(everything said for this commemoration also applies to the feast of the martyrs on 9 July)

  1. Marie Hermine de Jésus (Irma Grivot, 34, French)
  2. Marie de la Paix (Maria Giuliani, 25, Italian)
  3. Maria Chiara (Clelia Nanetti, 28, Italian)
  4. Marie de Ste Nathalie (Jeanne Marie Kerguin, 36, French)
  5. Marie de St. Just (Anne Moreau, 34, French)
  6. Marie Adolphine (Marie Dierkx, 34, Dutch)
  7. Marie Amandine (Pauline Jeuris, 28, Belgian)


A short history

Today is the day of their canonisation. They were martyred on 9 July 1900 in Taiyuan-Fu, China, beatified on 24 November 1946 in Rome by Pope Pius XII, along with 30 Franciscan martyrs, and canonised on 1 October 2000 in Rome by Pope John Paul II along with 120 Chinese martyrs killed for Christ in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The seven fmm arrived in China, in Tai-yuan-fu, capital of Shansi, on 4 May 1899.

The political climate in northern China was mainly influenced by the ideology and actions of the ultra-conservative Boxer movement, fiercely opposed to Westerners and the Christian religion. In this climate, the sisters took on the missionary work, dispensary and orphanage, facing up to all the difficulties, pain, obstacles and suffering with courage, strength and faith, nourished by the Eucharistic Christ , with flashes of light and rare but profound consolations.

When the revolt of the “Boxer” movement spread to Shanxi, the sisters chose to face the risk of martyrdom. On 5 July 1900, together with the brothers, seminarians and some lay people, they were imprisoned in the “Hotel de la Paix Céleste”. They came out on 9 July, to be taken to the palace of the viceroy of Shanxi and killed with their companions. They were the last to die, by beheading, after having embraced each other fraternally and united in the singing of the “Te Deum”.

They were beatified on 24 November 1946 by Pope Pius XII along with their companions in martyrdom: two bishops, two priests, a lay brother of the Order of Friars Minor and fourteen lay Chinese, including eleven members of the Franciscan Third Order. The liturgical commemoration of the entire group was set for 9 July, the day of their birth into heaven. Just over a hundred years after their martyrdom, Pope John Paul II declared them saints on 1 October 2000, along with 120 other Chinese martyrs.


What this commemoration tells us

The seven fmm, the youngest of whom, Marie de la Paix, was twenty-five years old, and the oldest, Marie de Sainte Nathalie, thirty-six years old, are very close to our experience, driven by the desire to serve God, with their gifts, talents and possibilities, with their temperaments, personal histories, weaknesses and faults. But they have one thing in common: an immense desire to respond seriously to God’s call, to open their lives to the Spirit and let him act freely, as he did in Mary of Nazareth.

What is most striking about each of these sisters is the enthusiasm and commitment with which they offered themselves to the Lord from the very beginning, determined to be faithful until death. A fidelity that was the expression of a deep love for God, for their brothers and sisters, in accordance with what they had promised: “I offer myself as a victim for the Church and for souls”, as the formula of vows said. For this total offering, they prepared themselves day after day, in silent work and prayer.

They are seven holy young women, but also a whole holy community, faithful to God until death. Seven Franciscan Missionary of Mary sisters, who have matured together, the demand of the total gift of self to God and to their brothers and sisters in love. The daily journey, hard and tiring, is travelled by them in faith, sustained by the common experience of the Love of God who called them and filled them with the desire for his Kingdom.

When Mary of the Passion heard the news of their martyrdom, she exclaimed: “Now I can say that I have seven true Franciscan Missionaries of Mary!” Although saddened by their loss, she intoned the Te Deum of thanksgiving for having given these sisters the grace of perseverance in martyrdom and to the Institute the example of fidelity and courage in the faith.


How to pray on this day

We can use these prayers to invigorate our missionary spirit and our desire to bring the joy and peace of Christ to everyone.



Lord Jesus!

Here we are, ready to set off to proclaim once again your Gospel to the world, in which your obscure but loving providence has given us to live in!

Dear Lord, pray to the Father, as you promised, that through you he may send us the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth and strength, the Spirit of consolation, so that he may make our witness open, good and effective.

Be with us, Lord so that we may all be one in you and able by your virtue to pass on to the world your peace and salvation. (Paul VI)


This is our commitment

It is our pledge, Lord to let your light shine and to proclaim that it is you who came to bring joy to the world. But we cannot be content with advice, pious explanations or good intentions, Lord.

It’s up to us, and this is our daily commitment, to bring a little light to those who stagger in the night, to support those who are limping under too heavy a burden, to open the door to those who are constantly excluded, to restore a zest for life to men and women who have lost love. If we do our job then, Lord, we will be able to see, understand and proclaim the Good News in the land of men and women. And we will say: “They work in his name. They bring God’s joy on our earth!” (Charles Singe)


We can take up the lives of the seven martyrs and confront them personally and in community and, with their help, live as evangelised and evangelising women and men.