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Wednesday 22 May |
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Saint of the Day: Bl. James Duckett

Patron of Booksellers



Martyr (d. 1602)

His life

+ James was born in Gilfortrigs, Westmoreland, England and was raised as a Protestant.

+ During his time as an apprentice book printer in London, he converted to the Catholic Faith after reading a book defending Catholic teachings, and he was imprisoned twice for refusing to attend Protestant services.

+ Around 1590 James married Anne Hart and their son, John, later became a Carthusian monk and recorded much of what we know about James, who helped support his family by secretly making vestments and altar linens for priests.

+ James remained committed to printing and disseminating Catholic books and was in and out of prison for the final years of his life. He was arrested for the last time on March 4, 1602, after having been found with 25 copies of a book by the Jesuit poet, priest and martyr Saint Robert Southwell.

+ Blessed James Duckett was executed at Tyburn, London, on April 19, 1602, and was beatified with other English martyrs in 1929.

For prayer and reflection

“See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, / upon those who hope for his kindness,

To deliver them from death / and preserve them in spite of famine.”—Psalm 33:18-19

Spiritual bonus

On April 19, we remember Saint Apollonius. A priest in Alexandria, Egypt, he was martyred with five unnamed Christians during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian (early fourth century). He is among the saints depicted on the colonnade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed James with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: For One Martyr During the Easter Season)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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