Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Saint Nicholas Owen

St Nicholas Owen being tortured in the Tower of London in 1606.
The 22nd of March is the feast day of Saint Nicholas Owen. 

Saint Nicholas was a son to an Oxford carpenter in England and became a carpenter as well. He joined the Jesuits as a lay brother though Catholicism was outlawed in England. He was jailed for defending the martyred Saint Edmund Campion, after which he began working and travelling with the Jesuits. He stayed in Catholic houses, making repairs during the day and during the night, created "priest-holes"; hiding places fo priests. His priest holes saved hundreds of lives over 20 years of his work. He and a Jesuit priest were betrayed by a household servant during a trip in London and were captured and tortured. Nicholas was released and he masterminded the priest's escape from the Tower of London. He was again a wanted man after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.  He hid with the priests in one of the priest holes and were not discovered though 100 men searched for them. Nicholas left the hole disguised as a priest, after eight days of hiding without food, in order to protect the priests who were still hiding. He was captured and tortured on the rack in the Tower of London but he did not gave up an information about the hiden underground Catholic Church. He died as a martyr in 1606 and is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.

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