“Learn of Me to Sacrifice Your Life Rather Than Abandon Your Faith.”

March 25, 2021

Kokura Castle is a castle in Kitakyushu, Japan. It was built by Hosokawa Tadaoki starting in 1602, with construction completed in 1608. Within walking distance to the city of Jonai, Japan. It was the property of the Ogasawara clan (from Harima) between 1632 and 1860.

Then followed the martyrdom of a valiant nobleman named Leo Xiquigemon; he was from Jonai, a city of the kingdom of Saxuma, and thirty-five years old. Since his baptism he could speak of nothing else but of God, and when his friends urged him to take part in their diversions, he answered that the present life being short he had no time to lose, in order to gain that life which has no end. The lord whose vassal he was, wishing to make him apostatize under the penalty of death, he protested that he was ready to die for his faith. It was in vain that his relatives and friends tried to shake his constancy; he always answered that he could not be unfaithful to God. Finally, the tyrant condemned him to be beheaded, and sent eight soldiers to execute him at his own house. Leo quietly received them and assured them that they need not fear any resistance on his part. He then dressed himself as for a grand feast, and took leave of his wife, who was still a pagan, saying to her: “If you love me, and if you desire to be with me after death, become a Christian, otherwise we shall be separated forever as far apart as heaven is from hell.” He had two sons, one seventeen years old, who was still an idolater, the other only seven, who had been baptized three months before. He said to the first: “My son, if you love your father, follow his example, and you will come to join him at the place where he expects you.” Then to the second he said: “Farewell, my dear child; learn of me to sacrifice your life rather than abandon your faith.” After that he desired to be executed in the public square in order that everyone might know that he died a Christian. Having laid aside his sword and dagger, he took in his hand a rosary and a crucifix, recommended himself to God, and gave a sign to the executioner to discharge his duty. This generous Christian was then beheaded at Sirassa, September 17, 1608.

Rev. Eugene Grimm, ed. Victories of the Martyrs, vol. 9, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1888), 340.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 770

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