The Douai Martyrs
The Douai Martyrs are a group of one hundred and fifty-nine men who were martyred for the Catholic Faith in England and Wales between 1577 and 1680. The vast majority of the martyrs were priests who were trained at Douai College in northern France before risking their lives by returning to Britain to minister undercover, trying to avoid capture by the State and a barbaric death.
Beatifying many of the Douai Martyrs in 1987, Pope St John Paul II declared:
Each of them chose to be ‘God's servant First’. They consciously and willingly embraced death for love of Christ and the Church. They too chose the Kingdom above all else. If the price had to be death they would pay it with courage and joy.
Blessed Nicholas Postgate welcomed his execution ‘as a short cut to heaven’. Blessed
Joseph Lambton encouraged those who were to die with him with the words ‘Let us be
merry, for tomorrow I hope we shall have a heavenly breakfast.’ Blessed Hugh Taylor,
not knowing the day of his death, said: ‘How happy I should be if on this Friday,
on which Christ died for me, I might encounter death for him.’ He was executed on
that very day, Friday 6 November 1585. For them this price was small compared to
the riches they could bring to their people in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Gerard Skinner studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Venerable English College in Rome. A priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster he has written, contributed to or edited many publications, including three other books from Gracewing: Newman the Priest, Father Ignatius Spencer and Dominic Barberi.
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