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Thursday 26 May |
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Saint of the Day: Bl. Robert Bickerdike

Layman martyred under Queen Elizabeth I


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Marytr (d. 1586)

His life

+ Robert was born at Low Hall, near Knaresborough, England, and served as an apprentice in York.

+ While little is known of his life, it is recorded that, in the summer of 1585, he was seen having a glass of ale with the priest Blessed John Boste. Because Robert had paid, he was accused of being a Catholic and was arrested; he was acquitted because of insufficient proof to support the charge.

+ On June 3, 1586, as the priest and martyr Blessed Francis Ingleby was being dragged to his execution, Robert defended the priest’s honor when he it was impugned by the wife of a Protestant minister. In response, the woman’s father had arrested.

+ Although Robert was again found not guilty, but a judge had him moved to a different prison—and a different court—and he was tried again on the same charge.

+ Blessed Robert Bickerdike was executed in York on August 5 or October 8, 1586, and he is honored as one of the “Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales,” a group of martyrs beatified in 1987.

For prayer and reflection

Laymen and priests worked together; together they stood on the scaffold and together welcomed death. Many women, too… suffered for their faith and died in prison. They have earned our undying admiration and remembrance.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England Wales

Spiritual bonus

On this day, we also remember Saint Laurentia. An enslaved woman in Ancona, Italy, she is credited with bringing her mistress, Saint Palatias, to faith in Christ. Saint Laurentia died as a martyr in 302, during the persecutions of the emperor Diocletian.


Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Robert 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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