Feast: September 11

By Catholic News Service     9/13/2016

A Frenchman drawn to the missions, John Gabriel in 1818 joined the Congregation of the Mission, whose members are called Lazarists or Vincentians. Ordained in 1826, he was assigned to seminary formation work in France. In 1835, he finally was sent to Macao, to learn Chinese, then to Hunan. For two years, he rescued abandoned children and taught them Christianity. In 1839 in Hupeh, persecution forced missionaries into hiding; John Gabriel was turned in by a recent convert. Paraded before bureaucrats and mandarins, he would not betray other missionaries or trample the cross. He was tortured at least 20 times before being strangled on a cross a year after his arrest. This martyr was canonized in 1996.