Sunday, April 20, 2014
English Martyrs on April 20
From 2012, here is a compilation of posts on English martyrs from the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I--the Nun of Kent and her companions might not be considered martyrs for Jesus Christ and his Church, but they certainly were victims of Henry VIII's break from the Catholic Church.
On April 20, 1534, Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent, was executed at Tyburn, London, along with monks and priests named as her co-conspirators.
On April 20, 1584, Father James Bell and layman John Finch were martyred in Lancaster. Pope Pius XI beatified them in 1929.
On April 20, 1586, two priests captured in the house of Roger Line, the husband of St. Anne Line, were hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn: Blessed Richard Sargent and Blessed William Thomson--both beatified by Blessed John Paul II. Roger Line and William Heigham, Anne Line's brother, would both be exiled as they were taken in the arrest of the two priests.
On April 20, 1602, three more priests were executed at Tyburn--and among them another with connection to St. Anne Line--Blesseds Thomas Tichborne, Robert Watkinson, and Francis Page. Father Francis Page was the priest who was beginning to say Mass for the Feast of the Purification (Candlesmas) when the safe house St. Anne Line was managing was raided. He escaped, and she suffered in his stead--that time.
While it at first seems strange to post about this series of executions and martyrdom on Easter Sunday, we should remember that the promise of resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come were not just notions the martyrs held. They believed in Faith and thus would suffer and die. As Chesterton and others have noted, no one would dare die for Jesus and His Church if they did not believe in the glories of Easter!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!