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Saint of the Day for 29 February: St. Augustus Chapdelaine

St. Augustus Chapdelaine: 19th Century Martyr and Missionary in China


St. Augustus Chapdelaine


Martyr in China

Baptismal name

Auguste Chapdelaine


Jan. 6, 1814, Normandy


Feb. 29, 1856, Guangxi, China


29 February


2004 edition


May 27, 1900, Rome , Pope Leo XIII


October 1, 2000, Rome , Pope John Paul II


O Lord grant that through the intercession of your saints, humanity may return to the practice of the Christian faith for a new evangelization of this third millennium to the praise and glory of your name and the triumph of the Church. Amen.

Roman Martyrology

In the city of Xilinxian in Guangxi Province in China, St. Augustine Chapdelaine, a priest of the Paris Society for Foreign Missions and martyr, who, arrested by soldiers along with many neophytes for having first sown the Christian faith in this region, beaten by three hundred lashes and forced into a small cage, finally died by beheading.



The Saint and Mission

Saint Augustus Chapdelaine, a 19th century French missionary, represents an extraordinary example of dedication and sacrifice in the context of the Christian mission in China. His life and martyrdom illuminate the depth of missionary commitment, underlining the strength of faith and the ability to face enormous challenges for the spread of the Gospel. Saint Augustus Chapdelaine’s mission was rooted in an ardent desire to bring the light of Christianity to a land then little known and often hostile to the Christian message. His determination to live the Gospel among the Chinese people, despite linguistic, cultural and political barriers, testifies to a profound love for Christ and for the souls entrusted to Him. Chapdelaine did not see the mission as a task, but as a vocation and an expression of the love of God, which seeks to reach all of his children, regardless of their origin. Saint Augustus’ courage and resilience in facing persecution and difficulty reveal the strength of his faith. Even in the face of arrest and the prospect of martyrdom, he remained steadfast in his belief that the truth of the Gospel was worth every sacrifice. His ability to forgive those who persecuted him and to offer his suffering for the salvation of souls demonstrates a profound understanding of the heart of the Christian message: the love that gives of itself until the last breath. Chapdelaine’s mission, which culminated in his martyrdom, was not in vain. His testimony of faith, hope and charity became a source of inspiration for many other missionaries and Christians, both in China and in the rest of the world. His sacrifice illuminated the path for many faithful, strengthening the Chinese Church and testifying to the universality of the Christian call to evangelization. The life and martyrdom of Saint Augustus Chapdelaine reminds us that Christian mission requires courage, perseverance, and an unconditional trust in the providence of God. His example of faithfulness unto death is a powerful reminder of the cost of discipleship and the transformative power of faith lived in extreme circumstances. Chapdelaine teaches us that, even in the most difficult situations, God’s grace is sufficient and that our sacrifice, united with that of Christ, can bear abundant fruit for the Kingdom of God.

The Saint and Mercy

The life and martyrdom of Saint Augustus Chapdelaine, a French missionary in 19th century China, profoundly reflects the theme of Christian mercy, not only in his evangelical practice but also in the context of his supreme sacrifice. His mission was rooted in a profound desire to share the mercy and love of God with a people who had not yet encountered the message of the Gospel, thus testifying to the universal reach of divine mercy. Mercy, at the heart of Chapdelaine’s mission, was manifested through his unwavering commitment to serve the Chinese people despite immense challenges and persecution. His ministry was characterized by total dedication to the spiritual and material needs of the people he met, showing them the compassionate face of Christ. This dedication was fueled by the belief that every soul was precious in the eyes of God and deserving of the salvation offered through the Gospel. Furthermore, Saint Augustus’ ability to face suffering and martyrdom with hope and forgiveness highlights mercy as the guiding principle of his life. Even in the face of death, he maintained a posture of forgiveness towards his persecutors, reflecting the attitude of Christ on the cross. This response to evil with love and forgiveness is one of the highest expressions of mercy, demonstrating that the light of the Gospel can shine even in the darkest circumstances. Chapdelaine’s testimony continues to be a source of inspiration for the universal Church, reminding us that the mission of bringing God’s mercy to the world often requires personal sacrifice and courage. His example invites us to reflect on how we can live mercy in our daily lives, especially in contexts of difficulty or opposition. Saint Augustus Chapdelaine embodies the profound interconnection between mission, martyrdom and mercy. His life teaches us that true mercy requires courage, sacrifice and a heart open to others, even at the cost of one’s own life. Through his example, we are called to recognize the transformative power of divine mercy and to commit ourselves to spreading it throughout the world, following in the footsteps of the saints who witnessed God’s love to the extreme.


S. Augustus Chapdelaine was born Jan. 6, 1814, in Normandy to a family of farmers with whom he remained until he was 20, when he entered the seminary in Coutances where he was ordained a priest in 1843. He was assigned as a parish priest in Boucey but soon matured a missionary vocation so he entered the Foreign Missions Society in Paris in 1851 and…


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