Saint Joseph Zhang Dapeng (1754-1815 AD)
Feast Day: July 9 (Holy Martyrs of China)
St. Joseph Zhang Dapeng was born in 1754 to a Buddhist family. His only son, Dewang Dapeng, was born in 1793. Zhang Dapeng was a merchant and he was baptized when he was 46 years old. His baptism name was Joseph. After his baptism, he started to preach the Gospel as a lay catechist. He became the heart of the mission in Guiyang; he taught over a thousand people and brought them into the Church.
Because of his preaching, the Mandarins wanted to imprison him because some of the local Chinese disliked foreign religious beliefs. Soon, his son was captured by the Mandarins and died in 1813. Zhang Dapeng heard of his son’s death and he fled to Sichuan. Finally, Zhang Dapeng was captured and was imprisoned in the year 1814. On March 12, 1815, Zhang Dapeng was strangled to death at the age of 61.
Joseph Zhang Dapeng was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000 as one of the holy martyr Saints of China.