Cassian of Nantes, Bl.

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Capuchin missionary and martyr; b. Nantes, France, Jan. 15, 1607; d. Condar, Ethiopia, Aug. 7, 1638. He was born of a Portuguese merchant family. His early acquaintance with the Capuchins led him to enter their novitiate in 1623. In 1633 he was sent to the Cairo mission, where he joined his Capuchin confrere, Father Agathangelus. When their efforts to convert the dissidents were thwarted by the scandalous lives of Catholics living there, they left for Ethiopia (1637). To make entrance easier, they donned the habit of the dissident Coptic monks, but were discovered, taken prisoner, and hauled to Condar for trial. After a three-day public ordeal, they were given the choice of accepting dissident doctrines or death by hanging. They chose the latter. Their untiring zeal for the reunion of the dissident Coptic Church with Rome led to their deaths. On Oct. 23, 1904, Pius X beatified them.

Feast: Oct. 7.

Bibliography: Lexicon Capuccinum (Rome 1951) 361. c. maloney, "Missionaries and Martyrs, Bl. Agathangelus and Cassian," Round Table 21 (1956) 136145.

[j. schardt]