I talked with Anna Mitchell on the Son Rise Morning Show yesterday and she will repeat the interview early this morning during the national EWTN hour (about 6:05 a.m. Eastern/5:05 a.m. Central). We highlighted the martyrs of Augusts 28 and 30, 1588 whom I wrote about for the National Catholic Register, especially St. Margaret Ward:
Margaret Ward is one of the three women canonized by Pope Paul VI among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (St. Margaret Clitherow and St. Anne Line are the others). In the dioceses of England and Wales, they share a feast on August 30. Like Clitherow and Line, she was arrested on suspicion of aiding a priest. She helped Father Richard Watson escape from Bridewell Prison, visiting him at first to bring him food and drink and eventually gaining enough trust from the jailer that he didn’t search her before she saw the prisoner. Thus she was able to sneak a rope into the Father Watson and he used it to lower himself down the outside wall of the prison.
Things did not go well for Father Watson—the rope was too short and he fell, leaving the rope behind. Two men helped him escape, even though he’d broken a leg and an arm, by getting him into their boat on the Thames, but he knew that Margaret would be in danger. The jailer accused her of helping the priest and she admitted to the crime. She was scourged as the authorities asked her where Father Watson was hiding after his escape. John Roche, one of the men who had helped the priest was also arrested because he was wearing Watson’s clothing and the jailer recognized it.
At trial, St. Margaret Ward was offered a pardon if she would just renounce her Catholic faith and attend a Church of England service. She refused and was condemned to death by hanging. John Roche was offered the same deal and also refused. The story of St. Margaret Ward and Blessed John Roche doesn’t say what happened to Father Richard Watson after his perilous escape and terrible injuries. St. Margaret Ward rejoiced that she had saved him from certain death and helped him continue to serve Catholics in England.
If you don't wake up early enough, the Son Rise Morning Show posts podcasts of each day's show--all three hours!
Saint Margaret Ward, pray for us!
Blessed John Roche, pray for us!