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Saint Lorenzo Ruiz
Born: ca 1600 in Binondo, Manila, Philipines
Died: September 29, 1637 at Nagasaki, Hizen Province, Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan
Venerated: Catholic Church
Beatified: February 18, 1981 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized: October 18, 1987 by Pope John Paul II
Feast Day: September 28
Patronages: Filipinos; Migrant Workers; The Poor; Separated Families
Born to a Chinese father and Filipino mother, both Christians, Lorenzo learned Chinese and Tagalog at home, Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. Professional calligrapher and document transcriptionist. Member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Married layman, and the father of two sons and a daughter.
For unclear reasons, Lorenzo was accused of murder. He sought asylum on board ship with three Dominican priests, Saint Antonio Gonzalez, Saint Guillermo Courtet, and Saint Miguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Saint Lazaro of Kyoto, a leper. Only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan during a time of intense Christian persecution.
Lorenzo could have gone to Formosa (modern Taiwan), but feared the Spaniards there would hang him, and so stayed with the missionaries as they landed at Okinawa. The group was soon exposed as Christian, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki, Japan. They were tortured in several ways for days. Lawrence and the Japanese priest broke at one point, and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release, but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith and defied their tormentors. He is the first canonized Filipino martyr.