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Image of Bl. Melchior of Saint Augustine


Feastday: December 11

Birth: 1599

Death: 1632

Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

Martin Lumberas was born in Zaragosa, Spain, in 1598 and Melchior Sanchez in Granada the following year.

Before he joined the Recollect Congregation of the Augustinian Order at the age of twenty, Martin suffered the death of his brothers -- one killed while trying to establish peace between two enemies, the other an Augustinian -- and that of his sisters, one a Carmelite who died with a reputation for sanctity. In 1622 he left for the missions in the Philippines.

Melchior, orphaned at an early age, received the Recollect habit of the Augustinian Order at the age of eighteen and set sail for the Philippine mission in 1621. Both friars arrived at the monastery of Saint Nicholas in Manila after their ordination in Mexico City. In the Philippines, among other duties, Martin was master of novices, and Melchior was engaged in the apostolate of preaching. In July 1632, in response to a request of two missionary confreres imprisoned in Japan, they asked to be sent to that country to care for persecuted Christians who had been forced into hiding. They arrived in September of that same year and began to minister in the hills surrounding Nagasaki, until some of the very men who had helped them reach Japan reported them to the officials. Having undergone various forms of torture, there were burned at the stake on 11 December 1632.

Martin and Mechior were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 26 March 1989. The Augustinian Family celebrates their feast on 11 December.


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