Reading for 11th June
BORN of a gentleman's family in Essex, Blessed Thomas Whitbread was educated at St Omer, entered the Society of Jesus, and for thirty years laboured with great fruit on the English mission. Made provincial superior of his English brethren, he preached at his visitation at Liege, on St James' day, 25th Julyn1678 (that is, about two months before the Oates persecution began), on the gospel of the feast:
"'Can you drink the chalice which I am to drink?' they say to Him, 'We can'."
He then showed clearly his foresight of the coming storm and much suffering in store for his brethren and himself; after saying that the times were now quiet, but that God only knew how long they would be so, he pointedly repeated the text.
"Can you drink the cup? Can you undergo hard persecution? Are you contented to be falsely betrayed and injured and hurried away to prison? Can you take it? We can. Blessed be God. Potestis bibere? Can you suffer the hardships of a jail, a straw bed, the rough food, the chains and fetters? Can you endure the rack? We can. Blessed be God. Can you patiently receive an unjust sentence of a shameful and agonising death? We can."
And this last clause he uttered as a prayer, with his eyes towards Heaven.
(From the Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales by Henry Sebastian Bowden)
Blessed Thomas Whitbread was born in 1618.
He was martyred at Tyburn on 30th June 1679.
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As seen on EWTN