Mary Jagera, a Japanese Noble Lady, and Eighteen Children, Japanese Martyrs

July 23, 2020

Preaching Catholicism in Japan. Photo by そらみみ.

During the month of September of the year 1623 many of the faithful were immolated at Jedo. On the 4th of the same month fifty of them perished by fire. On the 29th there were twenty-four who were burnt, decapitated or crucified. Among them was a woman named Mary Jagera, who had given shelter to a religious missionary. The governor having tried in vain all that he could to pervert her, ended by condemning her to the stake with four other women of high rank. On the day of the execution Mary was tied to a horse in order to be carried to the place of torture; she proceeded thither with a smiling countenance, accompanied by those who were to die with her. But what drew tears from the eyes of all was the spectacle of eighteen little children who were led to execution at the same time. They were so innocent that they indulged in play the whole length of the journey. One cannot read without horror the cruelties that were inflicted on these tender lambs. Some of them had their heads cut off, others had their bodies cut open as far as the throat; there were some who were divided in two; several were taken by the feet and cut in pieces. During this frightful butchery the five women continued in prayer, then the funeral pile was lit, and the saintly heroines were consumed by a slow fire.

Rev. Eugene Grimm, ed. Victories of the Martyrs, vol. 9, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1888), 383.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 736


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