Today is our last day in Thailand. I had lunch with two prominent Catholic businessmen, both converts and active in evangelization. They spoke of great hope in the Thai Church. Although Catholics are an insignificant 0.44% of the total population, their influence in education, charitable works, and moral example extends far beyond their numbers.
Thailand has provided the Church with eight beatified martyrs. I last posted about Blessed Nicholas Kitbamrung, the first and only beatified Thai priest. During the same period of localized persecution in the early 1940s, seven laypeople gave their lives as witnesses to the Truth. Their names echo the first and second century martyrs whom we commemorate in the Roman canon:
(1) Blessed Philip Siphong, Catechist, 33 years old.
(2) Blessed Sister Agnes Phila, 31 years old.
(3) Blessed Sister Lucia Khambang, 23 years old
(4) Blessed Agatha Phutta, 59 years old.
(5) Blessed Cecilia Butsi, 16 years old.
(6) Blessed Bibiana Khamphai, 15 years old.
(7) Blessed Maria Phorn, 14 years old.
Jean-Ann and Joe Hand (also known as the Catholic musical duo "The Hands") tell the story of the Seven Blessed Martyrs here.
Bob and Carol, two Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand, blog on their visit to the Seven Martyrs shrine here.