Saturday 5 August 2017

FORWARD TO THE MARK - Blessed John Woodcock - English Martyr - Reading for August PART ONE


St. Edmund Campion - Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot © 2009
We were privileged to attend the beatification of Blessed John Woodcock by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987. He and the other 84 Martyrs who were beatified that day have a special place in our hearts and in Mary's Dowry Productions.
Blessed John Woodcock was executed on 7th August 1646.
Blessed John Woodcock was born in Leyland, Lancashire, in England. His parents, Thomas and Dorothy Woodcock, the latter a Catholic, were of the middle class. Woodcock converted to Catholicism about 1622, and after studying at Saint-Omer for a year was admitted to the English College, Rome, on 20 October 1629.
On 16 May 1630, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Paris, but soon afterwards transferred himself to the English Franciscans at Douai. He received the habit from Henry Heath in 1631 and was professed by Arthur Bell a year later. For some years he lived at Arras as chaplain to a Mr. Sheldon.
Late in 1643 he landed at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and was arrested on the first night he spent in Lancashire. After two years' imprisonment in Lancaster Castle, he was condemned on 6 August 1646, on his own confession, for being a priest, together with two others, Edward Bamber and Thomas Whittaker.
On 7 August 1646, in an attempted execution, he was flung off a ladder, but the rope broke. He was then hanged a second time, was cut down and disemboweled alive. The Franciscan Sisters at Taunton possess an arm-bone of the martyr.
John Woodcock was among the eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1987. (Wikipedia)

St. Alexander Briant - Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot © 2012
Reading for 4th August from the Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales:

Born in Lancashire in 1603, he was educated at St Omer and the English College at Rome. There he conceived a desire for a stricter life and found admission with the Capuchins in Paris.
"I have put on the habit, I praise sweet Jesus, almost three months," he wrote; but his joy was short. Owing to the opposition of relatives in England and to his weak health, he was dismissed. He felt these reasons to be insufficient, and his aim never slackened to be a religious and, further, to go on the English mission. Eventually after many difficulties, he was professed among the English Franciscans at Douay, and ministered zealously for a time in England.
Although his health got worse, he was allowed for a second time to sail to England. He had scarcely landed at Newcastle when he was apprehended; he remained for two years in Lancaster Castle, till he was sentenced, his perseverance rewarded.

"Forgetting the things that are behind, I press forward to the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus." -  Phil. 3, 13-14

For films about the lives and missions of the English Martyrs in England visit 

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