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Friday 15 January |
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Saint of the Day: Blessed John Shert

Martyred English Priest


© José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro | CC BY-SA 4.0

Priest and Martyr (d. 1582)

His life

+ John Shert was born in Cheshire, England, and educated at Oxford.

+ After receiving his degree, he worked as a schoolmaster in London.

+ Inspired by the example of other priests serving England’s persecuted Catholic community, John traveled to France and began his studies for the priesthood at Douai; he was ordained a priest in Rome.

+ John served in the English missions from 1579 to July 14, 1581, when he was arrested on suspicion of his being involved in a fictitious plot against the Queen (now known as the “Rome and Rheims Plot”).

+ Although there was little evidence brought forward at his trial, he was condemned to be executed on the same days as two other English priests: Blessed Thomas Ford and Blessed Robert Johnson (who are also honored on this day).

+ As he watched the disemboweling of Blessed Thomas, John called out, “O blessed soul, happy art though; pray for me!”

+ Given one final opportunity to save himself, John was asked if he would affirm Queen Elizabeth’s status as head of the Church in England, he answered, “She is not nor cannot be, nor any other, but only the supreme pastor.”

+ Blessed John Shert, Blessed Thomas Ford, and Blessed Robert Johnson were beatified with other English martyrs in 1886.

For prayer and reflection

The Martyrs fixed their eyes on heaven, and cried out in their torments: Come, Lord, be with us in this hour, alleluia.”—From Morning Prayer for the Common of Several Martyrs


God our Father,

you have honored the Church with the victorious witness of Blessed John,

who died for his faith.

As he imitated the sufferings and death of the Lord,

may we follow in his footsteps and come to eternal joy.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Liturgy of the Hours: Common of One Martyr—During the Easter Season)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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