12. St. James Kisai, Loyola College Baltimore

St. James Kisai
Loyola College of Baltimore, 1862
Baltimore, Maryland

Saint James Kisai (1533-1597) grew up in a small Japanese village called Haga, where he received his early education from a Buddhist monk. He became a Christian and married a woman who converted to Christianity, and they had a son. When his wife reverted to Buddhism, they separated. James entrusted his son to a Christian family when he moved to Osaka in order to find a job. He was employed there by the Jesuit missionaries first as an office helper. However they quickly recognized the depth of his faith and invited him to begin working with them as a catechist.

While James was living and working with the Jesuits in Osaka, a persecution of Christians began. He was taken captive along with the Jesuit Paul Miki, and another catechist, John Goto. All three were imprisoned for months and then forced on a walk of four weeks to Nagasaki where they were to be crucified. On the morning before the three were tortured and executed, the Jesuit superior was able to take them aside for a short time so that James, aged 64, and John, 19, could pronounce their vows as Jesuits.

Saint James is shown in the manner of his torture, with a collar about his neck made of pieces of hinged steel. From this collar a heavy chain is suspended that encircles his elbows from each side and is looped about his wrists and ankles. As a catechist, he wears a grey tunic lined in orange over a grey kimono. Below are two spears, since each of the crucified martyrs was finally executed with a spear thrust.

The shield of Loyola College of Baltimore is in the shape of a medallion surrounded by a scroll with alternating parts in red and black. In the top right quadrant, the Oñaz family crest of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s mother commemorates, in red and gold stripes, the men of the family who had given heroic service to their king. In the upper left quadrant is a black and gold pattern from the family crest of the Calverts, the English founders of Maryland. The lower half of the shield contains the Loyola arms: grey wolves standing over a dark pot on a silver background with a scroll below that reads, in Spanish, “Lobo y Olla” (“Wolf and Pot”) to indicate the famous hospitality of the father’s side of Ignatius’ family which was reputed to have even included even the animals of the forest. The inscription reads: Loyola College, Baltimore; the foundation date is 1862. The school colors are green and white.