22 March: St. Nicholas Owen, martyr

The 2005 Roman Martyrology has this entry:

7. Londinii in Anglia, sancti Nicholai Owen, religiosi e Societate Iesu et martyris, qui multos annos latebras pro sacerdotibus condendis exstruxit, quapropter sub Iacobo rege Primo incarceratus et gravissime tortus, demum in eculeum coniectus Christo Domino gloriose obsecutus occubuit.

Anyone want to take a crack at this?

St. Nicholas Owen was an amazing fellow.

I am deeply impressed by the stories of the English martyrs.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Marius2k4 says:

    At London in England, saint Nicholas Owen, a religious from the Society of Jesus and a martyr, who for many years constructed hiding places for hiding priests, for which under king James I he was incarcerated and most gravely tortured, and finally thrown onto the rack for [with?] Christ the Lord, he gloriously yielded and lay dead.

    Typo in “gloriosae” perhaps? [Good catch. It’s “gloriose”.]

  2. Centristian says:

    7. Londinii in Anglia, sancti Nicholai Owen, religiosi e Societate Iesu et martyris, qui multos annos latebras pro sacerdotibus condendis exstruxit, quapropter sub Iacobo rege Primo incarceratus et gravissime tortus, demum in eculeum coniectus Christo Domino gloriosae obsecutus occubuit.

    I’m no Latin expert, so the most I can make out is that Nicholas Owen of London, England, was a Jesuit and a martyr and a priest who was jailed during the reign of King James I, was gravely tortured and…I give up.

  3. PatrickV says:

    I will give it a go, forgive my high school abilities:

    In London England, Saint Nicholas Owen, martyr and religious of the Society of Jesus, worked for many years constructing hiding places for priests, was imprisoned under king James First and severely tortured, finally on the rack to be joined or to share in the Glory of Christ.

  4. PatrickV says:

    And I forgot to add, Saint Nicholas Owen, pray for us.

  5. Animadversor says:

    7. At London in England, [the feast] of St. Nicholas Owen, religious [i.e., lay brother] of the Society of Jesus, and martyr, who for many years built hiding places for concealing priests, wherefore under King James I, having been imprisoned and heavily tormented, [and] finally having been placed upon the rack [the Latin means “little horse”] he did gloriously yield to Christ and died.

    As literally as I could manage while hewing to English idiomaticity and a hieratic register.

    I can highly recommend Lady Antonia Fraser’s book about these times Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot, wherein she mentions Brother Nicholas very tenderly and with obvious admiration.

  6. Ellen says:

    I am awed by the faith of the English Martyrs. It’s my dream to go to England and see St. Margaret Clitherow’s home in the Shambles and maybe see the cell where St. Philip Howard spent his imprisonment.

  7. Scruffy.scirocco says:

    Here’s what I sussed out:

    London, England, St. Nicholas Owen the martyr, of the religious order of the Society of Jesus, who for many years founded and built their places of concealment for priests, and therefore under the King James the first was grievously tortured, imprisoned, and at length have been cast upon the rack and in obedience was slain to the glory of Christ the Lord.

  8. ozcatholic says:

    Father Z, have you read “God’s Secret Agents” by Alice Hogge? It’s a thrilling account of the Jesuit mission in England in the sixteenth century, and there is an excellent chapter about St Nicholas Owen and all his cleverly-constructed hidey-holes.

  9. asperges says:

    For more on St Nicholas Owen, see http://www.stnicholasowen.co.uk/LifeofNichOwen.htm . His hiding place “priests’ holes” were so ingenious that it is thought there are still some undiscovered. They come to light when old buildings are renovated or altered.

    As to St Margaret Clitherow, mention has already been made on this blog of the historic Solemn (EF) Mass of St Margaret Clitherow being offered this Saturday (29th) in York Minster – the first time the Mass will have been brought back to it since the days of Queen Mary more than 400 years ago, followed by procession to her shrine in the Shambles. https://wdtprs.com/2011/03/england-26-march-pilgrimage-to-york/ Please pray for its success.

  10. JARay says:

    I have only seen one priest’s hiding place constructed by St. Nicholas Owen and that is the one in the chapel of the Bar Convent in York. I simply cannot imagine how anyone could get down into that little hole. I know that I couldn’t.

  11. jeffreyquick says:

    By law, they weren’t supposed to torture him at all, as a handicapped person, because he was hunchbacked and had a hernia held in with a metal plate. But once they figured out who he was, they figured they could get him to name names, which he freely did …those names being Jesu and Maria. Thus his death was inconvenient evidence of illegal questioning, so they claimed he’d split himself open with a table knife…until it was pointed out that his fingers were, in their present state, incapable of holding a knife.

  12. APX says:

    The closest language to Latin I ever took was an Intro to French class in high school, so based on that, and whatever Latin I picked up in the few etymology lessons my grade 12 English teacher threw in and whatever Latin I picked up here, and cheating with Google translator for the stuff in brackets, I came up with this:

    In London England, St. Nichola Owen, a religious of society of Jesus and martyr, who for [many] years [built places of concealment for] priests. [Therefore], King James the I incarcerated and gravely tortured [and cast him upon the rack in obedience to the] glory of Christ the Lord [died].

    It’s grammatically incorrect, but it’s kinda sort of close to what everyone else got.

  13. danielinnola says:

    At london in England, Saint Nicholas Owen a religious of the society of Jesus and martyr. who for many years labored to build places of concealment for priests which he hid. Under king James the I, he was imprisoned and gravely tortured .Thrown onto the rack he gloriously yielded in obedience to Christ the Lord, suffered and died

  14. jasoncpetty says:

    Philip Caraman’s life of Henry Garnett (the now-sainted, de facto Jesuit superior of the English province for many years), Henry Garnett and the Gunpowder Plot, is also very good and has some moving anecdotes about St. Nicholas Owen.

  15. inara says:

    Ellen, I didn’t know there was a St. Philip Howard!
    My husband’s family will be excited to hear about this…they’ve always considered themselves Irish, but I suspected they were English before that.
    I just googled him…love the part where he begs QElizabeth to see his wife & only son as he is dying, she says “sure, I’ll even free you permanently & restore your Earldom if you’ll just come once to the Protestant church”…and he refuses. Such a clear reminder in these days of ecumenism that Protestantism is HERESY!

  16. irishgirl says:

    St. Philip Howard is related to the Duke of Norfolk, who was [and still is] the ‘premier Catholic peer of England’. He died a natural death in the Tower of London and was buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ‘ad Vincula’, but was later taken to Arundel Cathedral, where he is enshrined.

  17. Emilio III says:

    Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posteritie shall never die, which beyond seas gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you to heaven or to die upon your pikes. And touching our Societie be it known to you that we have made a league — all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practices of England — cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: so it must be restored.”

    Edmund Campion

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