ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 5, 2024 / 15:40 pm
In the 16th century, a young Franciscan friar from Mexico was blown off course en route back to his homeland from the Philippines, landing on the shores of Japan. San Felipe de Jesus — St. Philip of Jesus — is now celebrated Feb. 5 in the Church for his martyr’s witness given on that island.
Felipe de las Casas Ruiz was born on May 1, 1572, in Mexico City to Alonso de las Casas and Doña Antonia Ruiz Martínez, who both emigrated from Spain in 1571 to the viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico) shortly after their marriage.
Legend says that Felipe was naughty as a child and that his parents hired a nanny to take care of him. But by all accounts, the young boy just had a restless and curious spirit with a drive to be active and seek adventure.
In the family’s orchard was a withered fig tree and one day, the story goes, Felipe did something that made his nanny very angry, causing her to exclaim sarcastically: “Holy Philip? Yes, when the fig tree comes back to life!” Curiously, several testimonies collected for Felipe’s cause pointed out that on the day of his death, the fig tree in his father’s house became green.