An absolutely stirring article at Ignatius Press
on the Catholic Franciscan martyrs during the Boxer Rebellion.
Saint Gregorius Grassi, Bishop & Martyr
July 9, 1900: Remembering China's Franciscan Saints
by Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. | Ignatius Insight | July 8, 2011
"July 9, 1900, near the end of the Qing dynasty:
After a long drought, a slight drizzle began to moisten the dry fields of Shanxi province. But it was too late. Local peasants had already spread rumors – the Christians were to blame for the long-term lack of rain. Banners had begun to appear throughout the region: "The skies won't rain, the earth is scorched, all because the churches have blocked the heavens" (Taiyuan jiaochu jianhua, 311).
Two Franciscan bishops, two priests, a brother, and seven nuns had prayed for rain, but when it had finally arrived they knew it could not stop the tide of violence. Chinese Christians all around them were already being captured, ordered to renounce their faith in God, and executed if they refused. By the summer of 1900 a group of anti-foreign and anti-Christian men and women had organized themselves into roaming bands of martial artists groups carrying long swords, spears, and halberds; they called themselves the Yihetuan, or the "Society of Righteous Harmony." Their duty, they asserted, was to support the ruling court and "annihilate all foreigners."
At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the Franciscan bishops, priests, and nuns were reciting the Divine Office together with Chinese faithful in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi, when they heard the clamor of weapons approaching their small room. Instinctively knowing that they would soon be executed, those present all knelt before Bishop Gregorius Grassi, the ordinary of their remote Chinese diocese. Grassi trembled with emotion as he said to his fellow Christians, "The hour of death has come, my children: kneel down and I will give you holy absolution" (Franciscan Martyrs of the Boxer Rising, 14)."
For the full story see: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2011/print2011/aclark_july091900martyrs_july2011.html
Saint Andreas Bauer - Friar & Martyr
Saint Theodoricus Balat - Priest & Martyr
Saint Elias Facchini - Priest & Martyr
Saint Franciscus Fogolla - Bishop & Martyr
Saint Maria della Pace - Sister & Martyr
Saint Maria Chiara - Sister & Martyr
The Franciscan sisters pictured above were stripped to the waist and beheaded one by one by the Boxer "rebels" in front of the Chinese Imperial governor of the Province of Shanxi. They sang the Te Deum in thanksgiving to almighty God. The song ended with the execution of the last sister.