Saint Marie-Adolphine Dierkx (1866–1900, born Anna Catharina or Kaatje Dierkx) was a Dutch nun who died for her faith in China during the Boxer Rebellion and was canonised in 2000.[1][2] She is one of the group known as the Martyr Saints of China who were canonised by Pope John Paul II on 1 October 2000.[3][4][5][6] Her birthplace has been converted into a chapel.


A nun in a white habit holding a crucifix
BornKaatje Dierkx
(with many variations)
8 March 1866
Ossendrecht, North Brabant, Netherlands
Died9 July 1900 (age 34)
Taiyuan, China
Beatified24 November 1946 by Pope Pius XII
Canonized1 October 2000, Rome by Pope John Paul II
Feast9 July as one of the Martyr Saints of China


She was born Anna Catharina Dierkx on 8 March 1866 in Ossendrecht, North Brabant, Netherlands.[7] She was one of six children in a poor family, and her mother died while she was young. She worked in a chicory-processing factory and in domestic service before joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Antwerp in 1893 and taking the name Marie-Adolphine. In 1899 she was one of seven sisters from the Franciscan order who went to China to help at an orphanage. The orphanage, soon cared for 200 children and Marie-Adolphine was placed in charge of the laundry.[6][8]

On 9 July the nuns were murdered as part of the Taiyuan massacre.[8] Marie-Adolphine was beatified by Pope Pius XII on 24 November 1946. She was canonised joyfully by Pope John Paul II on 1 October 2000.[9]

Wooden statue in St Gertrude's church Ossendrecht
Statue in St Gertrude's church Ossendrecht

There are two statues of Marie-Adolphine in St Gertrude's church Ossendrecht, one in stone[10] and one in wood.[11] The house where she was born has been converted into a chapel, the Adolphinekapel, to which pilgrimages are made. The converted chapel was first opened in 1954 and in 1966 the neighbouring building was purchased and demolished so that the Adolphineplein could be extended. In 1983 the first chapel was replaced by a new chapel. The new chapel still hinted that it had been converted from her birthplace. It was opened by the Bishop of Breda Hubertus Ernst on 29 May 1983.[12]

Her nameEdit

Her names appear in sources in many versions. Some of this appears to be confusion caused when her name was registered.[13] Her religious name appears as Maria, Marie or Mary, with or without a hyphen, Adolphine or Adolfine; her birth surname is spelled Dierkx, Diercks, Dierks, Dirks; she was Anne or Anna, Catharina or Catherine, known as Kaatje, or Judoca (her mother's name).[12] Her father further complicated the records when he registered her as dead when she was three, but it was her sister who had died, and the records remained in error.[13]


  1. ^ "Saint Marie Adolphine Dierks". CatholicSaints.Info. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  2. ^ van Veldhoven, A.D.J. (12 November 2013). "Dirks, Judoca Catharina (1866-1900)". (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  3. ^ "120 Martyrs of China". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Agostino Zhao Rong (+1815) and 119 companions in China (+1648-1930)". Vatican News Service. 1 October 2000. Retrieved 1 May 2021. Blessed Mary Adolfine (in saec: Ann Dierk)
  5. ^ "Martyrs of China: Canonized Martyrs (†1648-1930)". Hagiography Circle. Retrieved 1 May 2021. Judoca [Anna] Catharina Dirks [Kaatje Dierkx] (Marie-Adolphine) ...
  6. ^ a b Caspers, Charles M. A. (2005). "The living on of Marie-Adolphine of Ossendrecht, one of the 120 Martyrs of China". In Leemans, Johan; Mettepenningen, Jürgen (eds.). More Than a Memory: The Discourse of Martyrdom and the Construction of Christian Identity in the History of Christianity. Peeters Publishers. pp. 395–418. ISBN 978-90-429-1688-3.
  7. ^ "Saint Marie Adolphine Dierks – Saint of the Day – July 9". Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Saints and Blessed". Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Address of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Dutch National Jubilee Pilgrimage". 7 November 2000. Retrieved 1 May 2021. Sr Mary Adolphine Dierk and her sisters, martyred in China, whom I had the joy of canonizing on 1 October last
  10. ^ "Interieur, beeld (Zuster Maria Adolphine)". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Interieur, beeld van zuster Maria Adolphine (hout)". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Ossendrecht, Z. Marie Adolphine (Kaatje Dierkx)". (in Dutch). Bedevaarten in Nederland. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  13. ^ a b van Veldhoven, A.D.J. (2013-11-12). "Dirks, Judoca Catharina (1866-1900)". Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 May 2021.

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