This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 7 -- Feast of Blessed Edward Oldcorne

Interrogating Blessed Edward & St. Nicholas Owen
I would like to say that the story of Blessed Edward Oldcorne's life and works inspired this post, but alas, that would not be so.  The story itself, though harrowing in life, has been told on other days.  A Jesuit priest who ran and hid for seventeen years in Tudor and Stuart England, ministering to the faithful in defiance of religious repression, Edward's luck eventually ran out and he was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

You remember the Gunpowder Plot, right?

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

It turns out that our Papist friend Edward was a good friend of Guy Fawkes, going all the way back to childhood.  Friendship alone doesn't mean that Edward wanted to blow up the Parliament,  but try telling that to a panicked public when you are in fact still guilty of the capital crime of priesthood.

As Arlo Guthrie says, but that's not what I came to talk about.  I came to talk about his eye.

Edward was tortured for five days to extract more information about the Catholic Underground in England.  At the end of that week, on Good Friday (1606), in fact, they marched him to the scaffold for the usual end: hanging, drawing, quartering.  The beheading was executed with such force that his right eye burst out of its socket.  The faithful, always on the look-out for good relics, scooped up the eye and preserved it. It is still kept at St. Francis Xavier's Church in Liverpool.  It made me think of Emerson's famous lines below, which I find worth considering as a contrast. 

In the woods, we return to reason and faith... I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part and parcel of God.  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

No comments:

Post a Comment