Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Endurance until Death: Blessed John Story

When I was writing Supremacy and Survival, somewhere around draft # 14 or 15, my husband said that I needed to create some story to show how all the changes in religious practice under the Tudors influenced the ordinary person in England. So I added details about what a fictional family might experience through the generations; it might be pretty effective. Then in continuing research, I discovered this martyr, John Story or John Storey. He attended Oxford during the reign of Henry VIII, served in Parliament under Edward VI and endured imprisonment for opposing the young king's Prayer Book legislation. He fled to the Continent and exile in Louvain, the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium) and returned to England when Mary I came to the throne and served Bishop Bonner as a canon lawyer during the heresy trials. Once again, when Elizabeth I's Parliament started to legislate the Anglican religious settlement with the Book of Common Prayer and Thirty-Nine Articles, Story opposed them, ended up in prison, escaped, was captured, and escaped a second time to return in exile to the Spanish Netherlands. Elizabethan agents kidnapped him there, and although he had renounced his allegiance to her in favor of King Philip II of Spain, brought him back to England. He endured torture in the Tower of London, was tried and executed on June 1, 1571. St. Edmund Campion, on his way to Douai to study for the Catholic priesthood, witnessed his trial. Thus John Story endured all the religious changes and remained true to his faith, even unto dying for it, throughout the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.

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