Great Dominican Saints

St. Raymond was born of noble descent with ties to the Aragon family. He studied in Barcelona and Bologna, earning a doctorate in both civil and canon law. While teaching canon law in Bologna, he joined the Dominican Order at the age of 47. He even served as Master General of the Dominicans from 1238-1240. Pope Gregory IX asked for St. Raymond’s help in organizing the Church’s laws. He compiled the “Decretals of Gregory IX” which were used for almost 700 years until canon law was fully codified in 1917. St. Raymond is the patron saint of canon lawyers.

St. Francis was born in Baquerin de Campos and entered the Dominican Order at the age of 17. He was ordained as a priest in the city of Manila, Philippines, where he was sent to do missionary work. After 10 years of preparation for a mission to China, he finally arrived in the Province of Fujian in 1642. Francis and his companions were so successful in preaching the gospel there that they had to establish a community of the Dominican Third Order right away. However, the new Chinese dynasty governing the country was hostile to Christianity and immediately began to persecute the Christians. In 1647, he was captured while returning from Fu-an, where he was gone to administer the sacraments to sick people. While in the local prison, he suffered all sorts of torture and hardships, but also converted some of the guards. After his refusal to abandon the Catholic faith, he was sentenced to death by decapitation in 1648. He thus became the first martyr to shed his blood for Jesus in China.

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