Isoré, Remi, St.

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Martyr, Jesuit priest; b. Jan. 22, 1852, Bambeque, northern France; d. July 19, 1900, Wuyi, Hopeh (Hebei) Province, China. Remi (Remigius) Isoré was the eldest child of an elementary school teacher and his wife who produced another priest and a daughter who joined the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Remi began studying Latin in childhood in preparation for the priesthood, then entered the minor seminary at 13 and the diocesan seminary at Cambrai (1871). Before being ordained, he taught elementary school at Roubaix. In the meantime he felt drawn to the Society of Jesus and entered the novitiate at Saint-Acheul, Nov. 20, 1875.

After his novitiate (1876) and before being sent to China, Isoré taught secondary school and studied Theology in Jersey. He had asked to be sent to Zambia, but accepted the opportunity to evangelize in China, arriving in Xian in 1882. He spent the next year studying Chinese, completed his theological studies, and was ordained in Xian cathedral on July 31, 1886 together with León Ignace Mangin. His assignments in China were varied: He was teacher at Zhangjiazhuang (Wei County, Zhili District, Tianjin), dean of Guangpingfu, and then parish priest of Zhoujiazhuang.

On June 18, 1900, Fr. Isoré arrived in Wuyi after a retreat to visit Fr. Modeste andlauer. The Boxers had already arrived at the village to obtain the release of some of their fellows who had been imprisoned the previous winter. They delayed their departure upon hearing that a foreign priest was resident.

Realizing that probable martyrdom was at hand, the priests spent that night in prayer. About six o'clock pm the following afternoon the Boxers broke into the chapel where the priests were praying. The two were stabbed with swords and lances before being decapitated. Their heads were posted at the village gate as a warning to others. They were beatified by Pius XII (April 17, 1956) and canonized (Oct. 1, 2000) by Pope John Paul II with Augustine Zhao Rong and companions.

Feast: July 20; Feb. 4 (Jesuits).

Bibliography: p. x. mertens, Du sang chrétien sur le fleuve jaune. Actes de martyrs dans la Chine contemporaine (Paris 1937). j. simon, Sous le sabre des Boxers (Lille 1955). c. testore, Sangue e palme sul fiume giallo. I beati martiri cinesi nella persecuzione della Boxe Celi SudEst, 1900 (Rome 1955). j. n. tylenda, Jesuit Saints & Martyrs (Chicago 1998), 17375. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. Ed. 40 (2000): 12, 10.

[k. i. rabenstein]