Saint Lorenzo Ruiz
First Filipino Saint
1600 - 1637
Feastday: September 28
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (Filipino: San Lorenzo Ruiz
ng Maynila, Spanish: San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Latin: Laurentius Ruiz
Manilensis ; ca. 1600 – 29 September 1637) is a Filipino saint venerated in the
Roman Catholic Church. A Chinese-Filipino, he became the country's protomartyr
after his execution in Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate during its persecution of
Japanese Christians in the 17th century.
Saint Lorenzo is patron saint of, among others, the Philippines and the Filipino
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.
Ruiz served as an altar boy at the 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
Santísimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary). He married Rosario, a
native, and they had two sons and a daughter. The Ruiz family led a generally
peaceful, religious and content life.
In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for the 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, and Saint
Miguel de Aozaraza; a Japanese priest, Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz; and a
lay leper Saint Lázaro of Kyoto. Ruiz and his companions left for Okinawa on 10
June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers and Fr Giovanni Yago.
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.
On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the Nishizaka Hill,
where they were tortured by being hung upside down over a pit. This form of
torture was known as tsurushi (釣殺し) in Japanese or horca y hoya ("gallows and
pit") 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,
with the ashes thrown into the sea.
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 God;
Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him shall I offer.")
Path to sainthood
beatification and canonization
The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of Saint
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. It was the first beatification ceremony to be held outside the Vatican in
history. San Lorenzo Ruiz was canonized by the same pope in the Vatican City on
18 October 1987, making him the first Filipino saint.
His canonization was based on a miracle that took place in 1983, when Cecilia
Alegria Policarpio, a two-year-old girl suffering from brain atrophy (hydrocephalus),
was cured after her family and supporters prayed to Ruiz for his intercession.
She was diagnosed with the condition shortly after birth and was treated at
Magsaysay Medical Center.
Places and things named after Lorenzo
In the Philippines
- San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte
- Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City
- Barangay San Lorenzo, Masinloc
- Barangay San Lorenzo Ruiz I and II, Dasmariñas
- Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, Manila
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Bacoor, Cavite
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Diocesan Church, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Taytay, Rizal
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, Imnajbu, Batanes
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Church, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Tandang Sora, Quezon City
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, Laurel, Batangas
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, Tisa, Cebu City
- San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Parish Church, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
- Saint Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine Bangued, Abra
- San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs Parish, Kaunlaran Village, Navotas City
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish - Talomo, Davao City
- Lorenzo Ruiz Academy, Binondo, Manila
- Colegio de San Lorenzo, a Catholic college in Quezon City, founded in 1988
- Escuela de San Lorenzo Ruiz – Parañaque, Sucat, Parañaque City, founded in 1988
- Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila School, Cainta, Rizal, founded in 1990
- San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila School, Marikina City, founded in 2003
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Montessori, Inc., Bulakan, Bulacan
- San Lorenzo School, a non-sectarian school in San Pedro, Laguna
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Parochial School, Navotas City
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy of Polomolok
- Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, the present name of the plaza fronting Binondo Church,
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Diocesan Academy Inc. - San Bartolome, San Leonardo, Nueva
Ecija founded in1989
- St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church, a Catholic church in Walnut, California,
United States of America
- Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz in New York City, United States of America, opened in
- Saint Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, Bjørnevatn, Vatsø, Norway
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School, a Catholic school in Mississauga, Ontario,
- San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Community Center in Sugar Land, Texas, United States
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Hospital, Naic, Cavite, Philippines
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.
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.” ("Wheresoever Filipinos are, the Pinoy brings fidelity to
In popular culture
Film and theatre
- Ang Buhay ni Lorenzo Ruiz, a 1970 Philippine religious biographical film
- Lorenzo Ruiz... The Saint... A Filipino!, a 1988 Philippine film
- Lorenzo, a musical staged in September 2013, by Green Wings Entertainment, with
music by Ryan Cayabyab, book and lyrics by Juan Ekis and Paul Dumol, with the
collaboration of Joem Antonio, direction by Nonon Padilla, and production by
Christopher de Leon.
- Carunungan, Celso Al. To Die a Thousand Deaths: A Novel on the Life and Times of
Lorenzo Ruiz, Social Studies Publications, Metro Manila, Philippines, 1980.
- Delgado, Antonio C. The Making of The First Filipino Saint, The Ala-Ala
- Ignacia del Espiritu Santo
- Jerónima de la Asunción
- Kakure Kirishitan
- Martha de San Bernardo, the first Filipino nun
- Martyrs of Japan
- Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino sain
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