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St. Nicholas Owen

Saint Nicholas Owen


Nicholas, also known as “Little John” for his short stature, was born to a devout Catholic family in Oxford around the year 1562, in the midst of the Catholic persecutions under Queen Elizabeth I, or “Bloody Bess”. Inspired by his carpenter father, Nicholas became a joiner, a specialist in wood joints. Nicholas’s two older brothers became priests, and his younger brother secretly printed Catholic writings. Nicholas joined the Society of Jesus as a lay brother, and served St. Edmund Campion, at whose execution Nicholas openly protested the priest’s innocence. After a brief imprisonment, Nicholas served other Jesuit priests for almost two decades. During this time Nicholas was also the preeminent builder of “priest holes” throughout England, using his woodworking skills to create ingenious hiding places for priests in the homes of English Catholics. After another arrest and torture, Nicholas planned Jesuit Fr. John Gerard’s daring escape from the Tower of London. In the year of Our Lord 1606, Nicholas was arrested again, giving himself up for the sake of English Jesuit superior Fr. Henry Garnet. Horribly tortured for days, he refused to reveal any secrets, and died of his injuries. He and the other Forty Martyrs of England & Wales are celebrated together on October 25th or May 4th.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for March 22nd

AT Narbonne, in France, the birthday of the bishop St. Paul, a disciple of the Apostles. He is said to have been the proconsul Sergius Paulus, who was baptized by the blessed apostle Paul, and left at Narbonne, where he was raised to the episcopal dignity when the apostle went to Spain. Having zealously discharged the office of preaching and performed miracles, he departed for heaven.

At Terracina, St. Epaphroditus, a disciple of the Apostles, who was consecrated bishop of that city by the blessed apostle Peter.

In Africa, the holy martyrs Saturninus and nine others.

The same day, the birthday of the Saints Callinica and Basilissa, martyrs.

At Ancyra, under Julian the Apostate, St. Basil, priest and martyr, who gave up his soul to God after having endured grievous torments.

At Carthage, St. Octavian, archdeacon, and many thousands of martyrs, who were slain by the Vandals for the Catholic faith.

In the same place, St. Deogratias, bishop of Carthage, who ransomed many captives taken from that city by the Vandals, and performed other good works, after which he went to rest in the Lord.

At Osimo, in the March of Ancona, St. Benvenutus, bishop.

In Sweden, St. Catharine, virgin, daughter of St. Bridget.

At Rome, St. Lea, a widow, whose virtues and happy death are related by St. Jerome.

At Genoa, St. Catharine, a widow, celebrated for her contempt of the world and her love of God.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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