Saturday, September 11, 2010

St. Jean-Gabriel Perboyre


Jean-Gabriel was born at Le Puech, Lot, France, one of eight children born to Pierre Perboyre and Marie Rigal. He entered the noviciate of the Congregation of the Mission, in the seminary of Montauban, December, 1818. On the feast of the Holy Innocents, 1820, he made the four vows of the Vincentians. He was raised to the priesthood, 23 September 1825, in the chapel of the Sisters of Charity, by Dubourg, Bishop of New Orleans, and on the following day he said his first Mass.

Shortly after, he was sent to the seminary of Saint-Flour to teach dogmatic theology, and two years later, he was appointed superior of the preparatory seminary of Saint-Flour. His success induced his superiors, in 1832, to appoint him subdirector of the novitiate in Paris. He continued in this office until 1835, when he had permission to go to China. He left Le Havre on 21 March, and on 29 August 1835, arrived at Macau, where he spent some time studying the Chinese language.

On 21 December 1835, he began his journey to Ho-Nan, the mission assigned him. In January, 1838, he was transferred to the mission of Hou-Pé. In September, 1839, the persecutions against Christians broke out in Hou-Pé, and Jean-Gabriel was one of the first victims. He was stripped of his garments and clothed with rags, bound, and dragged from tribunal to tribunal. At each trial, he was treated inhumanly. Finally, he was taken to Ou-Tchang-Fou, and after torture, was condemned to death. The sentence was ratified by an imperial edict, and on 11 September 1840, Jean-Gabriel was led to death with seven criminals. He was strangled to death on a cross at Ou-Tchang-Fou, China.