Wang Rui, John, St.

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Franciscan seminarian, martyr; b. Feb. 26, 1885, Xinli, Wenshui Xian, Shanxi Province; d. July 9, 1900, Taiyüan, Shanxi Province, China. John Wang Rui (or Van) was the eldest of the three children of Joseph Wang Daxing and Cecilia Liu, who were pious Christians. He began his studies in the minor seminary of Dongergou in 1895. The 10-year-old became a quick favorite because of his good nature and beautiful singing voice. While he was studying at Taiyüan's major seminary, he was chosen to travel with Bp. Francesco fogolla to the 1897 International Exhibition in Turin, Italy. Although the bishop suggested that all the seminarians flee the persecution anticipated by the Boxers, John remained, saying: "I shall be a martyr for God." He was among the dozens of Christians captured in the Taiyüan cathedral and executed. John was beatified by Pope Pius XII (Nov. 24, 1946) and canonized (Oct. 1, 2000) by Pope John Paul II with Augustine Zhao Rong and companions.

Feast: July 4.

Bibliography: l. m. balconi, Le Martiri di Taiyuen (Milan 1945). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 47 (1955) 381388; Vita del b. A. Crescitelli (Milan 1950). m. t. de blarer, Les Bse Marie Hermine de Jésus et ses compagnes, franciscaines missionnaires de Marie, massacrées le 9 juillet 1900 à Tai-Yuan-Fou, Chine (Paris 1947). Les Vingt-neuf martyrs de Chine, massacrés en 1900, béatifiés par Sa Sainteté Pie XII, le 24 novembre, 1946 (Rome 1946). l. miner, China's Book of Martyrs: A Record of Heroic Martyrdoms and Marvelous Deliverances of Chinese Christians during the Summer of 1900 (Ann Arbor 1994). 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 Sud-Est, 1900 (Rome 1955). L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. Ed. 40 (2000): 12, 10.

[k. i. rabenstein]