Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth I

This Saint was Hanged for the Crime of ‘Harboring a Priest’—Her final words were, “I would have harbored a thousand priests.”

St. Anne Line                                                          en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Anne Heigham was born in England in 1563 during the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Her parents were wealthy Calvinists, and Anne was the eldest daughter of William Heigham, who was the son of Roger Heigham, a protestant reformer who worked for King Henry VIII. When Anne and her brother became teenagers, they converted to Catholicism. Their mom and dad wasted no time in disowning and disinheriting them. Both were sent away to survive on their own.

The Heigham siblings had converted along with a fellow by the name of Roger Line. It was during the time when the Catholic Church in England was undergoing harsh persecution.  Priests were hunted down and quickly executed.  Anyone who helped them, for any reason whatsoever, were also subjected to the death penalty. Many Catholic homemakers assisted priests in hiding by giving them refuge in hidden rooms or camouflaged areas near their homes. They also set up areas where the priests could say Mass in their homes. It was incredibly dangerous work.

Anne and Roger Line fell in love and were married. Roger held the English authorities in contempt and ardently supported Anne’s pro-Catholic zealousness. Anne joined the list of Catholic women who would harbor and care for priests in hiding.

She had a secret room built next to another room where a small altar and the necessities to offer Holy Mass were kept. Confession could be heard in this room and other sacraments administered, such as Baptism and First Holy Communion. It also acted as a prayer room and was a place for priests to hide if the authorities came by.

It was not long after Roger and Anne were married that he and Anne’s brother, William Heigham, were arrested while attending Mass, imprisoned, and fined. Roger was quoted as having said at the time, “If I must desert either the world or God, I will desert the world, for it is good to cling to God.”

Roger was summarily banished from England forever and went to Flanders. Alone in exile he died shortly after arriving. When word of her husband’s death reached Anne, she increased her efforts to help priests in hiding. She also managed a guest house for travelers, did the housekeeping, and handled all the finances. Then she met Father John  Gerard, S.J. He had opened a house of refuge for priests in hiding and asked Anne if she would manage it. She agreed.

Shortly after this, Father John was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. Here he was tortured repeatedly but with the help of some clandestine Catholics, managed to escape. Anne was in poor health, and with Father John imprisoned, her responsibilities grew immensely. Unfortunately for Anne Line, she had become very well known to many people. As a result, she was forced to wear disguises and travel from house to house as secretly as possible.

Things took a sour turn on February 2, 1601;  Candlemas Day (the Purification of Our Lady). An extra-large crowd showed up to attend Holy Mass. Neighbors noticed the large number of people and notified authorities. The constables arrived, searched the house, and found the hidden room with the altar. Father Francis page, the priest who was there to say the Mass, managed to shed his vestments and disappear into the crowd. Anne was immediately arrested.

On February 26, 1601, Anne was taken to the Sessions House on Old Bailey Lane. She was so weak with fever they had to carry her to the trial in a chair. Sir John Popham, the judge, sentenced her to death for the crime of assisting a priest. Two priests, Father Roger Filcock and Father Mark Barkworth, were condemned with her. Their execution was scheduled for the next day.

The next morning Anne Line was hanged. She was first to die, followed by the two priests. Before she was executed, she announced loudly, “I am sentenced to die for harboring a Catholic priest, and so far am I from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand.”

Anne Line was beatified by Pope Pius XI on December 15, 1929. She was canonized a saint by Pope St. Paul VI on October 25, 1970.

St. Anne Line, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

This Saint became one of the most honored Jesuits in History; His name is Edmund Campion

St. Edmund Campion                                      http://www.mirifica.netBy Larry Peterson

By Larry Peterson

Edmund Campion was born in England in 1540. His father was a bookseller, and Edmund’s love of books was instilled in him as a child. He had a brilliant mind and, at the age of thirteen, he was chosen to deliver a speech when Queen Mary visited London.

Soon after he became a student at St. John’s College in Oxford. He graduated with his B. A. degree in 1560 and at that time took his Oath of Supremacy to the Crown. In 1564 he received his Master’s Degree and was also ordained as an Anglican deacon. No one could see what was in his heart, but Edmund had serious misgivings about his professed Protestantism

In 1566, Queen Elizabeth visited the university and met Edmund. She instantly was drawn to the young man, and she saw to it that he was taken under the wing of two powerful men; William Cecil, and the Earl of Leicester, who was rumored to be the Queen’s future husband. Edmund had shared his concerns about Anglicanism to a few “friends,” and soon rumors of his “radical” opinions began to spread.

Edmund, fully aware of his fate if betrayed, left Oxford and went to Ireland. James Stanyhurst, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, knew Edmund and hired him as a tutor for his son, Richard.  But the Protestant party in Dublin had become aware of his presence and were searching for him. He was given another assignment on the east coast of Ireland. For the next three months, using the name of “Mr. Patrick,”  he avoided his pursuers who were determined to find him.

Edmund had become convinced that Anglicanism was wrong and returned to Catholicism. This was about the same time that Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth retaliated and initiated vicious persecution of Catholics in England. Edmund heard of the dreadful tortures and executions and in 1571 fled to Douai,  France.

Edmund was accepted into the Jesuits in 1573 and began his novitiate in Austria, away from any English provinces. He began teaching at the University of Prague and was ordained to the priesthood there in 1578.

He remained in his teaching position for another two years at which time he received a unique assignment. He and Father Robert Persons were assigned to be the first Jesuits to go to the newly established mission territory of England. Their mission was to minister to the faithful English Catholics who were strictly forbidden to practice their religion. The year was 1580.

Father Campion and Father Persons entered England posing as merchants. They both had been given different locales to minister to and went their separate ways. Father Campion immediately began preaching, and his presence quickly became known to the authorities as well as the many Catholics languishing in the filthy prisons.

The authorities began spreading the word that Campion’s mission was political and that he was committing treason. Father Campion responded by writing what came to be known as Campion’s Brag. This work spelled out his love of Catholicism and gave his critique of Anglicanism. It was printed and 400 copies were found in the pews during the commencement exercises at St. Mary’s in Oxford. This caused such an uproar that the largest and most intensive manhunt in English history was begun.

On July 14, 1581, Campion was preaching in Berkshire at the house of Francis Yale. He was tracked down by a spy named George Eliot and taken into custody. With his arms tied behind his back and a sign on his hat reading, “Seditious Jesuit” he was paraded through the street of London to the “Tower.” His clandestine days of administering the sacraments, hearing confessions and preaching had come to an end. His legacy was just beginning.

Edmund Campion was offered great wealth and position if he would renounce his Catholic faith. Knowing the pain and torture he would endure for refusing to do so, he stood steadfast in defense of Catholicism. The torture began and lasted for over four months, but Campion never wavered. On December 1, 1581, he was taken to Tyburn and was hanged, drawn and quartered for the crime of being Catholic.

He was canonized a saint on October 25, 1970, by Pope St. Paul VI. Saint Edmund Campion is included among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Saint Edmund Campion, please pray for us

©Larry Peterson 2018