Saint of the Day ~ July 10

BLESSED EMMANUEL RUIZ (1804-1860) and COMPANIONS, priests and martyrs

Today, the Church honors eight Franciscan friars and three Maronite laymen who were offered the choice of converting to Islam or suffer death in Damascus, and their choice was to die for Christ rather than deny their faith.

Born of humble parents in Santander, Spain in the year 1804, Emmanuel became a Franciscan priest and served as a missionary in Damascus. This was at a time when anti-Christian riots shook Syria and thousands lost their lives in just a short time.

Thousands of Maronite Christians had already been killed by the Druze (an offshoot sect of Shiite Islam) in Southern Lebanon in the year 1860, and the Druze turned their attention to Damascus where they killed nearly two thousand more.

It was on July 9, 1860, when they had reached the Franciscan convent in Damascus. Father Ruiz, who was the superior, had been sheltering Christians, who lived around the convent, inside the chapel. The Druze threatened him with death if he did not convert immediately.

Father Ruiz refused and they tortured him and the rest of his community, along with three Maronites who, refusing to flee, chose to stand with the other Franciscans and die rather than deny their faith.

Father Emmanuel Ruiz, his brother Franciscans and the three Maronite laymen were beatified in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.

We commemorate their joint feastday on July 10.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, theblackcordelias.wordpress.com and americancatholic.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Several Martyrs)

“All-powerful and Ever-living God, turn our weakness into strength. As You gave Your martyrs Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and companions the courage to suffer death for Christ, give us the courage to live in faithful witness to You.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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