Friday, November 16, 2012

A Lancashire Martyr in York

Blessed Edward Osbaldeston was an English martyr, born about 1560. Не was hanged, drawn, and quartered at York, 16 November 1594.

Son of Thomas Osbaldeston, and nephew of Edward Osbaldeston, of Osbaldeston Hall, near Blackburn, Lancashire, he went to the English College of Douai, then at Reims, where he was ordained deacon in December, 1583, and priest 21 September 1585. He was sent on the mission 27 April 1589, and was apprehended at night through the instrumentality of an apostate priest named Thomas Clark at an inn at Tollerton, Yorkshire, upon St. Jerome's day, 30 September 1594. He had said his first Mass on the feast day of St. Jerome, and in consequence had a great devotion to that saint.

The day following his arrest he was taken to York where he was tried at the next assizes and attained of high treason for being a priest.

Bishop Challoner prints the greater part of a letter addressed by the martyr to his fellow-prisoners in York Castle, the full text of which is still extant, and which reveals the great humility and serene trust in God with which he anticipated his death. Blessed Osbaldeston describes his faith in God and his distrust in himself and paraphrases St. Paul in proclaiming that he can do all things in Him who comforts him. He forgave Thomas Clark for betraying him and prayed that he would be able to die for the honor of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Edward Osbaldeston was among the eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1987.

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