Saint Jacques Berthieu was a French Jesuit priest working in Madagascar when he was martyred by rebel tribesmen hostile to his faith.
Saint Berthieu was born in France on November 27, 1838, as one of seven children. As you youth, he felt a strong calling to serve God and he joined the Jesuits in October of 1873.
Just two years later, he joined a Jesuit mission to Madagascar. His talent and zeal made him a favorite in the order and he was soon appointed to be the superior of mission in Ambositra in 1885.
Working from his mission, St. Berthieu grew the faith, inviting many of the locals to God.
However, his mission because increasingly fraught with danger as some locals became increasingly hostile to French influence in the region. The hostility eventually grew so that the mission had to be repeatedly moved.
Eventually, moving the mission was not enough and in 1896, St. Berthieu was kidnapped during a rebellion.
St. Berthieu's had many chances to flee before being captured and possibly after, but he would not consider it, preferring instead to remain on task, shepherding as many of the people as he could toward Christ.
On June 8, 1896, he was presented to a rebel leader who offered him a position as an advisor. St. Berthieu refused this honor. After refusing, he was then given only seconds to choose between renouncing his faith and being put to death.
To which St. Berthieu replied, "My son, I'm sorry, that I cannot do. I prefer to die."
Death came quickly as several men with clubs descended upon him and beat him. After beating him nearly to death, the attackers finished by shooting him. His murderers cast his body into a nearby river.
After his death, locals began to report miracles as a result of drinking the waters in which he was cast. The miracles occurred in St. Berthieu's name and were also associated with greenery along the riverbank.
St. Berthieu was venerated on April 8, 1964.
St. Berthieu was beautified on October 16, 1965 by Pope Paul VI.
St. Berthieu was recognized as a saint by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.
Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. He was born Alphonsus Marie Antony John Cosmos Damien Michael Gaspard de Liguori on September 27,1696, at Marianella, ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her baptismal name was Alexandrina, but she took the name of Catherine upon entering religion. From her earliest infancy she manifested a great love of ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes