Nov. 29 - Blessed Denis of the Nativity

Blessed Denis of the Nativity (1600-1638) was born as Pierre Berthelotin in France and became a sailor at the age of twelve. He had a successful career as pilot-in-chief and cartographer in service to the Kings of France and Portugal, even being knighted for bravery. He later chose the religious life and became a Carmelite friar, taking the name Dionysius (Denis) of the Nativity. He was sent by his superiors on a diplomatic and missionary mission to the Sultan of Aceh (Sumatra). Once there, all the members of his party were seized at the instigation of the Dutch authorities. They were tortured by their Islamic captors and were told to renounce their Catholic faith and become Muslims. They refused and were martyred. St Denis was martyred last, as he desired, in order to be able to strengthen the others. He was killed by a scimitar blow that split his head in two. His last words were: “Jesus, Mary.”

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