Sunday, September 2, 2018

In the Footsteps of St. Oliver Plunkett

From Aleteia:
Born in Loughcrew, County Meath, on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1625, Oliver would some years later become the last Roman Catholic martyr to die a most gruesome death in England. His parents were well-to-do descendants of Hiberno-Normans and so Oliver received a privileged education and upbringing.

Like some saints born into similar circumstances centuries before him, Oliver found himself with a vocation to renounce the good things of this world and pursued his calling to the priesthood. After his ordination in 1654, Oliver left Rome, returning to an Ireland he had not seen for 23 years. It was a troubled time shortly following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649-1653), the aftermath of which resulted in the banning of the practice of Roman Catholicism.

Anti-Catholic laws became known as the penal laws, which, although relaxed many years later, were not officially repealed by the British government until 1920. The challenges that faced Oliver required him to disguise himself in a country now hostile to Catholicism. He wore a military outfit complete with swords and pistols and went by the name William Browne. (Read more.)

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