Paul Miki

In 1564, Paul Miki was born near Osaka of a well-to-do, aristocratic family. His father was an attendant at court, and though not a Catholic, was a defender of the Church. When he was about five years old, the family converted to Catholicism. Twenty years later, Paul entered the Jesuit seminary in Azuchi, and after two years, in August 1586, he began his novitiate. He was known as a good preacher, and was responsible for bringing many people to Christianity. In December 1596, two months before his scheduled ordination, as the first Japanese priest, he was arrested in Osaka, and condemned to death by crucifixion. He and his two Jesuit companions were marched to the town of Urakami. On February 6, 1597, when they saw the crosses on which they were to die, they sang the Te Deum.

Paul Miki and his companions were beatified by Pope Urban VIII on September 15, 1627, and canonized by Pope Pius XI on July 8, 1862.