Saturday, October 16, 2021

Preview: Saint Philip Howard and the Jesuit Connection

Anna Mitchell of the Son Rise Morning Show asked me to come on their second EWTN hour on Monday, October 18 at my usual time (about 7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central) to talk about the feasts of St. Philip Howard and of the North American Martyrs on October 19. Please listen live on EWTN Radio or on your local EWTN affiliate.

There is a connection between this English lay martyr in chains in the Tower of London and these Jesuit missionaries in North America: the Jesuit Connection.

St. Philip Howard died on October 19, 1595, condemned to death at a time and date of Queen Elizabeth I's pleasure, found guilty of praying for the success of the Spanish Armada. 

It was the influence of two English Jesuit missionaries--and his own wife's faith--that brought Howard to the Tower and his long imprisonment (1585-1595): St. Edmund Campion, SJ and Father William Weston, SJ.

First, he witnessed one of Saint Edmund Campion's debates with the Anglican divines in the Tower of London in 1581, based on Campion's "Decem Rationes" (Ten Reasons). Campion did so well in proving his case in these debates that he never had the opportunity to go through all his Ten Reasons. Howard was impressed by Campion's brilliance and convinced that the Anglicans, while being unfair (they had books and Campion didn't; they could ask questions and Campion couldn't) hadn't proved the Jesuit wrong. Certainly, Campion had made Howard think about the Catholic Church.

Second, Howard was reconciled to the Catholic Church by Father William Weston, SJ on September 30, 1584 at Arundel Castle in Sussex. At the same time, Howard reconciled with his wife Anne and became a devoted husband.

Howard tried to leave England, knowing that he was not welcome at Court because of his conversion (which showed in his changed behavior). He was arrested at sea in 1585 and imprisoned in the Tower. His wife was pregnant with their second child, the son he would never see.

There's a third Jesuit connection during his imprisonment: another martyr, St. Robert Southwell, SJ, who was Anne's chaplain, wrote An Epistle of Comfort for him. When Southwell was held in the Tower before his execution, Howard and he communicated through messages carried by Howard's dog.

Saint Philip Howard died of dysentery on October 19, 1595. He is now buried in the Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Philip Howard in Arundel. His wife, Anne Howard, the Countess of Arundel died on April 19, 1630 when she was 73 years old. She never remarried after his death and struggled to survive during Elizabeth I's reign; King James I restored her jointure lands, which she'd received as her own when she married, so that solved some of her financial troubles.

As to the Northern American or Canadian Martyrs, they aren't just connected to the Society of Jesus, they are Jesuits:
  • Saint Rene Goupil (lay brother), martyred in 1642
  • Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Jean de Lalande, martyred in 1646
  • Saint Antoine Daniel, in 1648, 
  • Saints Jean de Brebeuf, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, and Gabriel Lalement, in 1649
Unlike the Jesuit priests and martyrs who returned to England after study on the Continent, ministering to hidden Catholics, wearing disguises, sought by authorities for treason, these French Jesuits prepared for missions to the Native Americans, the Algonquins and Hurons, etc. As this panegyric to their efforts proclaims:

Members of the Society of Jesus who dedicated themselves to the conversion of the American Indians took Christ’s words very literally. They journeyed from Renaissance France to the frontiers of North America that they might preach and baptize. After pouring the saving waters of Baptism on a dying Indian child, Saint John de Brebeuf, the great pioneer of this mission, exclaimed with joy, “For this one single occasion I would travel all the way from France; I would cross the great ocean to win one little soul for Our Lord!” And so pleased was God with the genuine zeal and the extraordinary sacrifices of these Jesuit apostles that He bestowed upon Father Brebeuf and seven of his fellow missionaries the glorious crown of martyrdom. . . .

The Society of Jesus had been founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola during the turbulent times following the Protestant Revolution. By the dawning of the seventeenth century the Jesuits had won renown as zealous missionaries and ardent defenders of the Catholic Faith.

The Order was still at the peak of its power, prestige, and holiness when a new mission field began to unfold. France, eldest daughter of the Church, was beginning to colonize North America, and the vast untamed regions of the New World were inhabited by pagan natives who had never before been evangelized.

They achieved some success among the Hurons, learning their language, living with them, and were martyred, mostly, by the Iroquois, who were constant enemies of the Huron, after horrendous torture.

This is beyond the scope of our discussion on Monday, but I should mention here that English Jesuits were still suffering arrest and execution in their native land in approximately the same years as these eight North American martyrs:

(All at Tyburn.) I don't know if these English and French Jesuits would have ever met on the Continent; the English had separate colleges and seminaries established for them. There's another research topic!

Saint Philip Howard, pray for us!
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us!
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us!
Saint Jean de Lalande, pray for us!
Saint Antoine Daniel, pray for us!
Saint Jean de Brebeuf, , pray for us!
Saint Noel Charbanel, pray for us! 
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us!
Saint Gabriel Lalement, pray for us!

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