Born: Nov. 28th, 1594
Died: Sept. 29th, 1637
FEast: Sept. 28th
The Philippines, immigrants, separated families, calligraphers
St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Born to Christian parents in the Phillipines, Lorenzo was raised in the Church with Spanish Dominican missionaries and he happily served frequently as an altar boy. He joined a Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary and learned how to be a successful calligrapher. Lorenzo also married and soon had three children and a very happy life.
All of this changed, however, when Lorenzo was falsely accused of killing a Spanish man in 1636. Though he was working for the Church, he left his job and family behind to seek safety on a ship with three Dominican priests and a Japanese priest and a leper. The ship sailed for Okinawa, Japan. Lorenzo could have stopped in Taiwan until the event was resolved, but believed the Spanish colonizers there would immediately hang him for the crime.
The ship's crew, however, quickly found that Christians were being persecuted and killed in Japan at that time. They were arrested almost immediately, and when they would not recant their faiths, they were all thrown into prison for two years. They were then taken to Nagasaki and tortured brutally. Two of the group did recant their faith, but were encouraged by the others and were tortured again. The eldest of the group died from these tortures, but the others were hanged upside down with gashes in their foreheads until they would recant their faith. Though Lorenzo wavered in his interrogation at one point, he stayed firm in his trials. His last words were reported to be, "I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him I shall offer. Do with me as you please". Lorenzo and another person were killed this way, with his ashes thrown into the sea, and the other three were beheaded after three days.
When Lorenzo and the others were canonized in 1987, he became the first saint from the Philipines.
Never let us forget that our lives can forever be changed in an instant - and possibly due to something completely out of our control. When this happens, be with us as we determine our values and our character, and strengthen us as we try to stick to these morals. Help us to forgive ourselves when we may not be able to do so, but let us always strive anyway.
With a tattoo of one of his famous quotes as a nod to his work as a calligrapher, Lorenzo also holds tools of that trade in his pocket. He is often shown with a rosary, which is depicted here as well. He has a symbol of the sun from the flag of the Philippines on his shirt, and the colors shown are representative of the ocean-based parts of his story. His expression is one of defiance and pain, but confidence as he was tortured and killed.