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Thursday, October 12, 2006

St. John Ogilvie

In a couple of days (Saturday), it will be the Memorial of St. John Ogilvie so I thought I'd post something about him. Below is the entry on the saint from The Jesuit Family Album ...

St. John Ogilvie, S. J. (Scottish: 1579-1615) is the Church's only officially recorded Scottish martyr. Since his father had conformed to the state-established religion, young John was brought up a Calvinist. Upon reaching his 17th year, he determined to become a Catholic and went to Louvain, Belgium, where he was reconciled with the Catholic Church. He later joined the Jesuits and was ordained in Paris in 1610. Sent to work in Rouen, he kept importuning the Superior General to send him back to Scotland in response to the entreaty for Jesuits from the Earl of Angus to the Jesuit General: "Send only those who wish for this mission and are strong enough to bear the heat of the day for they will be in exceeding danger." In earlier times wholesale massacres of Catholics had taken place in Scotland but at this time the hunt concentrated on priests and for those who attended their Masses. The Jesuits were determined not to abandon the Catholic laity, but to be with them and provide the consolation of the sacraments. When captured they were tortured for information, then hanged, and, while still alive, taken down and their limbs pulled out and finally cut up into quarters and each part placed on one of the four city gates.

At last Ogilvie's request was granted and he returned to his native Scotland in 1613 to begin a brief missionary career that lasted only 11 months and ended in martyrdom. In Edinburgh and Glasgow he worked underground avoiding the Queen's priest-hunters, disguised as a soldier by the name of Watson. Ogilvie was captured and put in prison where he showed his interrogators that he was not to be bullied into acknowledging the King's supremacy in religious matters. He refused to divulge the names of the Catholics who had attended his Masses, so they applied an extreme measure of torture. He annoyed his tormentors by not crying out in pain and in fact meeting their cruelty with humor. "I make no account of you and can willingly suffer more for this cause than you are able to inflict. Your threats cheer me; I mind them no more than the cackling of geese." Asked if he feared to die he said: "no more than you do to dine." No relic of his body remains. (Ban, Bas, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

- While he was in prison, Fr. Ogilvie documented his experiences there, smuggling his writing out, page by page. The Relatio was edited using the testimony of his fellow prisoners, completed by John Mayne, and was published in 1615. A first edition copy lies in The National Library of Scotland.

Read more about John Ogilvie at American Catholic


Blogger Jeff said...

I like his style! Twas a cheeky fellow under such circumstances, eh wot?

The Jesuits and the other Catholics weren't the only ones with a little spine if the face of that crew...

"Come all the Calvinists in the world, I care not."
--Anglican Divine Richard Montague

Not that anyone was getting along particularly well at the time, of course...

2:45 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff,

thanks for that link on Montague. I hadn't heard of him before. I looked him up and saw this :-) ...

... Richard Montague's Appelo Caesarem which identified popery with tyranny, and Puritanism with anarchy, and which concluded "popery is originall of Superstition; puritanisme, the high-way unto prophaneness; both alike [are] enemies unto piety."

3:23 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi Crystal,

I guess that was what was known as Laudian Anglicanism (after William Laud). The Puritans hated him.

3:36 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I don't know a lot about the Puritans ... most of my info comes from the Three/Four Musketeers books (where they killed the Duke of Buckingham and Charles I) ... even before I became a catholic, I was on the side of the papists and against the Roundheads, thanks to Dumas :-)

4:31 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

THanks for sharing that story - I hadn't heard about him before. It's hard to imagine that level of devotiopn, and that level of cruelty...

7:31 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Steve ... I don't know if it's scary or comforting that when we look, we can find both extremes of behavior.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi found your blog on St John Ogilve - great stuff, but as put out with the date in October. His Feast day here in Scotland and in the Roman Martyrology is the 10th October, the date of his martrydom.

Glad you have an interest in him though!


12:48 PM  

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