Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila, between 1600 to 1610. Living under the same roof with the Dominican priests, he served as a sacristan at the convent of Binondo Church in his younger years. There he learned from them not just the Spanish language, but most importantly, the Catholic Church’s catechism. Several years after, Lorenzo earned the title of “escribano” or notary. He also became an active member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary—an organization devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Lorenzo later got married and had three kids.
In 1636, a murder was committed in Manila. The Spanish authorities conducted a manhunt for the perpetrator and Lorenzo was considered one of their primary suspects. Knowing that Lorenzo was innocent yet could never escape being incriminated, some Dominican missionaries who were bound for Japan urged him to join them. He denied their invitation since he did not intend to leave behind his wife and children. Assured of their return journey when the issue has died down, Lorenzo embarked on a long journey to the distant land.
In those times, however, Japan decreed a massive persecution against Christians. One of the severe forms of punishments for those caught was the "hanging in the pit" on the hills of Nagasaki. This severity entails that the prisoners be induced with pails upon pails of water before their feet are tied to a horizontal beam, with their bodies hanged upside down and their heads occupying the amount of the pit filled with human wastes. Lorenzo went through this agonizing punishment when he refused to renounce his belief in Christ Jesus. When he asked to abandon his faith that he may be freed from this torture, he answered: "I'm a Christian and I will remain a Christian even to the point of death. Only to God will I offer my life. Even if I had a thousands lives, I would still offer them to him.”