Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was born around the year 1600 in Binondo, Manila in the Philippines. He was the son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Both were Christians and took care to raise Lorenzo as a Catholic. He served happily in his parish church as an altar boy and calligrapher.

As a young man, Lorenzo joined the Dominican Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

Later, he married a woman named Rosario. The happy couple had three children, two sons and one daughter. By all accounts, the family was ordinary and happy.

In 1636, Lorenzo was accused of murder. Allegedly he killed a Spaniard. However, to protect his safety at the time, he fled home and found refuge on board a ship with three Dominican priests and a leper. There are no details of this alleged crime other than a journal entry by two Dominican priests, that he joined their
group to escape possible arrest. The ship departed the Philippines on June 10, 1636, bound for Okinawa.

A shock awaited the holy passengers when they arrived in Japan. At the time of their arrival, the rulers of Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate, were persecuting Christians. Prior to this persecution, the Christian population of Japan was thought to number 50,000 souls.

Now Lorenzo was arrested by Japanese officials for the crime of being a Christian and ordered to recant his faith. When he refused he was imprisoned for two years. On September 27, 1637, Lorenzo and his companions were taken to Nagasaki to be tortured and killed if they would not recant their faith.

Lorenzo and his companions were tortured by water, which was forced into their mouths and down their throats and out their noses and ears. Despite the painful torture, the men refused to do so.

Learn more on St. Lorenzo Ruiz: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=231

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