The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Red.
The Blessed Martyrs of Winchester
Among the many English martyrs who died for their Catholic faith, five suffered in Winchester.
Roger Dicconson (sometimes spelled Dickenson) was an “undercover priest”, secretly celebrating Mass and the sacraments all over England. He was born and raised in Lincoln, studied in Rheims and was ordained there in 1583. At first he worked in Winchester but was arrested and deported. He came back to work in Worcestershire. Returning to Winchester in 1591, he was arrested while celebrating Mass. He was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Ralph Milner and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
John Slade was a native of Manston, Dorset and was educated at New College, Oxford. A schoolmaster, he was arrested in June 1582 and imprisoned along with Blessed John Body (whose feast is on 3 November). They were tried in Winchester, and again in Andover in 1583, and from there John Slade was taken back to Winchester, where he was hung, drawn and quartered on 2 November 1583. He was beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Ralph Milner was brought up in Flacsted, Hampshire. A practicing Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was arrested on the very day of his First Communion. His imprisonment was hardly rigorous, for during it he found the opportunity to do much charitable work in the county. Arrested with Roger Dicconson, he was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Dicconson and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
Laurence (sometimes spelled Lawrence) Humphreys was born in Hampshire in 1571. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 18 and worked as a catechist. He was arrested after falling ill and uttering insulting language about Queen Elizabeth while in a state of delirium. Condemned to death, he made a public profession of faith on the scaffold. He was executed in 1591 and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
James Bird (sometimes known as Byrd or Beard) was born in 1574 in Winchester where his father held public office. He became a Catholic in 1584. Arrested in 1592, he was executed for his faith on 25 March that year and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Other saints: St Marcellus (d. 300)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
A centurion from Tingis (Morocco), he not only refused to worship Roman gods but also threw down his soldier’s insignia in front of the legion’s standards. As he did this, he proclaimed his Christian identity, his allegiance to the Lord and rejected the worship of gods made of stone and wood. He was put to death by the sword around the year 300.
Other saints: Blessed Dominic Collins (1566-1602)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
Dominic Collins (1566-1602) was born in Youghal, Ireland. As a young man, he enlisted in the army of the Duke of Mercoeur, France. He served with distinction the cause of the Catholic League for nine years, and was appointed governor of Brittany. At thirty-two, he settled into a comfortable life in Spain. He felt, however, the call to religious life, and in 1598 was accepted into the novitiate in Santiago de Compostela as a novice Brother. In February 1601, he accompanied a Jesuit chaplain to Ireland on a mission from the King of Spain. When they landed, Ireland was being besieged by the English. Collins was arrested, imprisoned and finally sentenced to death.
Other saints: Blessed Maria Teresa Tauscher (1855-1938)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch was born in 1855 in Sandow, Brandenburg (now in Poland), the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. At a young age, she was attracted to the Catholic Church and desired to become a “sister”. While serving as Director of Nursing at a mental hospital in Berlin, her desires were realised; she made her profession of faith 30 October 1888. In the following year, she read the autobiography of St. Teresa and understood that her vocation was profoundly Carmelite and one of service to the poor. She opened her first home for needy children in Berlin; others followed. In 1906, she received permission to gather her companions, to profess vows and establish the religious institute “Carmel of the Divine Heart of Jesus”, taking the name Maria Teresa of St Joseph. Despite much suffering, her work grew and prospered in Europe and North America. After a long illness, she died in the odour of sanctity, 20 September 1938 and was beatified 13 May 2006.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury (- 1190)
Baldwin was born in Exeter, but his date of birth is unknown. He was ordained priest and made archdeacon by Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter. He subsequently became a Cistercian monk at the Abbey of Ford, in Devonshire, and within a year was made Abbot of Ford. In 1180 he was promoted to the Bishopric of Worcester and in the same year was elected to the primatial see of Canterbury by the bishops of the province. The election was disputed by the monks of Canterbury, necessitating the intervention of King Henry II. Even after his appointment was ratified he was engaged in disputes with the Canterbury monks, so that King Richard and the Holy See had to become involved.
Baldwin acted as legate in Wales, where he held a visitation in 1187. In 1188 he preached the Crusade, after having himself taken the cross on hearing the news of the loss of Jerusalem. In 1190 he set out for the Holy Land, in company with Hubert, Bishop of Salisbury, and others, providing at his own expense two hundred knights and three hundred retainers. While there he acted a vicegerent of the patriarch. He died during the siege of Acre, leaving all he possessed for the relief of the Holy Land and naming Bishop Hubert as his executor.
The Spiritual Tractates were written almost entirely during the decade Baldwin lived at Ford, probably as sermons which were later re-cast. They reveal a man thoroughly and happily at home in Cistercian spirituality, an acute theologian well aware of contemporary currents, and one of the last true representatives of the rich patristic-monastic tradition. The Tractate on the Angel’s Salutation, in particular (read on Thursday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time), marks an important stage in the evolution of Marian spirituality.
Liturgical colour: red
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Deuteronomy 1:31 ©|
The Lord carried you, as a man carries his child, all along the road you travelled.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Baruch 4:28-29 ©|
As by your will you first strayed away from God, so now turn back and search for him ten times as hard; for as he brought down those disasters on you, so will he rescue you and give you eternal joy.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 1:13-15 ©|
Death was not God’s doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. To be – for this he created all; the world’s created things have health in them, in them no fatal poison can be found, and Hades holds no power on earth; for virtue is undying.