Francisco de Jesús, Vicente de San Antonio, Martín de San Nicolás and Melchor de San Agustín were the first Recollects to go to the mission in Japan. All four were martyred shortly after beginning their hard work.

The missions, social projects and solidarity actions are a constant in the action of the Augustinian Recollect Family. The Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine has always lived in mission, since its very birth was motivated by the opening of the first evangelization missions in the Philippines in the 17th century. Since then, he has carried out his evangelizing activity following the mandate of Jesus in the places today called “frontiers”: there where it is necessary to defend the dignity of human life, social justice, equal opportunities, the defense of the most vulnerable.

Three years before the arrival of the Recollects the Philippine Church was implicated in the evangelization of Japan. In July 1622 the Province wanted to join in this effort and organized between 1623 and 1632 six expeditions, of which only two arrived to their destination. The first expedition was composed of the Recollects Francisco de Jesús and Vicente de San Antonio. They were captured in 1629 and burnt alive on the 3rd of September 1632. The second expedition left Manila at the beginning of August 1632 with Melichor de San Agustín and Martín de San Nicolás. By the 2nd of November they were imprisoned and were burnt alive forty days later in Nagasaki.

One of the fundamental aspects of the evangelization of Japan was the collaboration of the laity, which showed that their courage and commitment was no less than that of the religious. In October 1632 there were already some 300 confraternity lay people who had been martyred.

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