We know the Catholic Church has canonized thousands of holy men and women who are exemplars of the Fait—so many that it’s easy to get lost amongst the crowd. Especially if you have a popular Catholic name like Catherine, Margaret, John, or Peter.
Peter was the first pope, one of the twelve apostles, the rock upon whom Jesus built his Church. But, besides him, how many other Peters has the Church canonized? You might be surprised to know that there have been over 120 Peters canonized! That’s a lot! Here are 10 you might never have heard of.
Not much is known about this dude except that his name is Peter and he was martyred in Africa alongside some companions during the Roman persecution. His feast day is December 9.
St. Peter Ch’oe Hyong
This Peter lived in the 1800s in Korea and was imprisoned for his faith. After he was released, he served as the assistant to St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon until the latter was martyred. Peter then married. Though employed as a merchant, Peter spent his free time making rosaries and copying Catholic books. He later started a printing press that printed thousands of Catholic books in the Korean language. After being found out, Peter and an accomplis, St. John Baptist Chon Chang-un were beheaded.
St. Peter of Saint Joseph Betancur
Born into a poor family in the Canary Islands, Peter worked as a shepherd in his youth, finding nature a helpful invitation to prayer. Wanting to serve the poor in the New World, Peter set off for Guatemala. After some time there, he became a Third Order Franciscan, noting that he felt God calling him to remain in the world. He placed himself in the service of African slaves, Native Americans, and other individuals in need. Later, he founded a congregation to care for the poor, the Bethlehemite Brothers and Sisters. He is the patron of the Canary Islands and Guatemala and his feast day is April 18.
St. Peter Hong Pyong-ju
Peter lived in Korea and was a devoted catechist alongside his younger brother Paul. During the Korean persecution of Christians in 1839, Peter and his brother hid missionary priests. They were arrested and tortured, but neither apostatized nor betrayed their fellow Christians. For this, they were beheaded on day apart in 1840. Peter was 42 years old.
St. Peter Van
Peter Van lived in Vietnam in the 1850s. He was a catechist to his people there and was then arrested for his actions and faith and beheaded. His feast day is May 10.
Bl. Peter To Rot
He was born in a village near the capital of New Britain in Papa New Guinea and raised Catholic. He was very intelligent and was thought to follow in his father’s footsteps of leadership. At the insistence of their parish priest, his father agreed to let Peter become a catechist. He was even-tempered, calm, kind, and never moody, and practiced what he preached. Peter married and had two children and continued his work as a catechist, even when the Japanese occupation became violent towards Christians. Eventually, Peter was arrested and sentenced to two months in prison. After this, he was sent to a work camp. He was never released. Peter was given a lethal injection by the Japanese, who tried to cover it up as having died of illness, and his body was turned over to his family and villagers. They gave him a Christian burial as a chief, though they held the service in silence for fear of being discovered. (Note: His name is pronounced “toe rote”.)
St. Peter of Mount Athos
What is known of him is known solely through legend, except that he is widely accepted as the first hermit to reside on Mount Athos in northern Greece and he lived during the 8th century. According to legend, he was originally a soldier who was captured by the Muslims and imprisoned until released through the intervention of St. Simeon. He then went to Rome and was granted the monastic habit by the pope himself. Peter then had a vision from Our Lady and journeyed to Mount Athos where he took up the life of a hermit, remaining there for half a century. His feast day is June 12.
St. Peter Gonzalez
Peter was born in Astorga, Spain, entered the Dominicans and became the chaplainand confessor of King St. Ferdinand of Castile. He preached a campaign against the Moors, and then cared for the captured Muslims. Peter also cared for sailors, who dubbed him Thelmo, after St. Elmo. He is the patron saint of sailors and his feast day is April 14.
St. Peter Nolasco
Peter Nolasco was born in Languedoc, France in 1189. After taking part in the crusade against the heretic Albigensians of southern France, he became a tutor of King James I of Aragon and then settled at Barcelona. There he became friends with St. Raymond of Penafort, and in 1218, they began the Mercedarians, devoted to the ransoming of Christian captives. Twice Peter went to Africa to serve as a captive, and it was reported that during one journey to Granada and Valencia he won the release from Moorish jails of some four hundred captive Christians. His feast day is January 28.
St. Peter of Asche
Peter was a native of Asche, near Brussels, Belgium. When he entered the Franciscans as a lay brother, he served as Guardian of the Franciscan house at Gorkum, Holland, and participated in the efforts of the Franciscans to convert the local Calvinists. He was seized by Protestant forces and, with four priests, was taken to Briel. There he endured severe tortures before being hanged at the ruined monastery of Ruggen. His feast day is July 9.