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Tuesday 17 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Giulia Salzano
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Saint of the Day: Blessed John Hambley

Priest Who Denied His Faith But Still Died as a Martyr


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Priest and Martyr (d. 1587)

His life

+ John was born in Cornwall and, although he was raised in the Church of England, he converted to the Catholic Faith in 1582. Because he feared persecution for not attending Protestant services, he moved to London and was reconciled with the Catholic Church in 1583.

+ A short time later, John sailed to France and began to study for the priesthood. He was ordained on September 22, 1584.

+ Disguised as a servant, he left for the English Mission on April 6, 1585. After staying in London for a short time, he went to Dorsetshire, where he worked for about a year.

+ Sometime around Easter 1586, he was denounced to the authorities and arrested. Condemned to die, he denied his Catholic faith. Freed, he went to Salisbury and began to minster again in secret.

+ On August 14, the Vigil of the Feast of the Assumption, the Protestant bishop of Salsibury decided to search the homes of local Catholics, hoping to find a priest saying Mass Hambley was recaptured during the raids.

+ In order to save himself, he gave up the names of many Catholics and, again, denied his faith. Curiously, the judges did not trust his confession and he was held in prison.

+ At Easter 1587, he was tried again for the crime of being a priest and this time he remained firm and did not break.

+ He was hanged to death near Salisbury on March 29. He was beatified in 1987 as one of the Eighty-Five Martyrs of England and Wales.

For prayer and reflection

[Wisdom] preserved him from foes,

and secured him against ambush,

and she gave him the prize for his hard struggle

that he might know that devotion to God is mightier than all else.”—Wisdom 10:12


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

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