FROM these melancholy reflections we may usefully turn to consider one of the most glorious pages in the history of the English College in Rome; as glorious as, if not indeed more glorious, than any similar Institution can boast of possessing: the page which records the martyrdom for the Faith of so many of its alumni. Proud indeed must be every son of the Roman Alma Mater at the thought of the heroic sufferings and deaths of so many of the old students of the Venerabile, and of the fact that the very foundations of the College were washed, as it were, by the blood of the many martyrs who went forth as priests from its walls to help to preserve the Catholic religion in England. They were true heroes in every sense of the word, knowing as they did that they were preparing themselves in their college life for certain persecution and possible death, in the exercise of their ministry in England. This is why the great St. Charles [Borromeo] of Milan thought it an honour to receive these young men when passing through his metropolitan city on their way to and from their own country. This is why the sweet St. Philip, who lived close to the College, on meeting them in the streets was wont to salute them with the words of the hymn for the feast of the Holy Innocents, Salvete Flores Martyrum.
In addition to this connection to the Holy Innocents, Gasquet highlights how the students at the Venerabile commemorated today's feast of St. Stephen, the proto-martyr of all Christian martyrs: