Magdalene of Nagasaki

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Magdalene of Nagasaki
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Patron of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity Companions of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila
Nagasaki, Tokugawa Shogunate
Died15 October 1634 (aged 22–23)
Nagasaki, Tokugawa Shogunate
BeatifiedFebruary 18, 1981, Manila, Philippines by Pope John Paul II
CanonizedOctober 18, 1987, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrineBinondo Church in Binondo, Manila, Philippines
FeastOctober 20
AttributesPalm, Augustinian habit (without the typical nun hair net, since she was a lay sister), books
PatronageSecular Augustinian Recollects
ControversyAugustinian and Dominican tertiary.
Magdalene of Nagasaki (Basilica of San Sebastian, Manila)

Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki (長崎のマグダレナ, Nagasaki no Magudarena) was a Japanese Christian born in 1611 as the daughter of a Christian couple martyred about 1620. With the arrival of the Augustinian Order, Magdalene served as an Augustinian lay sister or tertiary, interpreter and catechist for Fathers Francis of Jesus Terrero and Vincent of Saint Anthony Simoens.

In 1632, these two Augustinian friars, who had been her spiritual counselors, were burned alive. After the martyrdom of her counselors, she apprenticed herself to two other Augustinians, Fathers Melchior of Saint Augustine and Martin of Saint Nicholas. When these two friars were also put to death, she turned to Father Giordano Ansaloni de San Esteban, a Dominican.

Some time later, and attired in her Augustinian habit, Magdalene turned herself into the authorities and declared herself a follower of Jesus Christ. At age 23, she died on October 15, 1634 after thirteen days of torture, suffocated to death and suspended upside down in a pit of offal on a gibbet (釣殺し tsurushi, "reverse hanging").

After death, her body was cremated and her ashes scattered in Nagasaki Bay.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on February 18, 1981 in Manila, and canonized on October 18, 1987 at Vatican City.


Though the official picture of Magdalene of Nagasaki shows her wearing an Augustinian habit while holding a palm leaf in her hands and carrying a bag through her elbow, another depiction of her is used by the Dominicans for their own devotion. Instead of the black habit, she is shown wearing a kimono while holding a cross in her hands. One sculpture of her shows that she wears a veil with a crown or halo on her head. More depictions show the differences of her picture such as holding a palm leaf and rosary in separate hands.

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