Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Proceedings of the Missionary Priests and Jesuits In England



The general condition of the English catholics now became worse every day : a multitude of spies was employed by government to watch their conduct and discourse, and discover their domestic and foreign relations. These sometimes pretended to be catholics, and conformed to the rites and obligations of the catholic religion : some crossed the seas and insinuated themselves into the confidence of individuals; they even found admittance into the catholic colleges ; they caused drawings and paintings to be made of persons obnoxious to the queen and her ministers, or respecting whom they were particularly solicitous to procure information. When father Persons and Fr. Edmund Campian were expected in England, the custom-house officers, in every port, at which it was thought likely they would land, were furnished with drawings of them, that they might discover and apprehend them immediately on their arrival.

The missionary priests lived in a constant state of concealment and terror: there generally was in the catholic houses, where they resided, a place to which, in case ot an hostile search for him, the priest might retire : great precautions were used in the admission of persons to assist at the divine service ; and generally some confidential servant was upon the watch to observe who approached the house. Sometimes the priests hid themselves in obscure caves or excavations in fields or woods : a tangled dell in the neighbourhood of Stonor Park, near Henley on Thames, is yet shown, in which Campian wrote his " Decem Rationes;" and to which books and food were carried by stealth.

Link (here)

St. Edmund Campion, S.J., Pray for us.

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