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St. Devasahayam




St. Devasahayam was raised a high-caste Hindu, knew Sanskrit, Tamil and Malayalam, and was trained martial arts and archery. He was married, and held a civil service job in the royal treasury. Beginning in 1741, he learned about Catholicism from a French prisoner of war, converted to the faith, and was baptized on 14 May 1745 in the diocese of Kottar, India, taking the name Devasahayam, the Tamil equivalent of the meaning of the name Lazarus. Lazarus drew the ire of and fell into confrontation with authorities because he mixed with lower castes, something not acceptable for higher-caste people. He was arrested on 23 February 1749 for his faith, he was tortured and abused, and then for three years was hauled from village to village as an example of what would happen to Christian converts. He spent the time in prayer and teaching any who would listen, and priests would sneak him Communion in his cell. Martyr.

Born

  • 23 April 1712 in Nattalam, Tamil Nadu, India

Died

  • shot by firing squad 14 January 1752 in Aralvaimozhi, Tamil Nadu, India

  • body thrown onto a rock pile and left for wild animals

  • remains recovered and buried in front of the altar of the Church of Saint Francis in Kottar, India

Venerated

  • 28 June 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI (decree of martyrdom)

Beatified

  • 2 December 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI

Canonized

  • 15 May 2022 by Pope Francis

  • the canonization miracle involved a 24-week fetus who stopped moving and whose heart stopped beating in India in 2013; the mother, who was Catholic and had a devotion to Blessed Lazarus, began praying for his intercession for the baby; within an hour, she felt the baby kicking, tests showed that the heart beat had resumed, and the infant was later born with no complications.

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