Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims. Friars Berard, Peter, Adjutus, Accursio and Odo traveled by ship in 1219. Morocco is in the northwest corner of Africa and the journey was long and dangerous. The group arrived at Seville, Spain. They started preaching immediately, on streets and in public squares. People treated them as if they were crazy and had them arrested. To save themselves from being sent back home, the friars declared they wanted to see the sultan. So the governor of Seville sent them to Morocco.

The sultan received the friars and gave them freedom to preach in the city. But some of the people did not like this. They complained to the authorities. The sultan tried to save the friars by sending them to live in Marrakesh, on the west coast of Morocco. A Christian prince and friend of the sultan, Dom Pedro Fernandez, took them into his home. But the friars knew that their mission was to preach the faith. They returned to the city as often as they could. This angered some people who did not want to hear the friars’ message. These complaints angered the sultan so much that one day when he saw the friars preaching, he ordered them to stop or leave the country. Since they did not feel justified about doing either one, they were beheaded right then and there. It was January 16, 1220.

Dom Pedro went to claim the bodies of the martyrs. Eventually he brought their relics to Holy Cross Church in Coimbra, Portugal. The friars’ mission to Morocco had been brief and an apparent failure. But the results were surprising. The story of these heroes fired the first Franciscans with the desire to be missionaries and martyrs too. It was their particular witness that inspired a young man to dedicate his life to God as a Franciscan priest. We know him as St. Anthony of Padua.

Love uCATHOLIC?
Get our inspiring content delivered to your inbox every morning - FREE!

Comments

16 COMMENTS

  1. St Francis of Assis and the six Francians Fairs who gave their life to preach the Gospel pray for us that we too will be willing to give our lives to spread the word – PLEASE PRAY FOR US AND THE WHOLE WORLD

    St Anthony hear our prayer as we pray for the conversion of our children, daughters-in-law and our gran=children and the youth of the world

  2. The article says 6 friars accepted the call from St Francis of Assisii to go to Morocco, but only names 5. Is there information on who the 6th was and how his mission continued? Is the number 6 incorrect?

  3. Amazing these priest and many more gave their life up for the cause. Lord please do not put us to the test and if you do give us the Grace to stay strong. Please pray for my brother’s family as they are going through a rough time. Amen

  4. Lord God, You sanctified the beginnings of the Order of Friars Minor by the glorious struggle of Your holy martyrs Berard and companions. As they did not hesitate to give up their lives for You so may we bear staunch witness to You by our lives.

    Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Berard and companions, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

    Amen.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here