Lorenzo Ruiz

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For the municipality in the Philippines, see San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte. For the school in the Philippines, see Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila School.
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
Born ca. 1600
Binondo, Manila, Philippines
Died September 29, 1637 (aged 36–37)
Nishizaka Hill, Nagasaki, Japan
Honored in
Catholic Church
Beatified Philippines 18 February 1981, Manila by Pope John Paul II
Canonized Vatican City 18 October 1987, Vatican City, Rome by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Binondo Church, Binondo, Manila, Philippines
Feast 28 September
Attributes rosary in clasped hands
Patronage The Philippines, the poor, separated families, Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipinos, Filipino youth, Chinese-Filipinos, Filipino altar servers, Filipino migrants, Filipino migrant workers, 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 had gone to Japan with three missionaries and was killed for refusing to 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 the Filipino people.

Early life[edit]

Binondo Church, the main shrine of St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother who were both Catholic. His father taught him Chinese while his mother taught him Tagalog.[1][2]

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.[3] 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.[1][2][4]


Image of Ruiz, Convent of St James the Apostle Parish, Plaridel, Bulacan.

The Tokugawa shogunate was persecuting Christians by the time Ruiz had arrived in Japan. The missionaries were arrested and thrown into prison, and after two years, they were transferred to Nagasaki to face trial by torture. He and his companions faced different types of torture.[3]

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 was always left free so that victims may signal their desire to recant, leading to their release. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.[1][2][4]

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." {I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for the Lord; Had I a thousand lives, all these I shall offer to Him.}[3]

Path to sainthood[edit]

Cause of beatification and canonization[edit]

A painting of Ruiz in the stairway of San Carlos Seminary, Makati City.

The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of St. Lorenzo Ruiz was written by respected historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P. Ruiz was beatified during Pope John Paul II's papal visit to the Philippines.[5][6][7] 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.[1][2][4]


His canonization was based on a miracle that 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.[8]

Places and things named after Lorenzo Ruiz[edit]

Other tributes to Saint Lorenzo[edit]

Lorenzo Ruiz is included in American painter John Nava's Communion of Saints Tapestries, a depiction of 135 saints and beati which hangs inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California.[10]

On 28 September 2007, the Catholic Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ruiz's canonisation. Then-Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales said: “Kahit saan nandoon ang mga Pilipino, ang katapatan sa Diyos ay dala-dala ng Pinoy.”[11]

In popular culture[edit]



See also[edit]


External links[edit]