Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint. Also known as San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, he died a martyr in Nagasaki, Japan, on Sept. 29, 1637, at the age of 34.
Accused of murdering a Spaniard in 1636, Ruiz boarded a ship carrying a group of missionaries to Formosa (Taiwan) and Japan. Ruiz accompanied his missionary companions to Nagasaki, where Christians were being persecuted due to Japan's wariness of foreign colonialism.
According to accounts, the Japanese promised Ruiz that they would free him if he would denounce Christianity. He refused and was tortured, hung upside down until he died. His martyrdom and a miracle attributed to his intervention led to his elevation to Sainthood.
Pope John Paul II beatified Ruiz in 1981 during his visit to the Philippines, later canonizing him as the Philippines’ first saint in 1987.
San Lorenzo Ruiz is the patron saint of the Philippines as well as of overseas Filipino workers, Filipino youth and Chinese Filipinos, among others. His Feast Day is on September 28, the day before he was martyred.