Today's Saint

The 19 Martyrs of Gorkum

The 19 Martyrs of Gorkum, a group of Catholic priests and religious, displayed extraordinary courage and fidelity during a time of religious strife in the 16th century. These martyrs were captured during the Dutch Revolt, a period marked by intense conflict between Protestant reformers and Catholic authorities.

In June 1572, the town of Gorkum (now Gorinchem, Netherlands) fell into the hands of the Watergeuzen, militant Calvinist rebels. The rebels arrested and imprisoned 19 clergy and religious who refused to renounce their Catholic faith. These men included eleven Franciscan friars, four diocesan priests, two Norbertines, a Dominican, and a canon regular.

Despite enduring severe torture and suffering, these men steadfastly refused to deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and their loyalty to the Pope. After weeks of imprisonment and mistreatment, they were transported to Brielle, where their fate was sealed.

On July 9, 1572, the 19 Martyrs of Gorkum were hanged in a turfshed. Their deaths were a powerful testament to their unwavering faith and commitment to Catholic doctrine. They were beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and canonized in 1867 by Pope Pius IX.

  • Lesson 1: Unwavering Faith in Adversity: The 19 Martyrs of Gorkum teach us the importance of maintaining our faith even in the most challenging and hostile circumstances. Today, we might face various forms of adversity that test our faith. Their example encourages us to remain steadfast and trust in God’s strength, no matter the trials we encounter.
  • Lesson 2: Unity and Solidarity: These martyrs, coming from different religious orders and backgrounds, remind us of the importance of unity and solidarity in our faith communities. In our daily lives, we can draw from their example by fostering a spirit of cooperation and mutual support, especially in our families, parishes, and workplaces.

Prayer to the 19 Martyrs of Gorkum:

O Holy Martyrs of Gorkum, you who remained faithful to Christ and the Church even unto death, pray for us, that we may have the courage to stand firm in our faith amidst adversity. Help us to foster unity and solidarity within our communities, supporting one another in love and faithfulness. Through your intercession, may we be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live out our faith with conviction and charity. Amen.

Other Saints We Remember Today

  • St. Augustine Zhao Rong , Priest, Martyr, and Companions, (1815) Chinese Martyrs
  • St. Maria Goretti (1902), Virgin and Martyr [This is her traditional feast day in some areas.]