Francis Sintaro, a Young Japanese Lord, Is Martyred for the Faith

September 10, 2020

The princes who were the least hostile to the Christians, to please the emperor did not cease to go in search of them and to persecute them. At Firoxima, a young lord called Francis Sintaro having learned that during his absence the guardian of the house had declared to the officers of justice that it harbored no Christian, hastened to write to the governor that the guardian had imposed on them, because he was a Christian and was resolved to remain such till death. This letter gave great pain to the governor, who very much regretted having to lose so distinguished an officer. He therefore engaged all the relatives and friends of Sintaro to unite their efforts in inducing him to deny the faith. They did all that they could for this purpose, but they gained nothing. The principal personages of the court wrote to him to make him on behalf of the emperor the most brilliant offers; but when he perceived what they were aiming at, he threw their letters into the fire. The courier having remarked to him that those lords would feel themselves insulted if they heard what he had done, he said: “My friend, you are a courier, and not a counselor; your duty is to bring the letters, not to give advice. You have done your duty; all you have now to do is to depart.”

Kyoto, Japan

A short time after there presented themselves four officers, who had been sent by the governor to ask whether he was willing to embrace the religion of the prince. He answered that he desired to follow till death the religion of Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and earth. After this declaration, the governor ordered three other officers to put him to death if he persisted in his resolution, and would not yield. The latter having arrived at his house communicated to him the grief that the governor felt at seeing himself obliged to treat him rigorously according to the law, and represented to him the ruin of his whole family which his obstinacy would cause. Francis, full of intrepidity, answered: “The governor may order what he pleases: I am ready to obey him in all that is not contrary to the law of God; but it is unreasonable for him to demand of me that I should disobey the Sovereign of kings, who forbids me to adore any other god except him.” The officers replied: “If you refuse to do what you are asked, you must make up your mind to die.” “I am resolved to die,” he replied; “and I assure you that you could not have brought me more welcome news.” They then said to him: “Since you are tired of living, die at least like a man of honor. Slit open your body, as people of your rank are accustomed to do.” To this the Christian nobleman rejoined: “I would do so if the law of God permitted me, but it forbids me to take away my life. You have the sword in your hands; you may kill me, if you wish. I shall look upon him as my father who inflicts death upon me, because he will furnish me with a better life than that which he takes from me.”

Various Martyrs of Japan with their heads being put on display.

Having said this, he asked their permission to go to bid farewell to his mother; and on reaching her apartments he spoke thus to her: “My mother, the hour for which I have so much longed, and which I have asked of God to grant me, has at last come; I am going to die. Forgive me all the displeasure that I have caused you, and give me your blessing.” Then he knelt down to receive this last favor. His mother tenderly embraced him, and said: “My dear son, may the Lord bless you, and give you the strength to die a holy death. It greatly afflicts me to lose you; but I console myself in thinking that you are dying for Jesus Christ. May he be always praised for the grace that he is granting you!” He also took leave of his young wife, and returned to the place where he was to be executed. Whilst entering he saluted the officers, prostrated himself, and, after having prayed, he presented his head, which one of the officers cut off immediately. Francis Sintaro died in this manner, February 16, 1624, in the flower of his age, being only twenty-four years old.

 

Rev. Eugene Grimm, ed. Victories of the Martyrs, vol. 9, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1888), 384–6.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 743

 

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