Today is the feast of the martyrs of Japan, 26 Christians crucified in Nagasaki in February 1597. Among them were 17 Japanese laymen (including three children), 3 Japanese Jesuits, and 6 European Franciscans.
In the general Roman calendar they are celebrated as "Paul Miki and companions," Paul being one of the Jesuits. He was only one year away from his ordination. In the Franciscan calendar they are celebrated as "Peter Baptist, Paul Miki, and companions." Peter Baptist was a Spanish friar who had worked several years in the Philippines before going to Japan.
Their courage is almost impossible for me to imagine. Having already had an ear cut off and expecting to be crucified the next day or the day after, Peter Baptist wrote to his confreres:
Dearest brothers, help us with your prayers that our death may be acceptable to the majesty of God in heaven where, God willing, we hope to go. We will remember you. We have not forgotten your love here. I have loved you and still love you with all my heart. I wish you the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Farewell, dearest brothers, because there is no longer any time to speak to you. Till we meet in heaven. Remember me.