Skip to content

St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz

Facts

Feastday: November 17
Birth: 1576
Death: 1628
Canonized By: Pope John Paul II

The earliest beatified martyrs of America are three Jesuits of Paraguay, and one of them was American-born.

Roque Gonzalez y de Santa-Cruz was the son of noble Spanish parents, and he came into this world at Asuncion, the capitol of Paraguay, in 1576. He was an unusually good and religious boy, and everybody took it for granted that young Roque would become a priest. He was in fact ordained, when he was twenty-three: but unwillingly, for he felt very strongly that he was unworthy of the priesthood. At once he began to take an interest in the Indians of Paraguay, seeking them out in remote places to preach to and instruct them in Christianity; and after ten years, to avoid ecclesiastical promotion and to get more opportunity for missionary work, he joined the Society of Jesus.

These were the days of the beginnings of the famous "reductions" of Paraguay, in the formation of which Father Roque Gonzalez played an important part. These remarkable institutions were settlements of Christian Indians run by the Jesuit missionaries, who looked on themselves, not like so many other Spaniards did as the conquerors and "bosses" of the Indians, but as the guardians and trustees of their welfare.

It was to bring about such a happy state of things that Father Roque labored for nearly twenty years, grappling patiently and without discouragement with hardships, dangers and reverses of all kinds, with intractable and fierce tribes and with the opposition of the European colonists. He threw himself heart and soul into the work. For three years he was in charge of the Reduction of St. Ignatius, the first of them, and then spent the rest of his life establishing others reductions, half a dozen in all, east of the Parana and Uruguay rivers; he was the first European known to have penetrated into some districts of South America.

In 1628, Father Roque was joined by two young Spanish Jesuits, Alonso (Alphonsus) Rodriguez and Juan (John)de Castillo, and together they founded a new reduction near the Ijuhi river, dedicated in honor of Our Lady's Assumption. Father Castillo was left in charge there, while the other two pushed on to Caaro (in the southern tip of what is now Brazil), where they established the All Saints' Reduction.

Here they were faced with the hostility of a powerful "medicine man", and at his instigation the Mission was soon attacked. Father Roque was getting ready to hang a small church bell when the raiding party arrived; one man stole up from behind and killed him with blows on the head from a tomahawk. Father Rodriguez heard the noise and, coming to the door of his hut to see what it was about, met the bloodstained savages who knocked him down. "What are you doing, my sons?" he exclaimed. But he was silenced by further blows. The wooden chapel was set on fire and the two bodies thrown into the flames. It was November 15, 1628. Two days later the Mission at Ijuhi was attacked; Father Castillo was seized and bound, barbarously beaten, and stoned to death.

The first steps toward the beatification of these missionaries were taken within six months of their martyrdom, by the writing down of evidence about what had happened. But these precious documents were lost. Then copies of the originals turned up in the Argentine, and in 1934, Rogue Gonzalez, Alonso Rodrigues and Juan de Castillo were solemnly declared Blessed. They were canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II. Their feast day is November 17th.


St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz Comments


More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

18.

Image of St. Clare

St. Clare

St. Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi on July 16, 1194, as Chiara Offreduccio, the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Tradition says ... continue reading | shop

19.

Image of St. Lucy

St. Lucy

Lucy's history has been lost and all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life during the persecution of Christians in the early fourth ... continue reading | shop

20.

Image of St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio was an Italian priest who was known for his piety and charity, as well as the gift of the stigmata, which has never been explained. St. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione, ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Rupert

St. Rupert

Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A member of a noble Frankish family, he was appointed bishop of Worms, Germany, and then dedicated himself to spreading the faith among the ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Abigail

St. Abigail

St. Abigail, more commonly known as St. Gobnait or Deborah, was a medieval Irish saint born around the 6th century in County Clare, Ireland. According to tradition, Abigail's family was always feuding. This caused her to run away from home to settle on Inis Oirr in ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Casimir

St. Casimir

Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a prince of Poland, the second son of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, his life was scheduled to cement his father's authority and increase Poland's power. Casimir realized from an early age ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Agatha

St. Agatha

St. Agatha, also known as Agatha of Sicily, is one of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of the Catholic Church. It is believed that she was born around 231 in either Catania or Palermo, Sicily to a rich and noble family. From her very early years, the notably ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.