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St. Daniel and Companions

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Friars Minor and martyrs ; dates of birth unknown; died 10 October, 1227. The martyrdom of St. Berard and his companions in 1219 had inflamed many of the religious of the Order of Friars Minor with the desire of preaching the Gospel in heathen lands; and in 1227, the year following St. Francis's death, six religious of Tuscany, Agnellus, Samuel, Donulus, Leo, Hugolinus, and Nicholas, petitioned Brother Elias of Cortona, then vicar-general of the order, for permission to preach the Gospel to the infidels of Morocco. The six missionaries went first to Spain, where they were joined by Daniel, Minister Provincial of Calabria, who became their superior. They set sail from Spain and on 20 September reached the coast of Africa, where they remained for a few days in a small village inhabited mostly by Christian merchants just beyond the walls of the Saracen city of Ceuta. Finally, very early on Sunday morning, they entered the city, and immediately began to preach the Gospel and to denounce the religion of Mahomet. They were soon apprehended and brought before the sultan who, thinking that they were mad, ordered them to be cast into prison. Here they remained until the following Sunday when they were again brought before the sultan, who, by promises and threats, endeavoured in vain to make them deny the Christian religion. They were all condemned to death. Each one approached Daniel, the superior, to ask his blessing and permission to die for Christ. They were all beheaded. St. Daniel and his companions were canonized by Leo X in 1516. Their feast is kept in the order on the thirteenth of October.

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