|The English and Welsh Martyrs [Painting by Daphne Pollen (1904-86) commissioned for the 1970 canonization of the forty martyrs of England Wales]|
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Saint Edmund Campion SJ was martyred on December 1st, 1581.
December first is the day on which his Feast is celebrated in the
of the Society of Jesus. St Edmund Campion is regarded as patron of the British Province and his feast day is marked in Jesuit communities, parishes and schools. On 1st December we celebrate the ten saints and eighteen beati, martyrs of the British Jesuit Province . British Province
In the calendar of the
English Church, St Edmund Campion is remembered on 4th May along with all the men and women martyred for the Catholic faith in between 1535 and 1680. England
Edmund Campion was born in 1540, the son of a bookseller in Paternoster row, just behind
St Paul's Cathedral in . London
He grew up amid the religious upheavals of the sixteenth century following the break between Henry VIII and
Campion went to the local grammar school and then, age 12, to the new Christ's Hospital school for orphans and the poor. In August 1553, he was chosen to make a ceremonial address to Queen Mary as she passed through
. Campion was able academically and went to London St John's College, , at the age of 15 (which was not unusual in those days). He was awarded his degree in 1564 and became a Fellow of the University. In 1566, he was again chosen to make a formal speech of welcome before the new Queen, Elizabeth I, when she visited Oxford . Much impressed with Campion, Oxford ensured he had friends and patrons at Court. Elizabeth
Campion was ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church.
Increasingly Campion came to believe that the Protestant church was not the true continuation of the Christian faith and that only in the Catholic church would he find a home. He resigned his position at
Campion went to
in 1570 and was involved in the establishment of a university there. Dublin
With the excommunication of Elizabeth I by Pope Pius V in 1570, everything became much more difficult for Catholics and people like Campion who were unsure of their religious allegiance.
Campion became a Catholic and went to the new seminary for English Catholics founded at
Douai in . He was ordained sub-deacon and then walked, barefoot, to France to become a Jesuit in April 1573. Campion pursued his studies as a Jesuit and taught in the Rome Jesuit College in . He was ordained priest in 1578. Prague
Campion was persuaded, against his better judgement, to join the new mission to
. On 16th June 1580, Fr Robert Persons SJ landed at England Dover, the of the new mission. On 24th June, Campion followed, disguised as a jewel merchant. Campion moved between the houses of Catholics (the Recusants) who practised their religion in secret. At one such house, Lyford Grange in Oxfordshire, he was betrayed and arrested on 17th July 1581, barely a year after he had set foot in Superior . England
He was imprisoned and tortured in the
and tried at Westminster Hall in November 1581. Condemned for treason, he was dragged on a hurdle to Tyburn where he was martyred with Fr Alexander Briant SJ and Fr Ralph Sherwin. He was hanged and then, before he was dead, his genitals cut off, his entrails ripped out and burned before him, his head hacked off and his body quartered. Tower of London
The Feast Day of St Edmund Campion is celebrated on December 1st. With him are celebrated his fellow martyr St Alexander Briant SJ, and St Robert Southwell SJ who was martyred on 21st February 1595. All were made saints by Pope Paul VI in 1970 along with 37 others (the Forty Martyrs of England and
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PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS
Peace among All Peoples. That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect.
Children and Youth. That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that they may be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.
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SAINT CLEMENT'S PARISH
On Saturday evening, I attended the annual St. Clement's Parish Patronal Dinner. Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy), gave a striking address on the importance of the new translation of the Roman Missal even for those who are attached to or frequently participate in the Extraordinary Form celebrated at St. Clement Parish.
Some photos (courtesy of John Paul Sonnen):
|Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Father Philip Creurer, FSSP, Pastor of St. Clement's|