205 Japanese martyrs of the early seventeenth century were all beatified by Pope Pius IX, July 7, 1867. Among them, Charles Spinola and 51 other "Martyrs of Nagasaki" put to death the same day, September 10, 1622. They are liturgically commemorated on February 4.
When expressing the desire to enter the Society of Jesus he faces opposition from his family. During this first period of training he taught briefly in Lecce where he knew Father Bernardino Realino preacher of popular missions in the city and its surroundings, and well known confessor. He returned to Naples to study philosophy there with classmate Louis de Gonzague three years his junior . Due to vomiting of blood he was sent to the infirmary of the Roman College (Rome). Taking advantage of his enforced leisure he was under Christopher Clavius, where he became an excellent student .
He continues philosophy and theology courses at the college of Brera (Milan) while teaching mathematics there. He was ordained in 1594 and sent to Cremona to prepare the foundation of a new college . .
His missionary application was finally accepted and Spinola left Europe through the port of Lisbon in 1596. Adrift near Brazil his ship is boarded by English privateers who bring him prisoner to England ... The ransom paid, he was released and returned to Lisbon. He then made his final religious profession (28 October 1598) .
In 1599, he departed for the Far East. He arrived in Macao in August 1600. His scientific knowledge is put to use to draw the plans for the new church of the Mother of God to replace the one that burned in November 1595. He starts the reconstruction.
Finally he arrived in Japan in August 1602 , there he studied the Japanese language. Then he founded and directed an academy of mathematics and astronomy at Miyako (now Kyoto), while organizing a Marian Congregation for the seminarians of Kyoto and another for catechists. He campaigned for the admission of candidates in the Japanese Society of Jesus.
His reputation as a man of science reaches the emperor but he remains in Japan, as the steward of the missions, with residence in Nagasaki.
The situation changes completely when the new emperor ordered the strict implementation of the Decree (1614 ) of his predecessor Tokugawa Ieyasu expelling all foreigners (including missionaries) and banning the Christian religion. Spinola hides and continues his ministry in hiding. But he was arrested Dec. 13, 1618. Locked in prison in Omura, near Nagasaki where he remained for four years. This does not prevent him from writing letters in which he extols his martyrdom for Christ. His letters, which are signed "Carlo prisoner to Santa Fe," circulate in Europe and do a lot to promote missionary vocations.
Always an architect, he designed a meticulous plan in one of his letters from his prison of Omura ... In prison he is master of novices for seven young Japanese catechists (prisoners like him) who want to die as a religious Jesuits. The seven will die before their religious profession.
Charles Spinola was killed September 10, 1622 , on the hill Nishizaka in Nagasaki. In what is called the "Grand Nagasaki martyrdom", 52 Christians were burned alive or beheaded men, women and children, foreign missionaries and priests from various religious orders, laity and Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese catechists. They were beatified together July 7, 1867, by Pope Pius IX.