Saint Rémy Isoré

Saint Rémy Isoré

Rémy Isoré


  • Death: 06/19/1900
  • Nationality (place of birth): France

Rémy Isoré (1852-1900) was killed in the movement to persecute Catholics and expel foreigners from China after the coup d'état of 1898 when the Dowager Empress Ci Xi imprisoned her nephew, the young Emperor Guangxu. Father Isoré was born in France where he studied for the diocesan priesthood but he decided to enter the Jesuits before he was ordained. He entered the novitiate at Saint-Acheul in 1875 and was sent to China in 1882; after four more years of training, he was ordained a priest.

When the Boxer Rebellion began, Isoré was stationed in Weixian, in the Zhili district of Tianjin. He had left his mission to get a rest break at another Jesuit community when news arrived that Boxers were present near Weixin. Isoré did not want to leave his people alone in this moment of danger so he attempted to return to his own mission. When he got to the village of Wuyi, where Father Andlaeur was stationed, Isoré noticed the Boxer insignia on the village gate, indicating that they were inside. The Boxers had come to free some companions who had been captured and imprisoned there since the previous winter.

Isoré decided to stay with his brother Jesuit. The next afternoon the two Jesuits heard swords pounding on the door of their residence. They went into an adjoining chapel and locked the door behind them, but the Boxers easily broke through the outer door and then the chapel door. They found the two priests kneeling on the floor in prayer and attacked them with lances, killing them immediately. Then they beheaded them and displayed the heads of the Jesuits on the village gates as a brutal warning of what awaited Christians who did not return to their ancestral religion.

Martyres in China

Originally Collected and edited by: Tom Rochford, SJ