Mary’s point of service
October 24, 2019
Culture and religion
October 25, 2019

Relics of saints placed at the altar of St Mary’s, Mucurapo

Archbishop Jason gordon before relics of Sts Narcisa and martyr Jose Sanchez Del Rio are sealed in the altar at St Mary's

At the re-dedication of St Mary’s RC Church, Mucurapo on Sunday, October 20, Archbishop Jason Gordon placed first class relics of Sts Narcisa de Jesús Martillo-Morán of Ecuador and martyr Jose Sanchez Del Rio, of Mexico beneath the altar.

The relics were received through the Apostolic Nunciature in Trinidad and Tobago

St Narcisa, born October 29, 1832 was the daughter of farmers. Her parents died when she was a child and she moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador where for the next 15 years she worked as a seamstress to support her younger siblings. She lived a single life, helping those poorer than herself when she could and spending her time in prayer. In 1868, she moved to Lima, Peru where she worked in a Convent of Dominican nuns. She never took vows but lived austerely.

At the end of a novena on December 8, 1869—the Feast of the Immaculate Conception—before retiring to bed, she told the Sisters that she was going on a journey. They thought it was a joke until the nun who blessed the cells noticed a special scent and splendour coming from Narcisa’s cell. The nuns found that she had died quietly.

They learned that she had made a private vow of perpetual virginity, poverty, obedience, enclosure, eremitical life, fasting on bread and water, daily Communion, confession, mortification and prayer. She was canonised Sunday, October 12, 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Born on March 28, 1913 in Mexico, Jose Sanchez at the age 13 became a flag-bearer in the Cristero army who were fighting to remain Catholic in the face of anti-religious government decrees. He was captured by government troops, imprisoned, abused and ordered to renounce Christianity; Jose refused.

He was hacked with machetes, and stabbed with bayonets. The soles of his feet were skinned and he was made to walk to the cemetery where he was finally shot on February 10, 1928. His walk to his death left a trail of blood. Through it all he shouted: “Long live Christ the King! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!” He was canonised October 16, 2016 by Pope Francis. —Adapted from the programme at the rededication Mass.

Did you know…

Relics include the physical remains of a saint or of a person who is considered holy but not yet officially canonised as well as other objects which have been ‘sanctified’ by being touched to his/her body.