Dominican Saints 101: St. Ignatius Delgado and Companions

November 24, 2012

St. Ignatius Delgado
The Vatican has estimated that there were between 130,000 and 300,000 Vietnamese Martyrs between the 15th and 20th centuries. Whether it was during the Church’s original missionary attempts or during the various political persecutions, numerous martyrs watered the soil of faith in Vietnam with their blood. In 1988, Bl. John Paul II  canonized 117 martyrs who could be named.  This included a large number of Dominicans bishops, priests, and Third Order members, as well as members of the Confraternity of the Rosary.  St. Ignatius Delgado (1761-1838), St. Francis Gil (1702-1745), St. Vincent Liem (1731-1773), St. Hyacinth Castaneda (1743-1773), St. Dominic Henares (1764-1838), and St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa (1827-1861) (feast – Nov. 24) are some of the noble examples of faithfulness to the Christ during these persecutions. It is thought that the Vietnamese martyrs suffered some of the most gruesome deaths in the history of the Church. Three of those who were given a more modest death would be St. Ignatius Delgado, St. Hyacinth Castaneda, and St. Vincent Liem. After being captured, St. Ignatius was locked in a cage and put on display for public mockery. The local mandarin had planned to decapitate him, but St. Ignatius died of dysentery before they could actually behead him. As a result, they desecrated his body by beheading him and throwing his corpse into a river.
Martyrdom of St. Hyacinth Castaneda (Valencia Cathedral)
St. Hyacinth Castaneda entered the Order in Spain and asked to be sent to the farthest reaches of the East. He was then sent to the Philippines where he began his missionary work. He then labored in China until he was eventually deported to Vietnam. After continuing his work of evangelization there, he was arrested and imprisoned for three years. There he spent time with St. Vincent Liem, the first native of Vietnam to be martyred, who had also been put in a cage after being arrested. Unlike St. Ignatius, though, St. Vincent Liem had been let out of the cage so that he could be brought before the emperor to debate with a Buddhist, a Confucian, and a Taoist. Even though he clearly showed the Christian religion to be the most wise, he was eventually beheaded along with St. Hyacinth. Through their witness, the Vietnamese martyrs give great examples of fidelity to the Lord and to the Truth in times of persecution. May their intercession likewise aid us to defend the Truth in difficult times. O God, you willed the lands of Vietnam to be moistened by the blood of the blessed bishops Ignatius and Dominic, and their companions; through the pleadings of these great martyrs let it continue to blossom with the Christian religion.  Through Christ our Lord.

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