The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Red.
On 4 May 1535, at Tyburn in London, there died three Carthusian monks, the first of many martyrs of the English Reformation. Of these martyrs, forty-two have been canonized, and a further 242 have been declared Blessed; but the true number of those who died on the scaffold, perished in prison, or were tortured or persecuted for their faith cannot now be reckoned. The persecution lasted a hundred and fifty years and left a permanent mark on English culture: to this day Catholics continue to suffer certain minor disabilities under English law.
The martyrs celebrated today came from every walk of life. There were rich and poor; married and single; men and women. They are remembered for the example they gave of constancy in their faith and courage in the face of persecution. See the article in Wikipedia
, which explains the context of their martyrdom and why it was deemed necessary.
From 2001, there are also celebrated on this day the forty martyrs of England and Wales who were canonized on 25 October 1970 and formerly celebrated on that day. They include Saints Cuthbert Mayne, John Houghton, Edmund Campion, and Richard Gwynn, as well as Saints John Roberts and Ambrose Barlow from the Benedictine monastery of St Gregory at Douay (now at Downside Abbey in Somerset),
See the comprehensive article in Wikipedia
, which has links to the biographies of each saint.
St John Houghton (c. 1486-1535)
St Robert Lawrence (?-1535)
St Richard Reynolds (?-1535)
St Augustine Webster (?-1535)
John Houghton was born around 1486, he was probably educated at Cambridge, but cannot be identified among surviving records. Similarly, no certain records can be found of his ordination. He joined the London Charterhouse in 1515, became abbot of the Charterhouse of Beauvale in Nottinghamshire in 1531 and in November of that year, was elected Prior of the London house. In 1534, he asked that he and his house be exempted from the oaths required under the new Act of Succession, which resulted in his being arrested along with the bursar, and taken to the Tower of London. However, by the end of May, they had been persuaded that the oath was consistent with their Catholicism, if the clause “as far as the law of Christ allows” were to be added, and they returned to the Charterhouse, where (in the presence of a large armed force) the whole community made the required professions. In the following year the community was called upon to make the new oath as prescribed by the 1534 Act of Supremacy, which recognised Henry as the head of the Church in England. Again, Houghton, this time accompanied by the heads of the other two English Carthusian houses (Robert Lawrence, prior for some years of the Beauvale Charterhouse, and Augustine Webster, prior of another Charterhouse, at Axholme), pleaded for an exemption, but were this time arrested by Thomas Cromwell.
They were called before a special commission in April 1534, and sentenced to death, along with Richard Reynolds, a Brigittine monk from Syon Abbey. They were all hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on May 4, 1535. The three priors were taken to Tyburn in their habits. From his prison cell in the Tower, Thomas More saw them being drawn to Tyburn on hurdles and exclaimed to his daughter Meg: “Look, Meg,” he said, “these blessed Fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage.” In the Chapter House of the Carthusian Priory of Parkminster in England, there is a painting depicting the martyrdom of the three priors.
|Other saints: Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis (1840 - 1912)|
She was born in Quebec and became a nun with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1857. In 1880 she founded the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, devoted to serving and caring for the clergy by looking after their households.
See also a brief history
of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.
|Other saints: Saint Conleth (- 519)|
He was an Irish hermit and metalworker who was persuaded by St Brigid to act as priest for her monastic community in Kildare, and he became the first Bishop of Kildare in around 490. In 519 he set out on pilgrimage to Rome but was attacked by wolves in the forests of Leinster and died on 4 May 519. See the article in Wikipedia
|Other saints: The Beatified Martyrs of England and Wales|
4 May (where celebrated)
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries innumerable men and women from England and Wales suffered persecution for the ancient faith of their country. Many gave their lives for the supremacy of the Pope, the unity of the Church, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Of these martyrs, forty-two have now been canonized. Some one hundred and sixty others have been declared Blessed, and their common celebration is kept on this day. The following have connections with Wales:
William Davies (b. in North Wales, probably Croes yn Eirias, Denbighshire, date uncertain; executed at Beaumaris Castle, 27 July 1593) was a Welsh Roman Catholic priest. There is a chapel in Anglesey built as a memorial to him.
Charles Mahoney (Mahony; alias Meehan) (b. after 1639; executed at Ruthin, Denbighshire, 12 August 1679) was an Irish Franciscan.
Richard Flower (or Lloyd), a Welsh layman, aged 22, executed at Tyburn, 1588.
Humphrey Pritchard, a Welsh serving man arrested with Thomas Belson in Oxford 1589, and executed there.
Roger Cadwallador (b. at Stretton Sugwas, near Hereford, in 1568; executed at Leominster, 27 August 1610) was an English Roman Catholic priest.
Nicholas Wheeler, seminary priest from Herefordshire, executed at Tyburn 1586, aged 36.
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Apocalypse 2:10-11 ©|
Do not be afraid of the sufferings that are coming to you: I tell you, the devil is going to send some of you to prison to test you, and you must face an ordeal for ten days. Even if you have to die, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life for your prize.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Apocalypse 3:21 ©|
Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Apocalypse 19:7,9 ©|
Let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!