Zhang Rong, Francis, St.

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Farmer, lay martyr, member of the Third Order of St. Francis; b. 1838, Qizi Shawn, Yangqu Xian, Shanxi Province, China; d. July 9, 1900, Taiyüan, Shanxi Province. Francis Zhang Rong (also given as Tchang-Iun or Chang Yüan), born of Christian peasant stock, was a widowed farmer. For the last decade of his life, he served the Franciscan community at Taiyüan as doorkeeper and janitor. He was known for his frequent fasting and prayerful life. Although his son-in-law, Tian Wancheng, provided him the means to flee the persecution of the Boxers, he stayed with his Franciscan brethren, was captured with them in Taiyüan's cathedral (July 5, 1900), and beheaded four days later. Francis 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]