Friday 18 December 2015

A Last Meal - Saint John Roberts (2), Tyburn Martyr, Luisa de Carvajal

Saint John Roberts (2)
Painting of Luisa de Carvajal
LUISA DE CARVAJAL, a noble Spanish lady, had come to London to minister to Catholics suffering for the faith. She visited prisoners, stood by the scaffold to cheer the dying, and buried the dead - all amidst the hooting of the rabble dogging her footsteps. She obtained leave to prepare a supper for Father Roberts and Somers on the eve of their martyrdom, and for their fellow prisoners in Newgate. It is thus described:
"They then sat down to supper - twenty prisoners for conscience' sake, twenty confessors of the faith - Luisa de Carvajal presiding at the head of the table. The meal was a devout and joyful one - heavenly the refreshment ministered to the guests, great the fervour and spiritual delight which our Lord bestowed on His valiant soldiers, giving them that peace which passeth all understanding. Scarcely anyone thought of eating. In the course of the evening Father Roberts asked her, 'Do you not think I may be causing disedification by my great glee? Would it not be better to retire into a corner and give myself to prayer?' 'No, certainly not,' Luisa answered. 'You cannot be better employed than by letting them all see with what cheerful courage you are about to die for Christ'."
"Where is the guest-chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my diciples?" - Luke 22, 11.
Reading for 18th December
Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales
by Henry Sebastian Bowden
Father Robert Persons and Saint Alexander Briant enjoying a meal
amidst their missionary work in England 1581
© 2013 Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot from 'Saint Alexander Briant' DVD
For films on the lives of the English Martyrs:

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