Saint Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, Franciscan Missionary and Martyr
The saint of the day for July 8 is St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin, Franciscan Missionary and Martyr. Also known as Sr. Marie Santa Natalia, she is is one of the 29 martyrs of China’s Boxer Rebellion, the 1898-1901 uprising against foreign imperialism and Christianity.
Jeanne-Marie was born on May 5, 1864, at Belle-Isle en Terre, France to a poor peasant family. Her mother died when she was quite young, and she took over the household chores for the family. In 1887, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, taking the name Marie Santa Natalia. There she happily threw herself into a life of prayer and devotion to the simplest and most menial tasks of her house. She was assigned first to Paris, then to Carthage in north Africa. She encountered health problems and was sent to Rome to recover. There she answered the call of her Order to work as a missionary. She arrived in China in March 1899, and was almost immediately hospitalized for several months with typhus. Her short lived career ended during a crackdown on foreign missionaries during the Boxer Rebellion. St. Jeanne – Marie Kerguin was beheaded on July 9, 1900, at at Taiyuanfu, China. She was one of the Martyrs of Shanxi and one of the Martyrs of China. She was canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II at Rome.
“Do not be afraid. Death is only God who is passing by.”
“I am happy to have to suffer. When one suffers one is detached from the world.God wishes that I love more than all else; He has been so generous to me and has done so much for me since I came into this world.”
~ St. Jeanne-Marie Kerguin