Franciscan Priest and Martyr (1619-1653)
+ Seán (sometimes called John) was born in Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland.
+ He became a Franciscan Friar in Kilkenny, before moving to Louvain, Belgium, where he trained for the priesthood.
+ Ordained a priest in Brussels in 1642, Seán tried to return to Ireland, but he was arrested in London, tortured, tried and condemned to death.
+ A short time later, Seán escaped and eventually made his way to Wexford, Ireland. In the years that followed, he taught philosophy in Cashel, and also served as novice master and porter in other friaries, all the time living as a wanted man.
+ Father Seán was eventually arrested in Tipperary in 1653 for the crime of being a Catholic priest in England. He was hanged to death on March 11, 1653, and was beatified with other Irish martyrs in 1992.
For prayer and reflection
“The Martyrs’ significance for today lies in the fact that their testimony shatters the vain claim to live one’s life or to build a model of society without an integral vision of our human destiny, without reference to our eternal calling, without transcendence.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of the Martyrs of Ireland
On this day, we also remember Blessed Frano Gjini. A priest of the archdiocese of Durrës, Albania, he was later created abbot of Saint Lelezhdri in Mirdita and consecrated as a bishop in 1930. Chosen as the apostolic delegate of Albania in 1945 (after the previous apostolic delegate was not permitted back in the country) he was appointed bishop of Lezhë in 1946. Arrested by the communists later that same year, he was sentenced to death in January 1948 and executed on March 11. Blessed Frano was beatified with other Albanian martyrs in 2016.
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Seán 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.