Friday, April 30, 2010
10. Antonia Mesina, lay woman (+ Orgosolo, Nuoro 1935). At the age of 16, while gathering wood, she was killed by a prowler who tried to rape her. [4. October 1987).
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Columba Kang Wan-suk was born out of wedlock in 1761, to a noble family in Naepo, Chungcheong-do. Ever since her childhood she was remarkably wise and honest, and avoided any kind of wrong doing. Philip Hong Pil-ju who was martyred in 1801 was her step-son.
When she grew up, she became the second wife of Hong Ji-yeong, who lived in the Deoksan region. Soon after their marriage, she heard about the Catholic religion and became interested in it. She obtained some Catholic books which she read and came to realize the greatness of the Catholic faith. She believed that `God is the Master of heaven and earth, and what the name of this religion signifies is right, therefore, its doctrine must be true.`
Thereafter, Columba Kang believed her religion with passion and practiced self-denial. Such a life was sufficient to win her the admiration of many people. At the risk of putting herself in great danger, she took care of Catholics in prison during the Sinhae Persecution of 1791. While doing this work she herself was imprisoned once. She taught the catechism to her mother-in-law and her step-son, Philip Hong and introduced them to the Church. Despite all her efforts, she failed to convert her husband who mistreated her because of her faith. He finally left her and lived with a concubine.
One day, Columba Kang came to know that Catholics in Seoul were well versed in the catechism. After having consulted with her mother-in-law and her step-son Philip Hong, she moved to Seoul. She contacted the believers in Seoul and associated with them. When the Korean Catholics started a movement to invite priests, she provided financial support to those who were engaged in it.
Columba Kang was baptized by Father James Zhou Wen-mo who came to Korea at the end of 1794 and committed herself to helping his apostolate. Father James Zhou, on recognizing the high quality and sincerity of Columba Kang, appointed her as catechist, to take care of the believers.
Then, when the Eulmyo Persecution broke out in 1795, Columba Kang offered her house to Father James Zhou as a refuge. Her house was relatively safe because the social custom of Korean society, at that time, banned investigation of a house of the noble class, whose landlord was a woman. After that Columba Kang often moved for the safety of Father James Zhou. Everywhere she moved, her house served as a place of gathering for the faithful. It was at Columba Kang`s house that Agatha Yun Jeom-hye led the community of women virgins.
Columba Kang was able to influence many people and introduce them to the Church because she combined knowledge with wisdom and quick wit. Among them were people from different classes of society including noble women, widows, servants and maids. It was thanks to Columba Kang that Mary Song and her daughter-in-law Mary Sin, relatives of the royal family, received the Sacrament of Baptism from Father James Zhou. For such apostolic activities of Columba Kang the believers unanimously said, "Kang Wan-suk advised people with such wisdom and grace that even many devout male believers were inspired. It was like when one strikes the gong, sound follows."
When the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801, Columba Kang was immediately reported to the government office for her religious activities. Consequently, she was arrested in her house on April 6 (February 24, by the Lunar calendar) with the other believers who were there and was taken to the Police Headquarters in Seoul. Even in such a time of crisis Columba Kang was concerned about the safety of Father James Zhou.
To find out the whereabouts of Father James Zhou they tortured Columba Kang six times, but it was in vain. Her faith in God was so firm that even the executioners were moved and they exclaimed; "This woman is not a human being, but a god." During the three months she was imprisoned, Columba Kang never neglected her religious duties, and prepared herself for martyrdom by encouraging her companions in prison to be faithful to their belief and trust in God.
Columba Kang was condemned to death on July 2, 1801 (May 22, by the Lunar calendar). She was beheaded outside the Small West Gate in Seoul with her fellow believers and died a martyr. Columba Kang was 40 years old.
The Justice Ministry charged her with the following crimes:
"Kang Wan-suk was imbued with the Catholic religion and propagated it widely. She hid Father James Zhou for six years, and invited men and women of all classes to her house and instructed them in Catholicism."
In response, Columba Kang made her final statement as follows:
"I have learned about Catholicism, and it is my belief that `I shall go to the world of bliss (i.e., paradise) if I give my life for God, willingly.` Therefore, I do not have the slightest intention of changing my mind and betraying the teaching of the faith even if I have to die."
Saturday, April 17, 2010
» 03/24/2010 21:08
Rawalpindi, Christian burned alive is buried. Police suspected of setting him on fire
by Fareed Khan
Arshed Masih's funeral was held today amid tight security. The silence of the Pakistani media and government on the matter. AsiaNews sources denounce the attempt at misdirection and reveal the last words of the victim: "The police set me on fire" following the instructions of the Muslim employer. In the past his wife repeatedly raped by officers.
Rawalpindi (AsiaNews) - the funeral of Arshed Masih, a 38 year-old Pakistani Christian, burned alive because he refused to convert to Islam was held today in Rawalpindi, under tight security. Hundreds of people attended the funeral, including members of civil society and NGO representatives. So far the police have arrested none of the alleged perpetrators and neither have steps been taken by the Federal Government or Ministry of minority groups. Meanwhile, more details have emerged on the crime: a well-informed source has told AsiaNews that police officers were the ones to set fire to the man, on the "instructions" of Arshed Masih.
The 38 year-old Pakistani Christian, married and father of three children, aged7 to 12, died on 22 March following the serious injuries sustained during the assault. He suffered burns on 80% of his body excluding any possibility of salvation. The violence of his assailants was sparked by the man’s refusal to convert to Islam.
Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP), confirmed to AsiaNews, his "strongest condemnation of this act brutal" and underlined that "a team has reached Rawalpindi and launched a parallel investigation into the facts”. He adds that "soon will we release a report, after proper verification of all elements”. The activist denounces, with regret, the silence of the Pakistani media about the incident and the lack of initiatives from the federal government and the Ministry of minority groups.
Meanwhile, rumours have begun circulating that Arshed Masih set fire to himself to protest against repeated violence and torture of his wife Martha Arshed, by police. The abuse allegedly took place in the police station, where the woman was summoned several times by officers after a complaint of theft by Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, the employer of the Christian couple. In the house of wealthy Muslim businessman cash for a value of 500 thousand rupees (about 6 thousand dollars) has disappeared.
Christian sources for AsiaNews in Pakistan deny this version, noting that some "elements" are casting doubt on the sexual violence and overturning the facts "to exonerate the employer and the police." An eyewitness, present in the hospital when Arshed Masih - still conscious - recounted the events to the investigators, says that "it was the police to set fire" to the man. The victim also added that "the police carried out the instructions of Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, at the scene along with other extremists."
Since 2005 Arshed Masih and his wife had worked and lived on the estate of the late Sheikh Mohammad Sultan. The pressure on them to renounce Christianity had lately become incessant. The owner had come so far as to threaten "dire consequences", to persuade them to embrace Islam. The couple were also accused of a recent theft by the owner who has promised to drop the complaint for their conversion.
BosNewsLife.com reports that the Muslim businessman has declined to comment on the crime. However some eyewitnesses have seen him near the place where the accident occurred, but it is unclear whether he actively participated in the attack. Their children - adds the site - are sleeping in the hospital because they are homeless. The mother is still in shock and is unable to speak.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
On August 15, 2002 three armed assailants entered the Sacred Heart of Jesus Monastery in Baghdad Iraq and found a solitary Assyrian nun preparing to quietly retire to her room. Seventy-one year old Sister Cecilia Moshi Hanna was brutally attacked by the dagger wielding assailants and repeatedly stabbed to death. Sr. Cecilia’s neck was slit and her head severed from her body.
According to an August 24 press release by an Iraqi-based women’s organization, the Assyrian Women’s Union, Sr. Cecilia had belonged to the Order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and had devoted her life to ministering to the poor and ill. Earlier on the evening of the attack, Sr. Cecilia had been at her family home in Baghdad until 9 p.m. Sr. Cecilia’s family had suggested that she stay at the family home rather than venture out into the night. However, Sr. Cecilia insisted on returning to the convent so as not to leave it unattended. Ordinarily, three nuns would have resided in the convent, but on that night none of the others were present.
It is widely believed that the three assailants had broken into the convent with the intention of murdering all three nuns normally living there. When only Sr. Cecilia was found, all three attackers apparently turned their assault upon the defenseless seventy-one year old woman. Sr. Cecilia succumbed to the flurry of knife stabbings, alone, in her room. On the following day, normally a special day of retreat for nuns throughout Iraq, Sr. Cecilia’s fellow nuns gathered for their annual event. Noting Sr. Cecilia’s atypical absence, the nuns searched only to discover Sr. Cecilia’s blood soaked and beheaded corpse lying in her room.
The very nature of the slitting and beheading is believed to be a prototypical signature of Islamic extremist putting of “infidels” to the sword. By killing Sr. Cecilia the day before a nationwide Christian spiritual retreat, the killers apparently hoped to maximally terrorize and horrify the Iraqi Christian community.
The murder of Sr. Cecilia is only the most recent in a series of Islamist attacks against Assyrian Christian civilians1, places of worship, and clergy. In the northern UN “Safe Haven,” attacks against Assyrian Christian villages (AINA, 10-16-1999), leaders (AINA, 02-19-2001, 08-19-1997) as well as Christmas-time bombings of convents (AINA, 12-25-1999) have been previously reported. In the government controlled area, widespread harassment of Christians as a backlash against US military threats against Iraq has been reported by visitors from the region. Assyrian Christians are often conveniently associated with their co-religionists in the West as enemies of Iraq. The Iraqi government has done nothing to quell the rising anti-Christian sentiment in Iraq. In fact, some have suggested complicity in fomenting Islamic fury by the regime as evidenced by the stricter enforcement of regulations on Christian religious institutions as well as the recent banning of certain Christian names.
Suspicion has been growing on Iraqi complicity in Sr. Cecilia’s murder as well since no official outcry or condemnation has been seen from the government, even following an unusually strongly worded letter by the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Raphael BeDaweed I, wherein he stated “I condemn strongly this criminal and inhumane act on one of our Chaldean nuns in Baghdad, and demand from the officials to work seriously in tracking down and punishing those criminal thugs…”. The government reportedly has one assailant in custody, but has made no further investigation or public statement of support for the Assyrian Christian community. One observer noted that the government’s motivation may have been to warn the West of the threat facing Christians in Iraq by Islamists in the event war was perpetrated upon Iraq. Referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the same observer also noted, though, that “such scheming would only be sensical in the insanely convoluted musings of a madman.”
Sr. Cecilia’s own family history is concurrently a testament of a family’s sacrifice and hardship as well as a metaphor for the Assyrian community’s grim history of persecution and displacement within Iraq and the region as a whole. Sr. Cecilia was born in Aradin in the historically Assyrian heartland of northern Iraq. During the Kurdish tribal insurrection of the 1960’s, Aradin as well as dozens of Assyrian villages caught in the crossfire between Iraqi governmental and Kurdish rebel gunfire were severely devastated. Sr. Cecilia’s family as well as thousands of others were forced to move to Mosul (ancient Nineveh). The family later moved to Baghdad where Sr. Cecilia continued to serve the Chaldean Church community.
The tragic irony in the murder of Sr. Cecilia remains, though, her service to the Christian communities in the parishes of St. Shmooni and St. Sultamahdukh in Iraq. St. Shmooni along with her seven children and St. Sultamahdukh were themselves martyrs of the Church of the East. Cecilia sadly continues in the seemingly endless line of holy woman martyrs in the Church of the East. The martyred and beloved Sr. Cecilia will herself likewise be remembered for her tireless and unending dedication to the service of all humanity in the name of Jesus Christ.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Blessed Phila Agnese, Lucia Khambang and 4 companions
Protomartyrs of Thailand
m. Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Roman Martyrology: In the village of Song-Khon in Thailand, Blessed Martyrs Phila Agnese and Lucia Khambang, virgin of the Sisters Lovers of the Cross, and Agata Phutta, Cecilia Butsi, and Maria Viviana Hampai Phon, shot in the local cemetery because they refused to deny their Christian faith.
Christianity was introduced to Thailand in 1881 and in 1940 the Catholic faithful were already seven hundred. In the four years following, the French missionaries were forced to leave the country during the grip of war between Thailand and French Indochina. As is usual in such circumstances, national unity was regarded as a priority and instead “downgraded” danger to religious pluralism.
Songkhon The village, located on the shores of the Great Mekong River border with Laos, was the scene in 1940 of the glorious martyrdom of seven indigenous Christians: Filippo Siphong Onphitak, Phila Agnese, Lucia Khambang, Agata Phutta, Cecilia Buts, Bibiana Khamphai and Mary Phon.
religious Agnese Phila
Ban nahi (Thailand), 1909 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Agnese Phila (in the Margaret) was born in 1909 in the village of Ban pay nahi, daughter of Joachim and Anna Thit Son Chum. The family then emigrated in the Christian village of Viengkhuk, where the Blessed received the baptism in 1924. Her godmother was the aunt of the famous Sister Lucia of Fatima. On December 7 she made her entry into the Congregation of the Lovers of the Cross at Siengvang in Laos. Two years after the Nov. 26 entry, her postulancy began Nov. 10 and in 1927 she entered the order with the name of Agnes the novitiate, which culminated with the occupation on November 16, 1928. In 1932 he was sent as a teacher at the school in Songkhon, where she was killed on December 26, 1940.
religious Lucia Khambang
Viengkhuk (Thailand), Jan 22, 1917 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Lucia was born in the Khambang Christian village of Viengkhuk Jan 22, 1917, daughter of James and Mary Mag Dam Li. She was christened on March 10, while on June 4, 1925, when she was only eight years old, she received the sacrament of Confirmation and received for the first time the Holy Communion. On September 3, 1931 she entered the Congregation of the Lovers of the Cross. A postulant for three years, she began the novitiate on October 8, 1935 that lasted two years. Issued her profession to Siengvang in Laos on October 15, 1937. At the beginning of 1940 she was sent as a teacher Songkhon, where she was killed on December 26, 1940 at just twenty-years old.
Agata Phutta secular
Bi Keng Ban Pho (Thailand), 1881 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Agata Phutta was born in the village of Bi Keng Ban Pho in 1881 from a pagan family. Only daughter, she converted to Christianity at thirty and was baptized and confirmed on March 3, 1918 in Siengvang. Being unmarried, she decided to serve in the kitchens of missions Songkhon, Mong Seng, Pkasè and again Songkhon, where she lived when she was also killed on December 26, 1940 at fifty-nine years of age.
Cecelia Butsi girl lay
Songkhon (Thailand), Dec 16, 1924 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Cecilia Buts, daughter of Amato and Sinuen Thep Agata, was born at Songkhon December 16, 1924 and was christened after only two days. Officer to the kitchen of the mission, hers was a joyful and courageous character. The first day of martyrdom, during a meeting before the church, she declared herself Christian despite the death threats suffered by the police. She was then killed on December 26, 1940, at just sixteen.
Bibiana Khamphai girl lay
Songkhon (Thailand), Nov 4, 1925 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Bibiana Khamphai was born in Songkhon November 4, 1925, daughter of Benedict and Lon Monica Di. She was baptized and confirmed less than two months after Dec. 28. A teenager with irreproachable conduct, good Christian, assiduous about the sacraments, attended the mission Songkhon, was also killed on December 26, 1940, at just fifteen years of age.
Maria Phon girl lay
Songkhon (Thailand), Jan 6, 1925 – Songkhon (Thailand), December 26, 1940
Maria was born in Phon Songkhon on January 6, 1926 to parents John the Baptist and Catherine Tan Pha. Just six days after birth was already baptized and confirmed. She lived with an aunt named Mary and attended the local mission. Particularly diligent in the Eucharist and other sacraments, was also killed on December 26, 1940, not yet fifteen.
But even hours dwell on all the events that led these women to spread Christian Thai their blood for Christ. The evening after the killing of the catechist Philip Siphong Onphitak the news is sparse at Songkhon, causing great sadness. The soldiers, hoping to convert the faithful, but had not calculated the presence of both religious Agnes Phila and Lucia Khambang, who realized that soon would come the time to give them the very witness of their faith.
Lu tried by every means to persuade the nuns to abandon their religion, but failed several attempts on the evening of Christmas summoned the entire village before the church, to communicate that he had received the order to destroy the Christian religion at the cost of killing faithful. During the night the sisters then wrote a letter to Lu arguing they were ready to die rather than deny Christ. Lu later returned to in the early afternoon asking: “So, your God, abandoned, yes or no?”. They argue: “No, not ever leave.” Lu invited the then descend to the river, but Sister Lucia and Sister Agnes, understanding his intention, preferred to be shot in the cemetery. Here, kneeling against a tree trunk, they were executed with young Cecilia, Bibiana and Mary. They were then buried in Songkhon.
The beatification of these seven Thai martyrs, was celebrated in Rome by Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1989 following the recognition of their heroic martyrdom which took place on September 1, 1988.
Author: Fabio Arduino
SOURCE: Santi e Beati
Friday, April 2, 2010
"Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (October 4, 1922 – April 28, 1962) was an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother who is best known for refusing both an abortion and a hysterectomy when she was pregnant with her fourth child, despite knowing that continuing with the pregnancy could result in her death. She was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church in 2004."
Mother and Martyr, who laid down her life for Christ when faced with the Choice of aborting her Child to save her own life, she refused, and when she gave birth to her child she passed away into paradise a week later.
St.Gianna Beretta Molla is one of the Many Saints and Martyrs within the Catholic Church who understood the true meaning of Christs words and received them well When he said ''Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'' ( John:15:13 )
By her Giving up her life for Christ and his little ones, St.Gianna really did live the true meaning of a womans role within the Church and Sacrament of Matrimony, one of which was to nurture and ( by the Grace of God ) give life, not take it.