Edmund Arrowsmith

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Saint
Edmund Arrowsmith SJ
St. Edmund Arrowsmith.jpg
Martyr, Priest
Born 1585
Haydock, England
Died 1628 (aged 42–43)
Lancaster, England
Venerated in Catholic Church
Beatified 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized 25 October 1970, Vatican City, by Pope Paul VI
Major shrine Catholic Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield, England
Feast 28 August

Saint Edmund Arrowsmith, SJ (1585 – 28 August 1628) is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales of the Roman Catholic Church. The main source of information on St Edmund is a contemporary account written by an eyewitness and published a short time after his death. This document, conforming to the ancient style of the "Acts of martyrs" includes the story of the execution of another 17th-century Recusant martyr, Richard Herst.

Life

Bryan Arrowsmith was born at Haydock, Lancashire, England in 1585, the eldest child of Robert Arrowsmith, a yeoman farmer, who had served in Sir William Stanley’s regiment which fought for Spain in the Low Countries. His mother was Margery Gerard, a member of the Lancashire Gerard family. Among his mother's relations was Father John Gerard, who wrote The Diary of an Elizabethan Priest, as well as another martyr, the Blessed Miles Gerard. He was baptised Brian, but always used his confirmation name of Edmund, after an uncle who trained English priests in France.[1] The family was constantly harassed for its adherence to Roman Catholicism. One of his grandfathers died a confessor in prison. One occasion, as a child, he was left shivering in his night-clothes by the pursuivants, who carried his parents off to Lancaster jail; he and his three siblings were cared for by neighbours.[2]

Education

In 1605, at the age of twenty, Edmund left England and went to the English College, Douai, to study for the priesthood. He was soon forced to return to England due to ill health, but recovered and returned to Douai in 1607.[3]

Ecclesiastical career

He was ordained in Arras on 9 December 1612, and sent on the English mission a year later.[3] He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester. [2] Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered an amnesty for all arrested priests, in furtherance of negotiations to arrange a Spanish marriage for his son Prince Charles.[1] Arrowsmith joined the Jesuits in 1624.

In the summer of 1628, Fr. Edmund was reportedly betrayed by a man named Holden, who denounced him to the authorities.[1] Arrowsmith ministered to Catholics of Lancashire at the still-standing Arrowsmith House, located in Hoghton before being arrested and questioned on Brindle Moss where his horse refused to jump a ditch. He was convicted of being a Roman Catholic priest in England. He was sentenced to death, and hanged, drawn and quartered at Lancaster on 28 August 1628.[4] His final confession was heard by Saint John Southworth, who was imprisoned along with Edmund.

Veneration

Edmund Arrowmith's beatification occurred in 1929. He was canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by Pope Paul VI in 1970. His feast days are 28 August alone and 25 October with 39 others. His hand was preserved and kept by the Arrowsmith family as a relic until he was beatified and it now rests in the Catholic Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Stonyhurst College retains the small trunk of vestments and equipment which he carried from house to house.[5]

Lancaster Cathedral celebrates St Edmund as one of the Lancashire Martyrs, whose feast is kept throughout the diocese on 7 August each year.[4]

Legacy

St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School is located in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Greater Manchester, England.[6] There is also St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre for Learning in Whiston, Merseyside.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Lancaster priest executed for his zeal", Catholic Herald, 26 August 2010
  2. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick W.F. "Ven. Edmund Arrowsmith." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 17 February 2018
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ a b "St. Edmund Arrowsmith". Lancaster Cathedral
  5. ^ "Edmund Arrowsmith SJ", Jesuits in Britain
  6. ^ he was killed for his crimes St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School
  7. ^ St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic Centre

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ven. Edmund Arrowsmith". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

External links

  • Gardner, Mick. "The Death of Saint Edmund Arrowsmith", Brindle Historical Society
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