The saint for February 17
St. Francis Regis Clet, C.M.
Martyr, Confessor
Optional Memorial
Vincentian, Local

Born, 1748
Martyred, February 18th, 1820

Francis Regis Clet entered the Vincentian order
(Congregation of the Mission), at Lyon France, and was
ordained to the priesthood in 1773, during that turbulent
period of time in Frances' history, preceding the French
revolution. Learned and witty, during his appointment
as professor of Moral Theology at the seminary in Annency,
he earned the soubriquet, "the walking encyclopedia".

Francis had deep desires to be a missionary, however,
and petitioned his superiors several times to be assigned
to mission work, always with the same result. His
requests were declined. Finally, owing perhaps
to the sudden inability of another of his confreres to
accept his overseas assignment, Francis received his
transfer to the mission fields in China, where he
arrived in 1793. He was 43.

Francis was to give the remaining 28 years of his life
to God in the service of the chinese people. His life
and and his writings were marked by faithfulness,
practical intelligence, humility and humor. It was
illegal to be a missionary in China during this time,
so his life was also marked by persecution and trial,
times of hiding in the mountains, and finally, by imprisonment.
During his time in prison he was known for his
unshakable goodwill and cheerful demeanor. He was accused
of misleading the Chinese people by preaching
Christianity. The emperor decreed his death by strangulation upon a cross.
After his death, his
remains were spirited away and buried by fellow
christians,but were returned to the Vincentain
motherhouse in Paris in 1868.

Francis Regis Clet was beatified in 1900 and was
canonized in 2000, along with 119 other blessed Chinese
martyrs, representative of the many who gave their lives
for their faith.
Patronage: China, Missionaries. Invoke for:Perserverance, Joy in Midst of Suffering
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