OCTOBER 1. anna wang, who ascended to heaven while wreathed in flowers
Lived 1886 to 1900
Anna was born at "the scene of many martyrdoms." She was a Catholic maiden who lost her mother when she was 4. When Anna was 10 years old, she decided never to wed but to dedicate herself to Christ alone. Against her will, her family arranged for eleven-year-old Anna to be married. On her wedding day, Anna escaped and fled home.
During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, the government banned the practice of Western religion and decreed that any believer who failed to renounce their faith would be killed. That July, the Boxer Bandits rounded up all of the Catholics in Anna's village and herded them into a room called the East room. The captives were given one night to decide their fate. If they chose to reject Catholicism, they were to pass into the adjoining West room. When her stepmother attempted to drag her through the opening, Anna clung to the door frame.
The sky darkened, and the Boxers lit candles they'd pilfered from the church. Anna said: "the glory of heaven is a billion, billion times more glorious than those beautiful flames!"
ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
Anna and her companions prayed through the night and, in the morning, slaughterers led them to the execution field. There, an executioner axed five women with their children, including a ten-month-old baby.
Anna prayed aloud while kneeling and stared at the sky. She appeared as if she were no longer in this world. Instead of acting as someone about to be executed, "she appeared as if she were in the middle of a celebration."
When a soldier/bandit urged her to give up her faith, Anna was so lost in prayer that she didn't hear him. He poked her in the forehead. Anna said "Do not touch me; I am a Christian. I prefer to die." The soldier/bandit sliced off her arm and asked: "Do you deny your religion?" Anna pointed to a nearby church with her still-attached arm and announced that she was betrothed to Jesus.
"THE DOOR OF HEAVEN IS OPEN"
The soldier/bandit struck her remaining arm, and Anna knelt and grew radiant. She said "the door of heaven is open." Then she whispered Christ's name three times, lowering her head and exposing her neck to the ax. The soldier/bandit made a final blow, severing her head from her body.
According to one eye witness, "when Anna was martyred, I saw her ascend into heaven, wearing a blue and green silk dress with a flower crown on her head."
A PILE OF INCORRUPT BODIES
After a group beheading, Anna and her fellow Catholics were thrown in a pit. Eighteen months later, their bodies were exhumed and found to be incorrupt.