March 10 – “I want no prayers from heretics!”

March 10, 2014

St. John Ogilvie

John_Ogilvie_martyr

Ogilvie, the son of a wealthy noble, was born into a Calvinist family near Keith in Banffshire, Scotland and was educated in mainland Europe where he attended a number of Roman Catholic educational establishments, under the Benedictines at Regensburg in Germany and with the Jesuits at Olomouc and Brno in the present day Czech Republic.

Mercat cross. The Mercat Cross stands at the south-eastern corner of Glasgow Cross. It is a monument to St. John Ogilvie and was commissioned for construction in 1929–30 by William George Black, and designed by the architect Edith Hughes.

Mercat cross. The Mercat Cross stands at the south-eastern corner of Glasgow Cross. It is a monument to St. John Ogilvie and was commissioned for construction in 1929–30 by William George Black, and designed by the architect Edith Hughes.

In the midst of the religious controversies and turmoil that engulfed the Europe of that era he decided to become a Roman Catholic. In 1596, aged seventeen, he was received into the Roman church at Louvain, Belgium by Father Cornelius a Lapide. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1608 and was ordained a priest in Paris in 1610. After ordination he made repeated entreaties to be sent back to Scotland to minister to the few remaining Roman Catholics in the Glasgow area (after the Scottish Reformation in 1560 it had become illegal to preach, proselytise for, or otherwise endorse Roman Catholicism).

St. John OgilvieHe returned to Scotland in November 1613 disguised as a soldier, and began to preach in secret, celebrating mass clandestinely in private homes, mostly among his fellow nobility. However, his ministry was to last less than a year. In 1614, he was betrayed and arrested in Glasgow and taken to jail in Paisley. He suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Roman Catholics. Nonetheless, Ogilvie did not relent; consequently, after a biased trial, he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King’s spiritual jurisdiction. On 10 March 1615, aged 36 years, John Ogilvie was paraded through the streets of Glasgow and lawfully hanged at Glasgow Cross.

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His last words were “If there be here any hidden Roman Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have”. After he was pushed from the stairs, he threw his concealed rosary beads out into the crowd. The tale is told that one of his enemies caught them and subsequently became a lifelong devout Roman Catholic. After his execution Ogilvie’s followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none was to receive the death penalty.

Hanged, drawn and quartered. Many of the English, by order of Elizabeth I, were martyred this way.

Hanged, drawn and quartered. Many of the English, by order of Elizabeth I, were martyred this way.

As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonized in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland.

Saint John Ogilvie is commemorated 10 March.

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  • Lilian Josefina

    I can’t visualized the Cross on the monument to St John Ogilvie, only a unicorn. Can you please explain.
    This is a great Saint to pray these days where so many heretics are invading our churches, pretending to be faithful Catholics.

    • JjSeg

      It’s Royal Unicorn on the Cross. The cross atop the shaft may have been replaced with a small statue,
      such as a royal unicorn or lion, symbols of the Scottish monarchy, or a
      carved stone displaying the arms of the royal burgh, or, in the cases of ecclesiastical burghs or burghs of barony, the bishop’s or feudal superior’s coat-of-arms. There is a closer view here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Royal_Unicorn,_Edinburgh_Mercat_Cross.JPG

      • Lilian Milla

        Thank you for valuable information. The picture is quite clear. If there was a Cross though, I wish they would have left it as it was.

        • JjSeg

          Your welcome! Me too.

  • Pavel Vachek

    This is the story about the miraculous conversion caused by the St. John Ogilvie’s Rosary as given in a book “A highlander for heaven: A life of St. John Ogilvie, S.J., 1579-1615” by C. Desmond Ford:
    http://www.amazon.com/highlander-heaven-life-Ogilvie-1579-1615/dp/B0007AVD72
    I have a Czech translation published in 2001 (ISBN 80-86045-71-4); my translation from Czech follows (please pardon my bad English):

    Finally, his hands were bound behind his back. At that moment, he threw his Rosary into the crowd. A young Hungarian Jean Eckersdorff caught it; later he described it as follows: “This was at a time when I travelled across England and Scotland which was a habit among young Hungarian nobles. It happened that I was in Scotland on the very day when Father Ogilvie was led to the gallows. I can not adequately describe his proud and noble behaviour with which he walked to his death. Immediately before ascending the ladder, he threw his Rosary from the scaffolding as the last relic to the Catholics who stood near him. This Rosary accidentally flew in a way that it hit me in the chest; I just had to raise my hand and catch it. But the Catholics pounced on me so hard that I was forced to let go, otherwise, I would have been thrown to the ground. Until then I attached no significance to a religion, but from that moment I had no peace of mind. My conscience was in a turmoil and this question troubled me again and again: Why has this Martyr’s Rosary hit me and not someone else? This thought occupied my mind for many years wherever I was. Eventually, my conscience prevailed. I left my Calvinist faith and became a Catholic. I attribute this happy conversion to the Martyr’s Rosary because there can be no other reason.”

    Regards,
    Pavel Vachek.

    • Capistrano

      Thank you, Mr. Vachek, and God Bless you for that wonderful story!

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