Names: Fr. Diego de Figueroa, OFM (Castile),
Fr. Juan Nieto, OFM (Burgos);
Fr. Juan García, OFM (Palencia);
nine Indian Converts; (Apalachee);
Claudio Luis de Florencia and his wife Francisca de Arteaga,
their married daughter and husband with their son and unborn child,
and a teenage daughter Antonia (Seville)
Date: February 16, 1647
Place: near San Antonio de Bacucua, Apalachee Province (Tallahassee)
The Franciscans set up missions first to the north and then to the west of St. Augustine. In the early 1600s, the Apalachee people requested that Franciscan friars live and minister among them. They even planted large crosses in hopes of attracting friars to their land.
©2017 Martyrs of La Florida Missions
In 1633, the Franciscans at last came to Apalachee. The friars desired hardships and sacrifices, and even martyrdom if God willed, to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the native people. Missions began in Apalachee, and friar and Indian learned from each other and lived together as the Indians were catechized and thousands chose baptism.
During a celebration of a Feast of St. Anthony (the moving of the saint’s relics) a small number of Apalachee men along with non-Christian natives led a devastating attack. The attack targeted both the Faith and the Spanish presence. The perpetrators trapped three Franciscans - Father Juan, Father Diego, and Father García, and Mission San Luis’ deputy governor Claudio Florencia, his wife, a married pregnant daughter along with her husband and child. The unborn child was cut from the mother’s womb. Another teenage daughter preached the word of God so boldly to her attackers that they cut out her tongue.
During the revolt, seven of eight churches were burned to the ground. Nine of the newly converted Apalachee were tortured and burned alive. Due to the heroism of the Christian Apalachee, the lives of the other Franciscans were saved.