6 Courageous Modern-Day Martyrs You Need to Know

1. Clement Shahbaz Bhatti
Clement was born in Pakistan in 1968. He entered into the life of politics, and became the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs in Pakistan. He regularly spoke against the laws concerning Pakistan blasphemy, and was the only Christian to serve on the cabinent. He was labeled a blasphemer of Muhammad.

In 2011, after leaving his mother’s home, Clement’s car was sprayed with a barrage of bullets. He was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the nearby hospital. Just this past March, the Roman Catholic Church opened an investigation into the cause of Clement’s canonization. He has since been declared a Servant of God.
2. Father Ragheed Ganni 

Father Ragheed Ganni was born in 1972 in Iraq. After studying in Rome, Father Ganni requested to be sent back to Iraq to serve his country as a Catholic priest. As a priest who spoke four languages, he worked with “Asia News” as the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions Correspondent. One night, after celebrating Mass where his three cousins served as deacons, the four men left the Church. A man approached the group and told Father Ganni to shut down the Church, to which he responded “How can I close the house of God?”

All four men were told to convert to Islam or die, and they refused. They were shot, and their bodies placed in a car full of explosives so if anyone attempted to remove the bodies, they would be destroyed. Hours later, the police bomb squad disabled the bombs and the men were buried.
The Official Vatican statement concerning Father Ganni’s death said, “Ragheed’s sacrifice will inspire in the hearts of all men and women of good will a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence, to conquer evil with good and to cooperate in hastening the dawn of reconciliation, justice and peace in Iraq.”
3. Father Jacques Hamel

Jacques Hamel was born in 1930 in France. At age 28, he was ordained a priest and served in the Churches of Notre-Dame de Lourdes, St. Antoine, St. Pierre Les Elbeuf, and Saint Etienne du Rouvray. Along with being a parish priest, he also served on the interfaith committee with Mohammed Karabila, who was the president of France’s regional council of Muslims.

On July 26, 2016, Father Hamel’s throat was slit in an attempted beheading. He was killed while saying morning Mass. His killers were two men who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. Roberto Maroni, an Italian politician, asked Pope Francis to proclaim Father Hamel a saint immediately.
4. Father Andrea Santoro

Born in 1945, Father Andrea Santoro was a Roman Catholic Priest who lived in Turkey. He became a member of the Fidei Donum Missionary program, and travleled to Santa Maria Church in Trabzon – a Turkish village off the coast of the Black Sea.

He was killed in 2006 by a 16 year old high school student, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” before shooting Father Santoro twice in the back while he was in the church. The student told the Turkish police he was retaliating against the Muhammad cartoon controversy and the anti-Christian readings that the Turkish press had released.
At Father Santoro’s funeral homily, Cardinal Camillo Ruini said that the cause for Father Santoro’s beatification could be opened after February 2011.
5. Annalena Tonelli 

Born in 1943 in Italy, Annalena was a lawyer. At 25 years old, she moved to Africa to work with the Committee Against World Hunger, an organization she helped found. Later in her life she moved to Borama, where she founded a tuberculosis hospital, whose $20,000 monthly maintenance bills were funded by her friends and family back in Italy.

She brought HIV/AIDS patients to the Borama hospital because she believed they deserved to be treated like human beings and children of God. This move was not accepted well, and in November 2002, protesters threw stones into the windows of the hospital and chanted “Death to Annalena” On October 5, 2003, Annalena was shot in the head and killed while working in the hospital she founded.
6. Sister Leonella Sgorbati 

This Italia sister was born in 1940. When she was 25, she entered the convent as a Consolata Missionary Sister. She spent years ministering as a missionary sister in Kenya, and in 2002 moved to Somalia. there she worked to open a training center for Somalians who wished to become nurses at the only hospital in Somalia.

On September 17, 2006, she was shot as she left the center from teaching nursing classes. Her last words were “I forgive, I forgive, I forgive.”

image: Martyrdom of St Sebastian

I couldn’t upload their pictures, because my blog is still growing.  I would be uploading pictures in the near future. Thanks.



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