|Letter of Bl. Nakaura Julian,sj, (Martyr in Nishizaka,1633) from Kuchinotsu|
September 21, 1621. Document exhibited in our Museum Picture
(For a list of the recently beatified 188 Martyrs, click here)
To: Most Rev. Fr. Nuno Mascarenhas, Assistant of the Society of Jesus Rome.
May the grace of Christ and the prayers of Mary be yours.
Most Rev. Father,
Your letter from Rome, which I received in June 1621 at the seaport of Kuchinotsu where I had been sent by my superiors, gave me great joy. I have been hiding here since the year of the great persecution when all the fathers were expelled from Japan and every effort was made to persuade Christians to abandon their faith. Since that time I have stayed here trying to help the Christians. Your Reverence must have heard of the solemn martyrdom that occurred this year and of many more that followed in different parts of this region. However, most of the martyrs were from the Takaku area. From the town of Kuchinotsu alone there were 21 martyrs. Other people suffered torture some of whom died later from their wounds. Some were spared because the executors did not want to annihilate the entire population of the town. I can assure you dear Father that the people here are all fervent Christians and face numerous trials because of their faith. So all of us rejoiced at the receipt of your letter and treated with great reverence the religious articles you sent us to help strengthen our faith. These gifts enabled us to participate in the benevolence of your Reverence. Knowing from your letter that you remember the people of Japan in your prayers, we are comforted and give thanks. Your letter brought back fond memories of the Holy City Roma, the Holy Father, the Cardinals, Catholic Princes and all the kindness and care shown to me when I visited Europe. I thank your for your letter dear Father and assure you that the memory of your charity will always remain with me.
Thanks be to God I am in good health and physically strong enough to carry on the work of the Society of Jesus. I look after more than 4000 Christians, hear their confessions and also visit missions in different parts of this region. The persecution is ongoing. The annual reports will no doubt give many accounts of it. There is little time for rest. Just as I was finishing this letter the Christians came saying I should move to a safer place, as they had news that the local lord had started a new persecution aimed at wiping out Christianity in the Takaku area. We are confident that Our Lord will give us perseverance and courage. In conclusion I ask Your Reverence to intercede for us in your prayers, and I commend myself to your Masses.
September 21, 1621
Your unworthy servant