23rd February

The Servants of God Frederick Bachstein and Companions

Martyrs, First order


St. Mary of the Snow convent at Prague was founded by Emperor Rudolph II in 1607 and entrusted to the care of Franciscan friars. With the hope of, according to the legal documentation that true to the tradition of their forebears they would oppose with zeal and power the growing spirit of immorality and indifference to God in Bohemia and lead the people back to the right path.

The friars immediately began to preach by word and deed and the written word to refute heresy. The Hussites and Calvanists enraged by the success of the friars waited for an opportune time to rid themselves of the Franciscan community. On February 15, 1611, an angry mob armed with deadly weapons stormed the church and began their work of destruction and of massacre. The first Franciscan they met was Father John Martinez, a Spaniard who was attempting to save the Blessed Sacrament, they struck off his hand with one blow and the hand fell to the floor with the ciborium and the sacred elements were strewn about the church. In the middle of the worst blaspheme the Calvinists trampled on those sacred elements and when Father John attempted to ward them off they split open his head with a sword they further desecrated the crucifixes and holy images, robbed the church of sacred vessels and demolished the altars.

Sensing the evil to come the inmates of St. Mary of the Snow prepared themselves for death by prayer and penitential partaking of  the blessed Sacrament The enraged mob armed with every kind of deadly weapons then forced their way into the convent and proceeded to shoot, stab, club, crush and hack to pieces the holy men. In all 14 were massacred during the bloody three hour period.

After three days devout Catholics ventured into the church and convent and wrapped the precious remains in canvas and secretly buried them in the transept. Five years later the remains were exhumed and found to be wholly incorrupt and the wounds still bleeding and fresh. The remains were interred in the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel where they continue to be glorified by many miracles.

The cause of beatification of these fourteen servants of God was introduced in Rome at some time close to the time they were martyred; sources show that while this was reassessed in Rome in 2003 no advancement is recorded.


Fr. Marion Habig OFM names ten of the martyrs in his text; these are


  • Father Bartholomew of Bergamo, Confessor of the Italians

  • Jerome of Milan, deacon

  • Clement, a student in minor orders

  • Brother Christopher

  • Jasper of Varnez, subdeacon

  • James of Augsburg, in minor orders

  • Lay brother Didiacus

  • John of Germany, Novice

  • Lay brother, John of Pisa

  • Brothers Emmanuel and Anthony



Prayer of the church


(Good Friday for Heretics and Schismatics)



Almighty and eternal God, Who savest all and willest none to

perish, look on the souls that are seduced by the deceit of the

devil, that the hearts of those who err, having laid aside

all heretical malice, may repent and return to the unity of Thy truth.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth  and reigneth

Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

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


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