Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jesuit Martyrs of Virginia

In 2002, the Diocese of Richmond opened the cause for the canonization of the Spanish Jesuit Martyrs of Virginia. This has renewed interest in the fascinating, almost fantastic, tale of a lost Spanish colony in Virginia and the men who died trying to convert the Ajacan Indians. In 1571, Fr. Segura and his seven companions were killed by hostile tribesmen at the St. Mary's mission sited on Virginia's Lower Peninsula, near the Chesapeake Bay. This was close to the spot where the English would permanently settle just thirty years later. Fr. Russell E. Smith is the postulator for the martyrs' canonization and a judge with the diocesan tribunal. Fr. Smith learned about the Jesuit settlement while growing up in historic Williamsburg, Virginia and as a priest he took up the matter with the postulator general for the Society of Jesus, in Rome. The Virginia Historical Society and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities have also lent their scholarly support for evidence of the Spanish mission. Meanwhile, the Richmond diocese has designated St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in New Kent County as the new Shrine of the Jesuit Martyrs.

~ Matthew M. Anger:  excerpt from Spanish Martyrs for Virginia ~

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests.  Amen.

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