Many Christian missionaries have gone to the poorest of the poor and to remote locations. Many missionaries preached Christ through helping people by giving medical services, hospitals, clinics and schools.
Ministering to the very sick and to the abandoned is ministering to Christ, himself.
(38) "When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?"...
"I say to you, what ever you did for one of these least....you did for me." MT 38-40
"Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do 'Nothing' for you" - Mother Teresa
34 – Saul of Tarsus is converted, and becomes Paul.
54 – Paul begins his third missionary journey
Saint Adalbert of Prague
Adalbert of Prague (Latin: Adalbertus / Polish: Wojciech Sławnikowic); c. 956 – 23 April 997), known in Czech by his birth name Vojtěch (Latin: Voitecus), was a Bohemian missionary and Christian saint. He was the Bishop of Prague and a missionary to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians, who was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians to Christianity.
In 981 St. Adalbert of Magdeburg died, and his young protege Adalbert returned to Bohemia. Later Bishop Dietmar of Prague ordained him a Catholic priest. In 982, Bishop Dietmar died, and Adalbert, despite being under canonical age, was chosen to succeed him as Bishop of Prague.
Amiable and somewhat worldly, he was not expected to trouble the secular powers by making excessive claims for the Church. Although Adalbert was from a wealthy family, he avoided comfort and luxury, and was noted for his charity and austerity. After six years of prayer and preaching, he had made little headway in evangelizing the Bohemians, who maintained deeply embedded pagan beliefs.
Adalbert opposed the participation of Christians in the slave trade and complained of polygamy and idolatry, which were common among the people. Once he started to propose reforms he was met with opposition from both the secular powers and the clergy.
In 990 he went to Rome. He lived as a hermit at the Benedictine monastery of Saint Alexis. Five years later, Boleslaus requested that the Pope send Adalbert back to Prague, in hopes of securing his family's support. Pope John XV agreed, with the understanding that Adalbert was free to leave Prague if he continued to encounter entrenched resistance. Adalbert returned as bishop of Prague, where he was initially received with demonstrations of apparent joy. and founded a monastery in Břevnov near the City, it being the first monastery in the Czech territory.
Mission and Martyrdom in Prussia
Adalbert again relinquished his diocese, namely that of Gniezno, and set out as a missionary to preach to the inhabitants near Prussia. Bolesław I, Duke (and, later, King) of Poland, sent soldiers with Adalbert on his mission to the Prussians. The Bishop and his companions, including his half-brother Radim (Gaudentius), entered Prussian territory and traveled along the coast of the Baltic Sea to Gdańsk.
Success attended his efforts at first, but his imperious manner in commanding the people to abandon paganism irritated them, and at the instigation of one of the pagan priests he was murdered on 23 April 997 on the Baltic Sea coast east of Truso (currently the city of Elbląg) or near Tenkitten and Fischhausen.
"A pagan priest eventually captured Adalbert and his two companions, binding them and taking them hostage while they slept. Adalbert prayed aloud, offering his own life to God and begging forgiveness for his attackers.
'You had it always in your mouth that it was your desire to die for Christ,' he heard the pagan priest say, as he stabbed Adalbert in the chest with a lance. Six others proceeded to stab him, and he died of his wounds on April 23, 997.
A Polish prince ransomed back St. Adalbert's body from the pagans, exchanging his remains for their weight in gold. His relics were transferred to the Polish city of Gniezno, and kept in the church known as Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert."*
Mark the Evangelist
Mark the Evangelist by Il Pordenone (c. 1484 – 1539).
Mark the Evangelist, is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.
According to William Lane (1974), an "unbroken tradition" identifies Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, and John Mark as the cousin of Barnabas.
"There is a tradition which says that Mark was the youth who witnessed Judas' betrayal of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Of the four evangelists, only St. Mark relates the incident: And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked (Mark 14:51-52). His mother had a house in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 12:12), which some suppose to have been in or near the Garden. Perhaps the youth was awakened-the betrayal occurred at night-and ran out to see what the commotion was about. It is, in any case, a plausible explanation of why he was undressed."*
Peter went to Antioch, then through Asia Minor (visiting the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1), and arrived in Rome in the second year of Emperor Claudius (AD 42; Eusebius, Eccl, Hist. 2.14.6).
Somewhere on the way, Peter encountered Mark and took him as travel companion and interpreter.
Mark the Evangelist wrote down the sermons of Peter, thus composing the Gospel according to Mark (Eccl. Hist. 15–16), before he left for Alexandria in the third year of Claudius (43).
According to the Bible, Mark went to Cyprus with Barnabas after the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:39).
According to tradition, in AD 49, about 19 years after the Ascension of Jesus, Mark travelled to Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria – today, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and the Coptic Catholic Church claim to be successors to this original community. Aspects of the Coptic liturgy can be traced back to Mark himself.
He became the first bishop of Alexandria and he is honored as the founder of Christianity in Africa.
According to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 2.24.1), Mark was succeeded by Annianus as the bishop of Alexandria in the eighth year of Nero (62/63), probably, but not definitely, due to his coming death. Later Coptic tradition says that he was martyred in 68.
[" When Mark returned to Alexandria, the idolators of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional gods. In AD 68 they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead. His relics were kept in Egypt until they were transferred to Venice where they are venerated till this day".
...."Utterly spent, the meek sufferer eventually collapsed and his soul, released from its earthly tabernacle, ascended to heaven. The pagans, not content with having killed the Saint, wanted to destroy also his lifeless body, but they had scarcely lit the bonfire that was to have consumed the body before there was a mammoth thunderclap; the earth shook and the sky loosed a storm of hailstones. The fire was quenched and the pagans dispersed, allowing the Christians to come and collect the sacred remains of their martyred bishop and father in the Faith. These they placed in a stone coffin in the place where they gathered for common prayer. Later, in the ninth century, Islamic incursions caused the relics to be transferred to Venice, where they are preserved to this day in the magnificent basilica dedicated to this holy Apostle and Evangelist.
Compiled from The Lives of the Holy Apostles (from the Menology of St. Dimitri of Rostov), Holy Apostles Convent; the Life of St. Mark by Nun Barbara in Pravoslavnaya Zhizn, Jordanville; and The Prologue of Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, Lazarica Press."]*
Stained glass window of St. Patrick
from Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Junction City, Ohio
Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, along with saints Brigit of Kildare and Columba. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Lutheran Churches, Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.
According to the Confessio of Patrick, when he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family.
After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.
Patrick is believed to have converted virtually the entire island of Ireland to Christianity.
When Patrick was in his forties, he had a vivid dream that told him to return to Ireland. He wrote in his Confession:
"In the depth of the night, I saw a man named Victoricus coming as if from Ireland, with innumerable letters, and he gave me one and while I was reading I thought I heard the voice of those near the western sea call out: 'Please, holy boy, come and walk among us again.' Their cry pierced my very heart, and I could read no more, and so I awoke."
Patrick risked his life by returning to Ireland and attempting to convert the ruling Kings and Chieftains who ruled the island. According to legend, he used the shamrock (seamróg), a small three-leafed plant that resembles a miniature clover to educate the Irish about the Trinity.
Patrick baptized 120,000 Irish and established 300 churches.
According to legend, Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland, as there are no snakes there to this day. Some regard the snakes as a metaphor representing heathen religions.
Michele or Michael Ruggieri (1543 – 11 May 1607), born Pompilio Ruggieri and known in China as Luo Mingjian, was an Italian Jesuit priest and missionary. A founding father of the Jesuit China missions, co-author of the first European–Chinese dictionary, and first European translator of the Four Books of Confucianism, he has been described as the first European sinologist.
St. Francis Xavier
A painting of Saint Francis Xavier,
held in the Kobe City Museum
St. Francis Xavier - (7 April 1506 – 2 December 1552) was a great missionary to Asia, visiting India, Indonesia, Japan and other countries, and co-founder of the Society of Jesus.
Xavier ministered first to the sick and the children. Then he learned about the native people of the Pearl Fishery Coast, which had been baptized a decade earlier, but were never taught their faith. Xavier began ministering to them. He spent three years among them, but was often embarrassed by the conduct of his Portuguese countrymen who were already Catholic, but frequently misbehaved.
Xavier built 40 churches for the people of the Pearl Fishery Coast. Xavier encountered difficulty in his mission because he usually worked to convert the people first, instead of their leaders.
He was a companion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris, in 1534.
He was named the patron of Catholic missions by Pope Pius XI.