Saturday, March 10, 2018

St. John Ogilvie

Son of a Scottish laird, John Ogilvie was brought up in a Calvinist family. Sent to France to be educated, he ultimately converted to Catholicism. Becoming acquainted with the Jesuit Order, he requested admission, was accepted, and was ordained in 1610 in Paris.

After meeting two Jesuits who had undertaken clandestine missionary work in Scotland (since 1560 Catholicism was outlawed in the British Isles) he offered himself for the perilous mission.  With orders to proceed to Scotland, he travelled under the name of John Watson, horse dealer.

Landing in Scotland in November of 1613, during nine months he provided spiritual support to clandestine Catholics and reconciled many to the Church in the region of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Betrayed, he was imprisoned and suffered various tortures but nothing could induce him to reveal the names of those he had helped. His patience, courage and gaiety aroused the admiration of his persecutors, but, in the end, he was condemned as a traitor who refused to acknowledge the religious supremacy of the king, and was hanged in Glasgow.

John Ogilvie was canonized in 1976, the only Scottish martyr of the Counter-Reformation.

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