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Friday 27 May |
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Saint of the Day: Bl. Marmaduke Bowes

Husband and Father martyred for the Catholic Faith


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Martyr (d. 1585)

His life

+ Marmaduke was born in Yorkshire, England, and was a husband and father.

+ Frightened by the realities of persecution faced by Catholics during the English Reformation, he chose to appear to conform to the demands that England’s Christians participate in the state-sponsored church. However, he remained a committed Catholic and sheltered priests who were fleeing the authorities and raised his children in the Catholic Faith.

+ In 1585, his children’s tutor was arrested. Although the man was Catholic, he accepted the bribes offered to him and denounced Marmaduke for sheltering priests.

+ Marmaduke and his wife were arrested (although she was later released). Convicted on the testimony of the tutor, Marmaduke Bowes became the first layman executed under the law that made harboring priests a capital offense. He was hanged on November 26, 1585, and beatified with other martyrs in 1987.

For prayer and reflection

These martyrs gave their lives for their loyalty to the authority of the Successor of Peter, who alone is Pastor of the whole flock. They also gave their lives for the unity of the Church, since they shared the Church’s faith, unaltered down the ages, that the Successor of Peter has been given the task of serving and ensuring “the unity of the flock of Christ”. He has been given by Christ the particular role of confirming the faith of his brethren.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Marmaduke Bowes and the Martyrs of England and Wales


Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Marmaduke 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, 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.

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