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Feast of the Forty English Martyrs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:15
October 25 is the Feast of the 40 English Martyrs who died for the faith between 1535 and 1679.

This group does not include St. Thomas More (go here for the first post in our Thomas More and his family extravaganza. And then here )here, here, here, here, here, here,here, and here.

and does includes relatively well-known martyrs like Edmund Campion and Margaret Clitheroe whose story is here.

but also lesser known but remarkable people like Nicholas Owen, the ingenious designer/builder of priest hiding places in the great houses of England.

Here is a link to a long but fascinating article on the priest holes of England with many illustrations.

Owen gave himself up to distract attention from priests hiding nearby and although he was exempt from torture under English law because he was maimed, was, in fact, tortured to death. Father Gerard wrote of him: "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. . . . He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular."

Someday I would love to leave a pilgrimage to Britain, focusing entirely upon the remarkable lay contribution to the Catholic underground of the 16th and 17th centuries when English prisons became amazing houses of formation for many lay people suffering for their faith. Margaret Clitheroe was taught to read by a priest in prison and given one of her greatest treasures: a copy of the newly minted English language Douai Bible there. Her Bible still survives and can be seen at the Bar Convent museum in York.

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