|Saint Lorenzo Ruiz of Manilla|
Close- up of statue of Lorenzo Ruiz in procession, Santo Domingo Church, Quezon City
|First Saint and Protomartyr of the Philippines|
Binondo, Manila, Philippines
|Died||September 29, 1637 (aged 36–37)
Nishizaka Hill, Nagasaki, Japan
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||18 February 1981, Manila by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||18 October 1987, Vatican City, Rome by Pope John Paul II|
|Major shrine||Binondo Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines|
|Attributes||rosary in clasped hands|
|Patronage||The Philippines, the poor, Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipinos, Filipino youth, Chinese-Filipinos, Filipino altar servers, Tagalogs, Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines.|
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (ca. 1600 – 29 September 1637), also known as Laurentius Ruiz de Manila or San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, is the first Filipino saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church; he is thus the protomartyr of the Philippines. He was killed for refusing to leave Japan and renounce his Roman Catholic beliefs during the persecution of Japanese Christians under the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th century.
Saint Lorenzo is patron saint of, among others, the Philippines and Filipinos.
Ruiz served as an altar boy at the convent of Binondo church. After being educated by the Dominican friars for a few years, Ruiz earned the title of escribano (calligrapher) because of his skillful penmanship. He became a member of the Cofradia del Santissimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary). He married Rosario, a native, and they had two sons and a daughter. The Ruiz family lead a generally peaceful, religious and content life.
In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for Binondo Church, Ruiz was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Ruiz sought asylum on board a ship with three Dominican priests: Saint Antonio Gonzalez; Saint Guillermo Courtet; Saint Miguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest; Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz; and a lay leper Saint Lazaro of Kyoto. Ruiz and his companions left for Okinawa on 10 June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers and Fr Giovanni Yago.
The Tokugawa shogunate was persecuting Christians by the time Ruiz had arrived in Japan. The missionaries were arrested and thrown into prison, and after one year, they were transferred to Nagasaki to face trial by torture. He and his companions faced different types of torture. One of these was the insertion of needles inside their fingernails.
On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside down a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi (釣殺し) in Japanese or horca y hoya in Spanish. The method was supposed to be extremely painful: though the victim was bound, one hand is always left free so that victims may be able to signal that they recanted, and they would be freed. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.
According to Latin missionary accounts sent back to Manila, Ruiz declared these words upon his death:
"Ego Catholicus sum et animo prompto paratoque pro Deo mortem obibo. Si mille vitas haberem, cunctas ei offerrem."
In English this may be rendered:
"I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for the Lord; If I had a thousand lives, all these I shall offer to Him."
This may be reconstructed into Tagalog or Filipino as:
"Isa akong Katoliko at buong-pusong tinatanggap ang kamatayan para sa Panginoon. Kung ako man ay may isanli buhay, lahat ng iyon ay iaalay ko sa Kanya."
Path to sainthood
Cause of beatification and canonization
The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of St. Lorenzo Ruiz was authored by respected historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P., which led to his beatification during Pope John Paul II's papal visit to the Philippines. It was the first beatification ceremony to be held outside the Vatican in history. San Lorenzo Ruiz was canonized by the same pope in Vatican City on 18 October 1987, making him the first Filipino saint.
The miracle that led to his canonization took place in 1983, when Cecilia Alegria Policarpio, a 2-year-old girl suffering brain atrophy (hydrocephalus) was cured through the intercession of the family and supporters to Lorenzo Ruiz. She was diagnosed shortly after her birth and was treated at Magsaysay Medical Center.
Places and things named after Lorenzo Ruiz
- Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, a plaza in front of Binondo Church, Manila
- San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte, a municipality in the province of Camarines Norte
- Colegio de San Lorenzo, a Catholic school/college in Quezon City, founded in 1988
- Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila School, a Catholic school in Cainta, Rizal, founded in 1990
- Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz, a Catholic church in New York City, opened in 2005
- St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, a Catholic church in Walnut, California
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Diocesan Church, a Catholic church in Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School, a Catholic school in Mississauga, Ontario
- San Lorenzo Ruiz De Manila Parish Church, a Catholic church in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan
Other tributes to Saint Lorenzo
St. Lorenzo Ruiz's image is included among the images by John Nava of 135 saints and blessed from around the world in the Communion of Saints Tapestries which hangs inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
On 28 September 2007, the Catholic Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ruiz's canonization. Manila Cardinal Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales said: “Kahit saan nandoon ang mga Pilipino, ang katapatan sa Diyos ay dala-dala ng Pinoy (Wherever the Filipinos may be, they bring with them their loyalty to God).”
In September 2013, LORENZO, a musical about the life of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, was staged by Green Wings Entertainment, with music by Ryan Cayabyab, book and lyric by Juan Ekis and Paul Dumol with the collaboration of Joem Antonio, direction by Nonon Padilla, and production by Christopher de Leon. Lorenz Martinez played the role of St. Lorenzo Ruiz.
In popular culture
Several films have been made about Lorenzo Ruiz:
- Rorentsu o Ruisu no shōgai (ロレンツォ·ルイスの生涯), a 1962 film by Toho
- Ang Buhay ni Lorenzo Ruiz a 1970 Philippine film
- Lorenzo Ruiz... The Saint... A Filipino!, a 1988 Philippine film
Also the school San Lorenzo Ruiz elementary school in Markham, Ontario, Canada was named after Lorenzo.
Books about San Lorenzo Ruiz
- Carunungan, Celso Al. To Die a Thousand Deaths: A Novel on the Life and Times of Lorenzo Ruiz, Social Studies Publications, Metro Manila, Philippines, 1980, 198 pages and Amazon.co.uk
- Delgado, Antonio C. The Making of The First Filipino Saint, The Ala-Ala Foundation, 1982
- Kakure Kirishitan
- Martyrs of Japan
- Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint
- Jerónima de la Asunción
- Three Fertility Saints of Obando, Bulacan, Philippines
- Martha de San Bernardo, the first Filipino nun
- Ignacia del Espiritu Santo
- "Visit of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Participate in the 2005 World Summit - High Level plenary session of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, United States of America, 12–15 September 2005", Press Kit, Office of the President, Government Mass Media Group, Bureau of Communications Services, Manila, September, 2005.
- Filipino Apostolate/Archdiocese of New York, Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz, ChapelofSanLorenzoRuiz.org, retrieved on: 9 June 2007
- Saint Lorenzo Ruiz at Patron Saints Index, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
- Religion-Cults.com Dominguez, J, M.D., September 28: Saints of the Day, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, 1600-1637, Religion-Cults.com, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
- thepinoycatholic.blogspot.com on St. Lorenzo Ruiz
- Saint Lorenzo Parish Community
- image of St. Lorenzo Ruiz in the Communion of Saints Tapestries
- Inquirer.net, Church marks 20th anniversary of Lorenzo Ruiz sainthood
- Cause for Beatification
- Mosaic in Saint Peter's Basilica
- St. Lorenzo Ruiz in the Communion of Saints Tapestries
- St. Lorenzo Ruiz Prayer in times of adversity. Translated into Spanish by José Tlatelpas, traditional version in English and Tagalog. Published in the Canadian Hispanic webzine "La Guirnalda Polar".
- Lorenzo Ruiz at Find a Grave
- LORENZO, a musical on the life of Lorenzo Ruiz