Blesseds Thomas Bosgrave, John Carey, John Cornelius, Patrick Salmon, William Andleby, Thomas Warcop, Edward Fulthrop, and Henry Abbot. At a time when practicing the Catholic faith was dangerous, these brave men gave their lives in service to the Lord, earning the martyrs’ crown.
Blessed John Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Cornwall, on the estate of Sir John Arundell. A pious and intelligent boy from birth, the master of the estate took interest in young John, and sent him to Oxford to be educated. From Oxford, he continued to study at the “Great Seminary of Martyrs” in Reims, and later at the English College in Rome to pursue studies in theology. Ordained a Jesuit, John was sent to England where he labored in secret for nearly ten years (under the alias Mohun), ministering clandestinely to his community, and keeping the Catholic faith alive despite threats of punishment and death. Blessed John spent his days in prayer and mortification, meditation, and was a zealous preacher.
Blessed Thomas Bosgrave—the nephew of Lord and Lady Arundell-- met him, and offered him his hat, as he had not had time to gather his belongings. Blessed Thomas was immediately arrested for aiding a Catholic priest, and soon thereafter, two servants of the castled—Blessed John Carey and Blessed Patrick Salmon, natives of Dublin—met the same fate and sentence.
On the way to execution, none of the confessors showed signs of fear. The first to ascend the scaffold was Blessed John Carey who kissed the executioner’s rope, exclaiming "O precious collar", made a solemn profession of faith and died a valiant death.
Then followed Blessed Thomas Bosgrave, a man of education, who delivered a stirring address on the truth of his belief.
The last to suffer was John Cornelius, who kissed the gallows with the words of Saint Andrew, "O Cross, long desired.” On the ladder he tried to speak to the multitude, but was prevented. After praying for his executioners and for the welfare of the queen, John Cornelius also was executed. The bodies was taken down and quartered, and Blessed John’s head was nailed to the gibbet, but soon removed. The bodies were rescued and buried by local Catholics.
Blessed William Andleby and three companions were similarly martyred. Blessed William was born in Etton (Yorkshire) of a well known and respected family. At the age of twenty-five, he went abroad and took part in the Dutch war, where he was confronted with the Catholic faith and eventually came to believe. While abroad, William converted to Catholicism, and was eventually ordained. Once ordained, he returned to England, and counseled and offered comfort and guidance to prisoners.
"His zeal for souls was such as to spare no pains and to fear no dangers. For the first four years of his mission he traveled always on foot, meanly attired, and carrying with him usually in a bag his vestments and other things for saying Mass; for his labors lay chiefly among the poor, who were not shocked with such things. Afterwards, humbly yielding to the advice of his brethren, he used a horse and went somewhat better clad. Wonderful was the austerity of his life in frequent watchings, fastings, and continual prayer, his soul so absorbed in God that he often took no notice of those he met; by which means he was sometimes exposed to suspicions and dangers from the enemies of his faith, into whose hands he at last fell after twenty years' labor in the vineyard of the Lord."
Blessed Thomas Warcop, an English gentleman from Yorkshire; Blessed Edward Fulthrop, a convert to the Catholic faith from York; and Blessed Henry Abbot, a native of Howden, England.
Today, as we contemplate the bravery and courage of these eight holy English men, we offer a prayer to Our Blessed Mother, Queen of Martyrs, that we, too, may live our faiths with the certainty of truth, and comfort in our sufferings.
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace, and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
Year 2: Day 185 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage in the face of difficulty; Comfort in the truth of our faith.
Requested Intentions: For a daughter’s successful examination results (A); Occupational success, health and safety of family (S); Reduction in anxiety for husband, financial freedom (S); Healing for a sister-in-law (J); For a family experiencing a difficult child custody case (M); Reunification of a family struggling with separation (M): For a son struggling with mental illness (M); Successful examination results (B); To be freed from the chains of sin (J); Admission to a good university (M); For successful surgery (T); For a mother’s mental health and for kindness and forgiveness, for housing problems, for dental health (T); For the soul of a departed friend (X); Restoration of health (D); Successful employment for couple (N); For employment for children (K); For health of friend, for successful relationships for children, for safe pregnancy for daughter (C); For the health of a mother (J); Virtue for daughter (V); Successful acceptance to college for nephew (M); For the health of a cousin (T); Freedom from legal difficulties for husband (S); Husband’s freedom from illness (L).
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."