Saint Maria Zhao-Guo (mother), Saint Rosa Zhao (daughter), Saint Mary Zhao (daughter)

d. 1900

Saint Maria Zhao-Guo (mother)
Saint Rosa Zhao (daughter)
Saint Mary Zhao (daughter)

In the mid-1800s China was invaded and controlled by some of the most powerful nations of Europe. The invaders plundered the nation’s natural resources and mistreated its people. However, not all the Westerners who came to China were there to get rich and harm people. Jesuit missionaries and others introduced Christianity to China.

Many Chinese people resented the Western nations that had invaded their homeland and been cruel to their people. In 1900, this resentment exploded into the Boxer Rebellion. The Boxers wanted to drive the foreigners out of China and return to the old ways of life. Because Christianity was introduced by Westerners, the missionaries and converts to Christianity were targeted by the Boxers.

Maria Zhao-Guo and her daughters, Rosa and Mary were being chased by a band of Boxers, so they jumped into a well. The Boxers dragged them from the well and tried to force them to deny their faith. Rosa’s defiant answer was, “We have already made up our minds that we would rather die than deny our faith.” Then she turned to her mother and sister, telling them to pray to Jesus for strength to give up their lives for the faith.

The Boxers took them to the Zhao family cemetery, where they were executed. The Zhaos, along with more than fifty other Chinese martyrs, were beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1955. Saint Pope John Paul II canonized them on the centennial of their martyrdom in 2000.

Discuss: Have you ever had to stand up for your Catholic faith? Explain.

China Facts


Share with the young people the following facts about China:

  • China is the most populous nation in the world, with over 1.3 billion people, and it’s the second largest in land area.
  • China has a civilization dating back approximately 5,000 years.
  • China has been under communist rule since 1949, with no official religion, but restrictions on missionary activity have been eased in recent years and its Christian population is growing.
  • China recognizes Catholicism as one of five sanctioned religions.
  • China has approximately 12 million Catholics, according to the Vatican.