Catholic Child and Youth Martyrs, 1588-2022


McCleary, Rachel M. “Catholic Child and Youth Martyrs, 1588-2022.” Catholic Historical Review 108, no. 3 (2022): 469-508.


Child and youth martyrs throughout the history of Christianity are few. New emphasis on their presence in the twentieth century raises questions about the nature of sanctity. Using a new data set on child, adolescent, and youth martyrs beatified and canonized since 1588, this article discusses early modern to contemporary models of sanctity for males and females while at the same time showing how the ancient motif of puer senex continues to be relevant in their narratives. With Catholic teachings adapting to contemporary views on child agency and autonomy, several problems arise, requiring the Church to re-evaluate its models of sanctity for young people.