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Edmund Arrowsmith

(1585—1628) Jesuit


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(1585–1628), Jesuit priest and martyr. Born at Haydock (Lancs.), the son of Robert Arrowsmith, a yeoman farmer, he was educated first by an otherwise unknown elderly priest and then at the English College, Douai. He was ordained priest in 1612 and returned to Lancashire in 1613 where he became renowned for his fearless and forthright ministry. In 1622 he was arrested; after being examined by the bishop of Chester he was released, probably because King James I was then interested in a Spanish marriage for his son and it was not politic for him to appear a persecutor of the Catholics. Some years later Arrowsmith joined the Society of Jesus in their novitiate at Clerkenwell. In 1628 he was denounced by a young man whose irregular life he had reproved, and was indicted at Lancaster Assizes for being a seminary priest. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. But first he was left chained for two days without food. Until the very last moment he was promised his life if he would renounce his faith. He was executed at Lancaster on 28 August; he was canonized by Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. A contemporary portrait survives, as does a hand-relic in the church of St Oswald at Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, where cures believed to be miraculous have been reported. Feast: 25 October.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.


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