order. His spirit of observance was most rigid. In 1601 he started for the eastern missions, and on his journey to the seaport he travelled on foot, in imitation of our Holy Founder, without any provision for the journey. In 1602 he arrived in Japan, and during the next year was sent back by Father Francis Morales to give an account in Manilla of the success of the first missions. On this voyage the ship caught fire, and when death appeared to stare every one in the face, Father Thomas cast his rosary and some relics into the flames, and they were immediately extinguished. He returned to Japan in 1604, and for some time held the office of vicar provincial, in which he was succeeded by Alphonsus Navarette. He laboured until 161 7 in various parts of the empire, spending some time in Miako, and working without intermission for the good of souls. His patience in prison has been frequently mentioned. The two choir brothers were catechists to the fathers and were youths of eminent virtue, imitating the example they saw in the fathers of the Order. It is to be regretted that so few details are known of the lives of these native Religious, who met their death for the Faith with a heroism quite equal to the missionaries from Europe. Brother Mance of S. Thomas was a professed choir religious, and had been of great assistance to Father Thomas of the Holy Ghost. It is doubtful whether Brother Dominic belonged to the First or Third Order. The processes of Manilla state that he received the habit in prison, while some writers represent him as a choir religious, and others as a lay brother. Father Collado mentions a secular imprisoned with Father Hyacinth Orphanel, from whom he received the habit before his death. This is probably the same Brother Dominic. Their triumph may almost be reckoned part of the great martyrdom. The cruel Suchendaiu, who had presided on September lo, was speedily overtaken by the justice of God. When sitting at table, this miserable man suddenly fell, struck by an invisible hand, and when his attendants raised his corpse, they found it scorched as though it had been roasted over a slow fire.