The unshakable faith of San Lorenzo Ruiz 

Catholics celebrate today the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint and martyr.

Born in Binondo, Manila on November 28, 1594 to a Chinese father and Filipino mother, Lorenzo served as an altar boy at the Binondo church. Later on, he got his education from the Dominican friars and became an escribano (clerk), before joining the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.

Lorenzo lived a peaceful, religious life with his wife Rosario and their three children. However, in 1636, while working as a clerk at the Binondo church, Lorenzo was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Fearing for his liberty, Lorenzo, along with three Dominican priests, sought asylum on board a ship bound for Okinawa, Japan, not knowing that more tragedy awaited them. They set sail on June 10, 1636.

They arrived in Japan at a time when Christians were being persecuted by the Tokugawa Shogunate. They were arrested and imprisoned, and later on subjected to different types of torture after being transferred to Nagasaki.

After more than one year in captivity, Lorenzo and his companions were hanged upside down a pit on Nishizaka Hill on September 27, 1637, to make them renounce their Christian faith. But Lorenzo’s belief remained intact and he refused to give up Christianity. He died from loss of blood and suffocation on September 29, 1637, his body was cremated and his ashes were thrown into the sea.

According to accounts sent by Latin missionaries back to Manila, before he breathed his last, Lorenzo made this now famous declaration: “I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God; Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer.”

Pope John Paul II beatified Lorenzo Ruiz during his first papal visit to Manila on February 18, 1987. Six years later, the Filipino martyr became the first Filipino saint when he was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Vatican on October 18, 1987.

Eternal Gardens honors San Lorenzo Ruiz

Philippine memorial care industry leader Eternal Gardens pays homage to San Lorenzo Ruiz by building plazas in his honor at some of its parks. The company’s founder, the late Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, was active in promoting the canonization of then Beato Lorenzo, which paved the way for him to get an audience with John Paul II.

On his Feast Day today, the branches of Eternal Gardens in Baesa, Caloocan City and Biñan City, Laguna will celebrate the Blessing of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Columbarium in their respective parks. The events will start with thanksgiving masses, followed by the ribbon-cutting and blessing proper.

Built to provide a more economical alternative to traditional burial, each crypt at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Columbarium can accommodate up to two urns. The columbarium at Eternal Gardens Baesa, the company’s maiden branch, offers over 2,000 units of crypts, while the one at the Biñan Park has over 500 units.

The San Lorenzo Ruiz Columbarium is a product of Eternal Crematory, an affiliate of Eternal Gardens, Eternal Chapels, and Eternal Plans. All companies belong to the ALC Group founded by Ambassador Cabangon Chua, which is currently headed by its chairman, D. Edgard A. Cabangon.


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