Wuhan and Worthwhile Martyrs


If you’d like to pray to two patron saints, interceding for mitigation of this pandemic and, more to the point, its deleterious effects, you might try Saint Francis-Regis Clet, CM, (1748-1820) and Saint Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, CM, (1802-1840), who were tortured and martyred for their Christian Faith just outside Wuhan nearly two centuries ago by an anti-Catholic government. The fact that, after their imprisonment, beatings and mutilations, they were put to death by slow strangulation makes things even more poignant.

This is also the day that the two disturbed, and perhaps demonically-inspired, youths entered Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 13 people and grievously injuring 24 others, before shooting each other in the head. (They seem to have been in part motivated by the commemoration of Hitler’s birthday, who also shot himself after killing his paramour Eva Braun, while hiding out in his Führerbunker, soon after he turned 56). A number of the Columbine victims were killed because of their Faith. Asking one young woman if she were Christian, who replied ‘yes’, the young men replied ‘why?’ before executing her in cold blood.

Such at times is the price of our Faith, when the forces of darkness close around us. We should thank God that we have not been asked to witness, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, to the point of shedding out blood. But whatever ‘darkness’ we must face, we should remember that it is then that the light shines brightest, and God pours down the grace to face what we must, if we but ask by a whispered prayer.