1 July 1681 – Saint Oliver Plunkett

Saint Oliver PlunkettArchbishop Plunkett remained poised and calm to the last, even forgiving those responsible for his death…right before he was hanged, drawn and quartered.

Plunkett’s junket

Born in Ireland in the early part of the seventeenth century, Oliver studied to enter the priesthood in Rome. When religious turmoil made it impossible for him to return to his native land he stayed on in the safe confines of Italy teaching and spreading the word of God.

As the persecution intensified Plunkett was forced into hiding and he battled against ill-health and the pressures of being on the run, while desperately trying not to neglect his flock.

Road to martyrdom

When he was eventually arrested on charges of treason, the government of the day failed to get the guilty verdict they were after. So, they bundled Plunkett off to London for another day in court.

While he was not given enough time to call his own witnesses from Ireland, the prosecution was able to find several people who were prepared to fabricate evidence against him.

Naturally, as a result of such a skewed trial, the 51-year-old was condemned to die at Tyburn, the last Catholic martyr to die on English soil. He was sainted as recently as 1992, by Pope John Paul II.

Also on this day

1 July 1997 – Harold McQueen

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