Saint Francisco Fernandez de Capillas, Protomartyr of China
Baquerin dos Campos (Valencia), August 14, 1607 – Fogan (China), January 15, 1648
Francis Fernandez de Capillas is protomartyr of missionaries in China, the glory and pride of the Dominicans.
Born in Baquerin dos Campos, in the diocese of Valencia on August 14, 1607, at 17 he entered the Order of Preachers, wearing the dress in the convent of S. Paul in Valladolid; yet a deacon he left to do missionary work in the Philippines, landing in Manila.
Here he remained for a decade working hard alongside missionaries and being ordained a priest in 1631; his field of apostolate was the district of Cagayan (Luzon), in which he was able to gather a great flourishing of conversions.
An apostolic soul and at the same ascetic, he was able to join zeal to an extraordinary spirit of penance, he took his short rest stendendosi over a wooden cross and willingly not defended by the bites of insects infesting the region.
He considered that time spent in the Philippines, as a period of preparation for the mission in China, which was granted in 1642.
But in 1644 the Chinese Ming dynasty, took over the Manchu Tartars, who were hostile to missionaries and immediately began to persecute Christians.
In early December 1647, Father Francis was captured while returning from Fogan, where he had gone to administer the sacraments to a sick person. Insulted and slandered passed by a court to another, he suffered the torture of malleolus (ie make the walk between two asticelle in order to move the bones).
He was scourged, repeatedly blooded, enduring the tortures without cries of pain, so that judges and torturers were surprised at the end. He was moved almost dying in a prison where they locked up those condemned to death.
He was involved in the travel and destination to another missionary who returned via Formosa, to resume the apostolate begun in Fukien; father Francis Fernandez de Capillas undertook with all its might to evangelize the region, picking off handsomely in the cities of Fogan , and Ting-Moyang ten.
His conduct was uplifting, and aroused the admiration of others sentenced to death and prison guards themselves, who were allowed past the foods do not die of hunger.
On January 15, 1648 Father Francis was sentenced to death on charges of disseminating false doctrines and religious sobillato for the people against the rulers.
His death sentence, by decapitation, was carried out at Fogan the same day, he was thus the first martyr of the vast Chinese empire.
He was beatified by Pope s. Pius X, May 2 in 1909 along with 14 Chinese faithful martyrs and canonized together with 120 martyrs of China on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II, and their collective memory is on July 9, while the liturgical celebration of St. Francis Fernandez de capillas is January 15.
SOURCE: Santi e Beati