Franciscan Priest and Martyr (1590-1643)
+ Arthur was born in Temple-Broughton near Worcester, England, in 1590. Having received a good education, he was sent to the English college in Saint-Omer, France, and later studied in Spain.
+ He entered the Franciscan Order in Segovia in 1618 and held various posts in the Franciscan community in Douai, France, including serving as guardian (the title of the local superior) and as a professor of Hebrew.
+ In 1632, Arthur was sent to Scotland to help reestablish the Franciscan presence there, but his efforts were largely unsuccessful. He returned to England in 1637 and ministered in secret until he was arrested in November 1643.
+ Arthur was condemned for the crime of being a priest. He was executed on December 11, 1643. It is recorded that when he condemned to death, he began to sing the Te Deum as a hymn of gratitude and thanks to God.
+ Blessed Arthur Bell was beatified with other English martyrs in 1987.
For prayer and reflection
“Martyrdom is the air of the life of a Christian, of a Christian community. There will always be martyrs among us: this is the sign that we are going on the way of Jesus.”—Pope Francis
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Arthur to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.