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Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Bartolomé, Bl.

GUTIÉRREZ RODRÍGUEZ, BARTOLOMÉ, BL.

Augustinian missionary in Japan; b. Mexico City, 1580; d. Nagasaki, Japan, Sept. 3, 1632. On June 1, 1597, he pronounced his vows in the Augustinian monastery of his native city. On Feb. 22, 1606, he left for the Philippines. In 1612 he was sent to the Augustinian missions in Japan, and in May 1613 he became prior of Usuki. Because of a decree of banishment, he went into exile in October 1614, but he returned to Japan in 1618. He spent 15 years in Japan in the midst of a bloody persecution. On Nov. 10, 1629, he and his catechist (Bl.) Brother John Shozuburo, were arrested at Kikizu in Arima. After two years of imprisonment at Omura, Gutiérrez was taken with six others, among them two women, to Mt. Unzen to be tortured in the hot sulphur springs for a month. They were then taken to the Cruzmachi prison of Nagasaki. On Sept. 3, 1632, they were carried to the Hill of Martyrs to be burned alive. The firewood was arranged in a wide circle. In the midst were six columns to which one of their fingers was tied with a light string. Many people witnessed the martyrdom. The Christians formed processions and sang psalms. After the fire had died down the charred bodies of the martyrs were burned completely and the ashes thrown into the ocean. Bartolomé was beatified on July 7, 1867.

Bibliography: m. claver, El admirable y excelente martirio en el Reyno de Japón de los Benditos Padres fray Bartolomé Gutiérrez, fray Francisco de Gracía y fray Tomás de San Agustín, religiosos de la orden de San Agustín nuestro Padre, y de otros compañeros suyos hasta el año de 1637 (Manila 1638). a. hartmann, "Blessed Bartholomew Gutiérrez, O.S.A.," The Tagastan 22 (1961) 3952; The Augustinians in 17th Century Japan (Louvain 1965).

[a. hartmann]

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