(Crux) Despite being history’s first Jesuit pope, Pope Francis to date has elevated only a couple of new Jesuit saints. The short list includes St. Peter Faber, the first Jesuit priest and theologian, for whom Francis waived the usual requirement of a second miracle, and José de Anchieta, a Spanish Jesuit missionary in Brazil in the 16th century.
A region of Italy, however, is now clamoring for the Jesuit pope to add another member of his order to the list.
In Sicily, the diocese of Mazara del Vallo is petitioning the pope to accelerate the cause of its native son, Father Giovanni Matteo Adami, a native Sicilian and Jesuit who was martyred in Japan, given that 2016 is the 340th anniversary of his birth.
Born in 1576, Adami was part of an upper-class family and his uncle wanted him to become a nobleman through military service. Instead, at the age of 16 he declared his desire to enter the Society of Jesus.
Like his fellow Jesuits of the same era St. Francis Xavier and Matteo Ricci, Adami was sent to serve in Asia. He left for Macau in 1602, spent some time in India doing theological studies, and reached Japan in 1604.
After Japan’s imperial government declared a series of anti-Christian edicts in 1612, Adami was exiled to Macau for a time. He returned to Japan in 1618 and moved around seeking refuge from anti-Christian persecution, eventually arriving in Nagasakin in 1630 through what is today Tokyo.
Today, the Jesuit archives in Rome preserve correspondence he sent back to headquarters between 1615 and 1624. [More]