Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Feast of St. Stephen and the English Catholic Martyrs

St. Stephen is course the proto-martyr and his imitation of Christ was so exact that he spoke the same words of forgiveness for his executioners. Because the Venerable English College in Rome was like "a nursery for martyrs", the custom arose of one of their seminarians preaching on the feast of St. Stephen, according to this blog:

The English College gained a reputation as a nursery of martyrs. Owing to the number of its martyred students, the custom arose of a student of the college preaching, on the theme of martyrdom, before the Pope on St Stephen’s Day.

On St Stephen’s Day, 1581, Blessed John Cornelius, who had entered the English College, Rome, in April 1580, preached before Pope Gregory XIII. (Pope Gregory XIII is best remembered for producing, with the help of Christopher Clavius S J, the Gregorian calendar.) In his sermon, John called the College the “Pontifical Seminary of Martyrs”. Thirteen years later, on 4th July 1594, John Cornelius was martyred at Dorchester, Oxfordshire. He was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

On St Stephen’s Day 1642, the recently ordained Welshman, David Lewis, preached before Pope Urban VIII in the Lateran Basilica. He preached in Latin and his sermon, entitled “Corona Christi pro spinis gemmea” was on the Martyrdom of St Stephen, the first Christian Martyr. David Lewis was martyred at Usk on 27th August 1679. He was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

Here is the College's Litany of Martyrs:

St Ralph Sherwin, 1581
St Luke Kirby, 1582
Blessed John Shert, 1582
Blessed William Lacey, 1582
Blessed Thomas Cottam, 1582
Blessed William Hart, 1583
Blessed George Haydock, 1584
Blessed Thomas Hemerford, 1584
Blessed John Munden, 1584
Blessed John Lowe, 1586
Blessed Robert Morton, 1588
Blessed Richard Leigh, 1588
Blessed Edward James, 1588
Blessed Christopher Buxton, 1588
Blessed Christopher Bales, 1590
Blessed Edmund Duke, 1590
St Polydore Plasden, 1591
St Eustace White, 1591
Blessed Joseph Lambton, 1592
Blessed Thomas Pormort, 1592
Blessed John Cornelius S J, 1594
Blessed John Ingram, 1594
Blessed Edward Thwing, 1594
St Robert Southwell S J, 1595
St Henry Walpole S J, 1595
Blessed Robert Middleton, 1601
Blessed Robert Watkinson, 1602
Venerable Thomas Tichborne, 1602
Blessed Edward Oldcorne, 1606
St John Almond , 1612
Blessed Richard Smith, 1612
Blessed John Thules, 1616
Blessed John Lockwood, 1642
Venerable Edward Morgan, 1642
Venerable Brian Tansfield S J, 1643
St Henry Morse S J, 1645
Blessed John Woodcock O F M, 1646
Venerable Edward Mico S J, 1678
Blessed Antony Turner S J, 1679
St John Wall O F M, 1679
St David Lewis S J, 1679

More on the College and the Age of Martyrs here.

No comments:

Post a Comment