Saint Nicholas Owen (born, unknown; died 1606) is the saint and martyr we remember on March 22. Born into a poor, but devout Catholic family in England in the late 16th century, Nicholas worked tirelessly throughout his life as a skilled carpenter, building hiding places throughout the region to protect priests and religious from persecution. Despite the active persecution of the Church under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, two of Nicholas’ brothers became Catholic priests, one printed and distributed Catholic literature. Nicholas, drawing upon his skills, aiding the survival of the faith in another way.
While little is known about his life, other than his works, it is clear that Nicholas never took formal vows. However, during his work for first Saint Edmund Campion, and later Fathers Garnet and Gerard, Nicholas was schooled in the Jesuit traditions. He was made a lay brother of the order in 1577, and served both priests throughout his life.
Father Garnet, who himself had employed Nicholas in building hiding places, described him in 1596 as “a carpenter of singular faithfulness and skill who has traveled through almost the entire kingdom and, without charge, has made for Catholic priests hiding places where they might shelter the fury of heretical searchers. If money is offered him by way of payment he gives it to his two brothers; one of them is a priest, the other a layman in prison for his faith.”
Father Gerard wrote of him, "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular."
Day 81 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Hearts of thankfulness for our God-given gifts; For those who risk their lives in service of the Lord.
Requested Intentions: For Healing (A); The blessing of children (S); Safety of travelers (J); Improved family relationship with the Lord, using gifts for His glory (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 40 of 45-day Novena to Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes): The intentions of all those who read this blog, whether submitted or retained in the quiet of their hearts; Penance, Penance, Penance for sinners; For all those who are suffering.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."