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the time when a new persecution of the Christians was
in contemplation by the government. The number of
converts made by Sanz and his companions was alto-
gether extraordinary, and the rage of the Chinese
magistrates was the more excited from the circumstance
of many of the highest rank being among their disciples.
But what gave a singular and striking character to the
apostolic labours of the bishop of Mauricastro, was his
success in winning the Chinese not merely to embrace
the Christian faith, but to aim at the highest grades of
perfection. The number of Christian virgins desirous of
consecrating themselves by vow to God was so great, as
to recall the days of the primitive Church, and Sanz
knew no better way of meeting their wishes, and giving
a lasting character to the religious feeling which had
been excited among them, than by the establishment of
the third branch of his own order, whose habit was
accordingly received by a very considerable number of the
new converts.

A very extraordinary revival of fervour followed on



366 ?HE DOMINICAN ORDER.

this step, but the Christians were not long left in
tranquillity. In the month of June, 1746, the bishop
and his four companions were seized and carried before
the tribunals, whilst at the same time eleven holy women
of the third order, suspected of having assisted and con-
cealed the missionaries, were likewise arrested. The
Chinese seem on this occasion to have lost the timidity
which so ' generally distinguishes them. They evinced
their fidelity to their pastors by signs of the most
extraordinary attachment. They followed them on the
road to Focheu, the capital of the province, kissing their
chains and habits, and refusing to be driven away.
"These Christians," said one of the governors, "honour
the Europeans as though they were gods, or their own
fathers." At Focheu they were examined under the
torture. The courageous answers of the Christian
virgins were worthy of the saints of the primitive ages ;
five of them, after enduring cruel torments, were sent
back to their own homes ; the rest were condemned to
the cangue, and other punishments, but their lives were
spared. As to the bishop, he was adjudged worthy of
death, " for perverting the souls of men ; " and after
being tormented in the most barbarous manner, beaten,
and torn on the face with iron-pointed gauntlets, the
sentence was carried into execution on the 26th of May,
1747. This glorious martyrdom received additional lustre
from the manner in which it was commemorated by the
supreme pontiff, Benedict XIV., who, in a secret con-
sistory held in the September of the following year,
pronounced a magnificent allocution on the death of
Peter Sanz. By many he was regarded as the proto-
martyr of China, but the Pope corrects this error,
adjudging that honour to belong to another of his
order who had suffered in the previous century, F. Francis
de Capillas.

The names of the four companions of the bishop
deserve our remembrance; they were Francis Serrano,
Joachim Boyo, John Alcober, and Francis Diaz. When
the holy prelate was condemned to death, the same
sentence was pronounced on the other missionaries,



MARTYRS OF CHINA. 367

and cut, in Chinese characters, on their faces. They
were, nevertheless, detained for twenty-eight months in
prison, at the end of which time they were secretly
strangled. During this time the persecution was chiefly
directed against the Chinese Tertiaries, whose number
was very great. We read of one noble confessor of the
faith, himself enrolled in the order, by name Lin Mat-
thias, whose three daughters were all consecrated to God
under the habit of S. Dominic. In vain did the man-
darins call on him to abandon his profession, and give
his daughters in marriage. " I will never renounce the
holy law of God," was his reply, " nor give my daughters
in marriage, who are devoted to serve God in holy vir-
ginity." It is with a singular interest that we follow the
story of these brethren and sisters of the order among
the native Chinese, whose devotion and heroic charity
are the reproduction of the virtues of those whose names
they bore. One admirable woman expired under repeated
torture, and the sisters of the third order at Lienha, where
she died, braved every danger to gather round her bed and
tend her in her last moments. Many of them were driven
into exile ; others were cast into prison and cruelly insulted.
Some seem to have been living together in a kind of
community, for we find a letter from the manderin charged
with the conduct of the persecution, describing his entrance
into a house inhabited by four devout women, named
Ursula, Lucy, Petronille, and Isabella, where he had
seized books, images and rosaries, belonging to their
" perverse law ;" and it is evident that whole families of
the Christian converts of the mart} r red missionaries were
united in the fellowship of the order. The particular fate
of each of these has not been preserved ; but though few
probably actually suffered death, they must in some sort
find a place in our commemoration of the Dominican
martyrs of China.

Even in our own day the order has given its blood to
the same ungrateful soil. The whole province of eastern
Tong-King may be considered as a Dominican mission ;
and it was there that in 1838, Ignatius Delgado,
who had laboured as vicar-apostolic of the province for



368 THE DOMINICAN ORDER.

forty years, expired in prison from the effect of his suffer-
ings ; while his companion and coadjutor, Dominic
Henarez, with several religious of the order, was beheaded
a few days later. Seven members of the third order
likewise gave their blood for Christ at the same time*
One of these, Joseph Cank, an old man of seventy, insisted
on going to the place of execution clothed in the white
habit of his order. Five others were only novices, and not
being able to receive the missionary of the district in their
prison, they sent him their profession in a letter ; this was
in the August of 1839. Our readers will peruse the
simple expression of their fervour and faith with no com-
mon interest. " We are, all five, novices of the third
order," they write, "and we can observe the fasts pre-
scribed by our rule on most days, but not always. "We,
therefore, beg the father to extend some indulgence to
us, and to pardon his children. Moreover, we entreat to
be allowed to make our profession according to the
said rule of the third order ; and we conjure the father
to admit and receive our professions, here written, as
if we made it in his hands. Therefore, to the honour
of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we, Fran-
cis Xavier, Dominic, Thomas, Agustin, and Stephen, in
your presence, Reverend Father Juan, in the place of the
Most Reverend Master-General of the order of Friars
Preachers, and of the third order of Penance of S. Domi-
nic, make profession, and promise to live acccording to the
rule and constitutions of the third order of S. Dominic,
even until death."

" Is it not a touching spectacle," says Pere Jandel,
the present general of the order, in his preface to the rule
of the Tertiaries, " to see five young men, subjected for
more than a year to all the horrors of a cruel captivity,
accusing themselves and begging pardon for not always
observing the fasts and abstinences of their rule with
sufficient exactitude." A great number of infidels im-
prisoned with these generous confessors of the faith
were instructed and baptized by them, and afterwards
shared their martyrdom, which took place at length
eighteeen months after their first arrest. They were all



ITS SAINTS. 369

strangled, invoking the name of Jesus, on the 19th of
December, 1839. These seven Tertiaries were declared
venerable by Gregory XVI., who, imitating the example
of Benedict XIV., pronounced the eulogy of all the
martyrs of the persecution, in a secret consistory held in
February, 1840. He gave his approval to the introduc-
tion of their process of beatification and canonization in
the June following, confirmed by a later decree in 1843 ;
so that it is probable that at some future day the order
will be enabled to venerate those heroic martyrs with the
highest honours of the Church

Our task is well-nigh ended. Not, indeed, that we
pretend to have offered in these hurried and imperfect
notices anything like a complete sketch of the Dominican
order — hardly even so much as to have indicated the
direction in which it? most illustrious men are apt to be
found. Least of all have we in the foregoing pages
given any idea of that which constitutes the true great-
ness of an order, namely, the calendar of its saints.
Yet even this is scarcely to be taken as the fair measure of
its sanctity. " Count the stars if thou art able," was
the reply given by one of the Roman pontiffs to a person
who asked him the number of the Dominican saints.
They include a vast variety; men and women of all
ranks and all countries, and all phases and developments
of holiness, high and low, active and contemplative; yet
all with the generic Dominican character of heroic zeal
for souls

Twelve, besides the great patriarch himself, have re-
ceived canonization; namely, S. Hyacinth, S. Raymond
Pennafort, S. Peter Martyr, S. Thomas Aquinas, S. Vin-
cent Ferrer, S. Antoninus, S. Louis Bertrand, S. Pius V.,
S. Catherine of Siena, S. Agnes of Monte Pulciano S.
Catherine Ricci, and S. Rose of Lima. Sixty-six have
received the inferior order of beatification, twenty of
whom are women. Three of the canonized female saints
are elaimed by the third order, with seventeen of those
beatified ; whilst among the men, B. Martin Porres, and
B. Albert of Bergamo, were also Tertiaries. The rest
2 B



370 THE DOMINICAN ORDER.

belong to the two first branches of the order. But it
would be an error to suppose that this includes all those
whose sanctity is acknowledged by the popular prefix of
" Blessed." In fact, scarcely a year now passes without
adding to the list; and the newly beatified saints are
mostly those of the earlier centuries, who have long
been known and revered as such in the chronicles of
their order.

A.nd the order is not yet obsolete ; involved as it was
in the general decay which affected all religious institu-
tions during the last century, we have even in our own
day seen it revive with redoubled vigour. France, once
the nursery of infidelity, but, as it would seem, destined
also in God's Providence to be the nursery of Catholic
regeneration, gives her best blood to the ranks of the
Friars Preachers,* whose restoration in all the purity of
their primitive discipline is going on side by side with
the advance -of the Catholic Church. Everywhere the
white scapular of S. Dominic is reappearing ; Italy,
France, Belgium, America, and England, are all witness-
ing the second spring of this obstinate family which
follows the fortunes of the Church, and, like her, will not
die, Those who watch the times predict for the Church
a coming era of unusual greatness; nor can we doubt
that if it be so, the order of Friars Preachers will once
more have a prominent part to play. We would not,
however, be misunderstood; nor in using the words
revival and restoration, would we point to any fanciful
bringing back of manners and modes of feeling impossible
perhaps in our day. But if we have shown anything by
the glance over the history of the Friars Preachers which
has occupied these pages, it is that they are emphatically
the men of their age, and are ever ready to minister to its



* Not to speak of the influx of French subjects into the religious
houses of the order, and of the illustrious living members of the
Institute which is carrying on its reform under the government of a
Frenchman, the popularity of the Dominicans in France is evinced
by the fact that the third order, revived by P. Lacordaire, reckoned
already upwards of 2,000 members within five year3 from its
re-establishment.



371 CONCLUSION.

needs, not by an idealism of the past, but by a vigorous
adaptation of their vast resources to the necessities of the
present day.

In what way the eternal counsels of God may direct the
freshly-waking energies of the Church in the next genera-
tion, time alone can show ; but if the glories of the Friars
Preachers are indeed to have that great revival in the
latter times long since prophesied by S. Teresa, we know
that they will be developed, as of old, in a loyal adhesion to
her living principles j .-. and that wheresoever and howsoever
the Church may pursue her heavenly calling, there will
the order of S. Dominic be found labouring in her
foremost ranks.



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THE MOST SPLENDID AND USEFUL WOBBI EVEE ISSUED FEOM
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BECOMMEKDATIOlSrS



or



THE GENERAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCH.



Letter from His Holiness Pope Pius IX. to the author of
" The General History of the Church."



Dileoto filio presbytero J. E.
Dabbas, Lutetiam Parisio-

rum

PIUS P. P. IX.

Dilecte Fili, Salutem et
Apostolicam Benedictionem :

Litteraa Tuaa XIII. Kalendas
Aprilis proximi ad nos datse,
quibus exemplar offerre nobis
voluisti operis de historia Ec-
clesise generali, fuerunt nobis
ipsis quam gratissimoa. Sig-
nificas enim id Tibi ftfisse con-
silii, quod virum certe decet
germanae doctrinaa studio ao
singularis erga Nos ipsos se-
demque Apostolicam devo-
tionis et observantise laude
prsestantem. Si, ut confidi-
mus, consilio ipsi opus quod
adhuc legere Nos non potui-
mus, exacte respondeat, magno
illud usui erit istic futurum
addetque omnibus stimulos ad
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corum studiorum partem poe-
nitius internoscendam. Meri-
tas pro oblato ipso operis
munere cum Tibi, Dilecte Fili,
persolvimus gratias, omnipo-
tentem Dominum suppliciter



To our beloved Son, J. E.



PIUS P. P. IX.

Beloved Son, health and the
Apostolic Benediction :

Your letter of the twentieth
of March, accompanied by a
copy of your General History
of the Church, was most grate-
ful to us. The plan of your
work testifies your zeal for
sound doctrine and your sin-
gular and praiseworthy devo-
tion toward us and the Apos
tolic See. If, as we trust, the
work (which we ourselves
have not as yet been able to
read) fulfills the design pro-
posed, it will be of the greatest
use, and will tend to stimulate
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most important branch of Ec-
clesiastical Science. We give
you, therefore, beloved son,
merited thanks for your offer-
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exoramus, ut sua in te mu- add the Apostolic Benediction,

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adjungimus Apostolicam Be- lovingly impart to you.
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mur.

Datum Romae apud S. Petrum, Given at St. Peter's, Rome,

die 8 augusti, anni 1855, the 8th of August, in the

Pontificatus Nostri anno X. year of our Lord 1855, and

the tenth of our Pontificate.



Pius P. P. IX.



Pius P. P. IX.



From the Most Rev. John- McCloskey, D. D., Archbishop of
New York.

Deak Sir : — I am very glad to learn that you are about
publishing an English version of the excellent Ecclesiastical
History of the Abbe Darras. The auspices under which the
translation is made, will, I am confident, secure for it both
elegance and fidelity. I trust that your laudable enterprise
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Very truly, your friend and servant in Christ,

t John, Archbishop of New York.
P. O'Shea, Esq.

New York, Dec. 12, 1864.



From the Most Rev. M. J. Spalding, D. D., Archbishop of

Baltimore.
Mr. P. O'Shea:

The conviction grows upon me, that the History of Darras,
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meet a want which has been so long felt in this country — that
of a good Church History, neither too lengthy nor too compen-
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The rbur volumes which you are publishing contain a rich
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This Church History will also be found very opportune and
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I wish you every success in your praiseworthy undertaking,



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and hope you will receive sufficient patronage to defray all
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t M. J. Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore.
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From the Most Rev. J. B. Puroell, D. D., Archbishop of
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Cincinnati, Nov. 15, 1864.
Mr. P. O'Shea :

Dear Sir: — Permit me to take this occasion, in answering
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t J. B. Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati.



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From Monseignette Debelay, Archbishop of Avignon.

We have caused the work to be examined by a competent
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t J. M. M., Archbishop of Avignon.



From Monseigneub Oasanelli D'Ibteia, Bishop of Ajaccio.

I received your first two volumes in Home, and after having
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t X. T. Raphael, Bishop of Ajaccio,



From Monseignette De Segue, Auditor of the Tribunal of the
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8 BOOKS PUBLISHED BY P. o'SHEA.

each according to his measure, to increase the ranks of God's
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Online LibraryR. S AlemanyThe life of St. Dominic and a sketch of the Dominican Order → online text (page 34 of 37)