On this day: the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan

ChristianMartyrsOfNagasakiThe Christian martyrs of Nagasaki. 16-17th-century Japanese painting. Japan Art

The Christian Martyrs Of Nagasaki (painted 16th-17th century).

On the 5th of February, 1597, a group of Catholics were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki, Japan.

The victims were four Spaniards, one Mexican, one Indian (all Franciscan missionaries), three Japanese Jesuits, and seventeen Japanese members of the Third Order of St Francis (including children).

The atrocity was carried out on the orders of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Generations later it was discovered that Japan had a community of underground “hidden Catholics” who had not been discouraged by the persecution.

UrakamiTenshudoJan1946Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church in Nagasaki) destroyed by the atomic bomb, the bell of the church having toppled off. 7th January 1946.

The Catholic church of Nagasaki was ground zero when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.

On this day: the death of Pope Pius IX

IX__Piusz_pápaPope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, who reigned from 16 June 1846 to his death in 1878.

Pope Pius IX, head of the Catholic Church, died in the Apostolic Palace in Rome on the 7th of February, 1878.

Pio_IX_04Foto scattata nel 1862 ad Anzio - autore naturalmente deceduto da oltre 100 anni Pope Pius IX 19th Century Catholicism Christian

Photographed in the 1860s

Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in 1792, the Italian port town of Senigallia, Pius IX became the longest-running elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, with a papacy that lasted for over thirty-one years, from the 16th of June, 1846 until his death.

The Pope was beatified on the 3rd of September, 2000.

On this day: a Japanese Church in Ruins

UrakamiTenshudoJan1946Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church in Nagasaki) destroyed by the atomic bomb, the bell of the church having toppled off. 7th January 1946.

One of the many buildings destroyed in the 9th August, 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan was the city’s Catholic church. The Urakami Tenshudo was of historical significance because of the centuries of persecution Japanese Christians faced for practicing their religion.

At Urakami people risked death by torture for following a religion Japanese authorities saw as undermining their power and bringing too much Western influence to the Empire.

Urakami was ground zero for the nuclear attack on the city.

Photographed here on the 7th of January, 1946, the destroyed church is seen to still be a ruin five months after the atomic bombings that forced Japan’s surrender in the Second World War.

On this day: Spinsters Are Wonderful People

On the 10th of May, 1958, the Australian Catholic Truth Society released a pamphlet titled: Spinsters Are Wonderful People: In Praise of Unmarried Women.

Spinsters Are Wonderful People In Praise of Unmarried Women. The Australian Catholic Truth Society. 10th May 1958 Daniel A. Lord, S.J..

It seems this pamphlet may have been produced a number of times, as a version dated 1950 can be read HERE.

An excerpt:

THE CHURCH MAKES A CHANGE

Whatever literature may say about spinsters, and however much history may ignore them – except for outstanding spinsters like Elizabeth of England – the Church’s attitude toward unmarried women has been, from the first, one of reverence. This I came to know when my faith emerged from mere youthful practice to intelligent study and appreciation. Among the Jews a spinster was merely an unfortunate girl not lucky enough to have won a husband for herself. Among the pagans she was usually the slave or bondmaiden, the grudgingly tolerated hanger-on in the house of her parents or her luckier married sisters.

With St. Paul all that was changed. He loved virginity, and he turned to the ministrations and loyalty – as many a parish has done since – of the splendid young and older unmarried women of his time. The legends of St. Paul and St. Tecla – whose name was the Greek word for pearl – are many and beautiful. Phoebe, to whom Paul sends affectionate messages, seems to have been one of the first consecrated Catholic virgins.