Franciscan Saints




19th September



The Servant of God Peter De Corpa and Companions


Martyrs, First Order


These five friars were martyred in Georgia for their insistence on monogamy in Christian marriages. In 1565 the Spanish established a fort and a settlement at St. Augustine, Florida. Pedro de Corpa came from Spain to Florida in 1587 and in the same year went to the missions among the Guale people in Georgia.  


Pedro worked in Tolomato (near present Darien) where he converted a number of Guales and assisted their chief in running this Christian village. Juanillo, the chief’s son, lapsed into polygamy and was urged to give this up. He refused and was publicly denounced and deprived of the right to succeed his father. Juanillo left, but only to gather some friends to help him seek vengeance on the friars. They killed Father Pedro several days later on September 13, 1597.  


Father Blas de Rodriguez had come to Florida from Spain in 1580. He was the superior of the five martyred friars. Juanillo and his followers killed Blas on September 16 at the village of Tupiqui (near present Eulonia).  


Father Miguel de Anon had come to Georgia in 1595; Brother Antonio de Badajoz in 1587. They were working together on St. Catherine’s Island when Juanillo and his followers killed them on September 17.   Father Francisco de Berascola had come to Georgia in 1595 and founded the Misión Santo Domingo de Asao on St. Simon’s Island. He was martyred by Juanillo’s forces around September 18.   In 1605 the Guale missions were reestablished. They again began to prosper until English colonists arrived and destroyed all of them by 1702.      




What would have happened if Pedro de Corpa and his companions had compromised Christ’s teaching on monogamous marriage? They would have betrayed the very gospel they came to preach. Following Jesus always leads to hard choices—the cross—eventually.  




In 1612 the superior of the custody of St. Helen (Florida and Cuba) reported to the king of Spain: "Although the Indians did not martyr the friars for the faith (that is, because of any doctrine or article of faith which they preached), it is certain that they martyred them because of the law of God which the religious taught them. This is the reason the Indians themselves gave and still attest to….It is known in this land that, since the death of these holy religious, this people (the Guale Indians) has been docile and mild-mannered."    



Communications HNP Today 


September 26, 2007

Vol. 41, No. 19

Conrad Harkins, OFM, vice postulator for the Georgia Martyrs, submitted the report below.

 SAVANNAH, Ga. – To mark the 410th  anniversary of the violent death of  five Franciscan friars known as the Georgia Martyrs, I accompanied Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah on a pilgrimage down the Georgia coast to St. Catherines Island on Sept. 15, .............. See news Report here  about the Pilgrimage to the site of the 5 Holy Martyrs - web of Franciscan Friars Holy Name Province





Prayer of the Church


(From the Nuptial Blessing during holy Mass)


Be favourable, O Lord, unto our prayers, and graciously protect

Thine ordinance, whereby Thou hast provided for the

propagation of mankind: that what is joined together by Thine authority

may be preserved by Thy help.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth  and reigneth
Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen



Source: Foley, Leonard Fr, OFM.,ed., revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.,2009,Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, St. Anthony’s messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH


Prayer: Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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