Monday, July 16, 2012

I will not "leave him now for a little mire"

Blessed John Sugar and Blessed Robert Griswold (1604):

In July of 1603, Fr John Sugar was arrested and Robert Grissold was offered the chance of escaping by his cousin, but he refused to leave the priest. Both were imprisoned in Warwick Gaol, where they languished for a year.

On 13th July 1604 John Sugar was arraigned for being a Catholic priest and was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The next day Robert was arraigned and offered his freedom if he would conform and attend the services of the Church of England. He refused and was condemned for felony, that is for being in the company and assisting a Catholic priest, and he was sentenced to be hanged.

On 16th July both men were taken to the place of execution, known as Gallows Hill. John Sugar was drawn on a hurdle. Robert was given the opportunity of not following through the mud, but he replied, ‘I have not thus far followed him to leave him now for a little mire.’ Fr Sugar was executed first. Seeing the halter with which he was to be hanged lying on the ground, Robert went and dipped it in John Sugar’s blood, and going up the ladder he said to the people, ‘Bear witness, good people, that I die here not for theft, nor for felony, but for my conscience.’ Then he forgave his persecutors and the hangman, made an act of contrition, and called on the name of Jesus. Lastly, he commended himself into the hands of Almighty God and was turned off the ladder; he hanged until he was quite dead. He was buried beneath the gallows, while the head and quarters of John Sugar were set up on the gates of Warwick.

John Sugar was 42 years old and Robert Grissold about 29. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

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