The feast day of St. Paul Miki & Companions is celebrated on Feb. 6. Paul Miki’s family converted to the Catholic faith when he was five years old. He was educated by the Jesuits, joining their order when he was 22.
St. Paul Miki helped to educate the Buddhists about Christianity. St. Francis Xavier led a group of Jesuit missionaries into Japan during the 16 century. Over 200, 000 Japanese natives converted to the faith. Religious persecution began as a result. Many churches were destroyed forcing secrecy. In spite of the persecution 100,000 more converted to Christianity.
In 1593 Franciscan missionaries joined the Jesuits in their missionary work. During this tense time, a Spanish ship was seized off the Japanese coast and found to have artillery on it. The imperial minister Toyotomi Hideyoshi responded by sentencing 26 Catholics to death. Six were foreign Franciscans, several were lay Catholics and several were children. The most well known missionaries were associated with the Jesuits; Paul Miki, who was studying to be a priest, John of Goto, a catechist preparing to enter the Jesuits and James Kesai who was a lay Jesuit brother. They were sentenced to die by crucifixion and lancing after being marched 600 miles to the city of Nagasaki.
Pope Pius IV canonized the Martyrs of Nagasaki in 1862.
After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow man as a fruitful rain.
Quote of St. Paul Miki before he died in 1597.
February is the Month of the Passion of the Lord